La Lanterna di Vittorio has got to be one of the most romantic restaurants I’ve been to in the city. I mean yes, part of that may be because my boyfriend surprised me by finding and picking this place for our anniversary dinner, but still…it’s pretty darn lovely without all that mushy gushy stuff.
Much of the restaurant is actually an indoor garden/atrium with slanted glass paneled ceilings, vines of greenery hanging down the windows and walls, patio style seating, and these beautiful, giant colored lanterns. If you go during the daytime, it feels like you’re sitting in someone’s private greenhouse. If you go in the evening, it’s dark and intimate, made special by the glowing lanterns. Either way, it’s beautiful and hidden away from the busyness outside.
La Lanterna bills itself as an Italian cafe-coffee shop, so what this cozy, dimly-lit restaurant serves isn’t super extravagant or complicated. For mains, there are paninis, lasagna, pizza, and calzones. Every table gets a basket of bread, but not just any bread–it’s focaccia. Maybe that’s not a big deal to you, but the fact that we got focaccia instead of the normal, plain bread slices or rolls you often get as freebies in restaurants definitely made me give this place some bonus points. My boyfriend and I split the three cheese course (choosing brie, manchego, and gorgonzola), the Italian cold-cut platter which came with prosciutto and salami, and the four cheese lasagna. Everything was above average, and man, just LOOK at that lasagna. Anything cheesy has my name written all over it, so you know I was simply over the moon when eating that dish.
In addition to the delicious food, our waiter made our dining experience even better by being so attentive (*cough*andhavinganItalianaccent*cough*). Really though. He was so nice, attentive, and prompt to give us more of that focaccia, even when we still had some left so we would have some that was fresh. He also didn’t think it was weird when I asked to take the rest of our second batch of bread to-go, and I thank him for that.
La Lanterna oozes romance, and I can’t wait to come back.
Three cheese course with brie, manchego, and gorgonzola, assortimento di prosciutto crudo and calame toscano con croccantini di focaccia, lasagna quattro formaggi
129 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012