Gina la Fornarina is one of those places that I had never heard any reviews about, didn’t know what was the thing to eat there, and probably wouldn’t have even known about what kind of food they serve if it weren’t for the Italian-ness of the name, but I knew I wanted to eat there. Why you ask? Well, it’s absolutely adorable.
The restaurant has a bright pink awning, there are pink and white, see-through, floor length curtains; all the tables, chairs, and counters are white; in nice weather, their floor to ceiling windows (or doors?) are open; and there are shelves of wine all along the back walls. Basically, it’s like the quintessential date or Valentine’s dinner place. And while I didn’t go there on a date or on Valentine’s Day, I just desperately wanted to dine there with some friends to experience the cuteness of it all.
Once we sat down, we were served a bread basket and oil to dip it in. Always a plus! The menu is pretty standard Italian with various foccacias, pizzas, pastas, paninis, and salads. And since eating there, I’ve heard that their foccacia is one of their specialties. I ordered off of the separate specials menu (although I was heavily debating on whether or not to get the pizza quattro formaggi and mushroom), and while I can’t remember the name of the dish, it was pappardelle pasta with mushrooms and truffles. In my constant fight to not order pizza every time it’s an option on the menu, truffles are always a great go-to.
I think the dish was a good-size portion of pasta, not a massive amount that would leave me with tons of leftovers or completely stuffed and not a small little bowl that would leave me wanting. I rarely order pappardelle, which are large, broad, flat pasta noodles, so it was nice to branch out a little bit too. Gina la Fornarina is also pretty decently priced for being an Italian restaurant, that’s also on the Upper East Side, with most things being under $20. They also have three other locations around Manhattan.
Also, I JUST decided I should look up what “la Fornarina” means. It means “the baker’s daughter” in Italian, and is also the name of one of the owner’s favorite paintings by Raphael. You learn something new every day!
Pappardelle with mushrooms and truffles
1575 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028