When you walk into Florian Café, one of the first things you’ll notice is the giant bronze sculpture behind the bar of a naked woman opening a bottle of wine. Like really, this thing is giant. And so awesome.
There are other bronze sculptures of naked women throughout the place, and the menu even has a little call-out about them: “Sculptures by Shelly Fireman, Founder of The Fireman Hospitality Group.” These were created in Pietrasanta, Italy, and are just some of the cafe’s features that add to the old, Italian charm they were going for in the spirit of the nearly 300 year old Venetian coffeehouse, Caffe Florian. Other touches include mosaic tiles on the walls, an antipasto bar, and a chandelier.
The menu focuses on classic Italian dishes with made-in-house pastas, thin crust pizza, fish, steaks, and veal chops. They even have a separate vegetarian and vegan menu. I’m going to come right out and say it–I came here because I wanted lobster pizza. Yup. You heard me. Lobster pizza is a thing, and Florian Café has it. Oh. my. goodness. gracious. Just my two most favorite food items in the world put together, that’s all.
But let me back up a little bit. The menu says that homemade focaccia is available upon request, so of course, I ordered some for our table. It was interesting because they had a whole wheat version topped with various seeds as part of the basket, so that was new to me…and yummy.
As per the recommendation of our very nice waiter, we ordered the burrata carbonara and grilled octopus to start. Florian Café actually has a whole Burrata Mozzarella Bar section of their menu, so trying some seemed like the right thing to do. Anyways, ever since I had it for the first time at Black Tree, I jump at the chance to get more. The kind we ordered came with a poached egg and pancetta bacon so it was a fun little play on carbonara. And you can never go wrong with octopus!
Then there was the amazing creation that was my dish–a whole lobster on a pizza with zucchini, peppers, and pomodoro sauce. First off, lets talk about the presentation. How cute is it that they plated it on a wooden palette with a little bit of the pizza cut out to shape around the whole? Then there’s the fact that even though the meat was already taken out of the head and the tail, they left them on top for wow factor (totally wowed me) and even added made little legs. So, points already for being such a stunning, and awesomely Instagrammable, dish. What about the taste? It was all my pizza-loving, lobster-loving taste buds could have hoped for.
Because I knew from the get go what I would be ordering, I didn’t look too much at the menu, but my friends happened to order some amazing dishes that I got to sample. The real stunner of the table was the Lasagna Ossobuco with parmesan bechamel–another out-there combo. My friend who got it was talking about how much he loved lasagna and had just seen a Buzzfeed article about the best lasagnas in the city. Then, when the waiter gave him his dish, his jaw dropped because it turns out this specific lasagna was actually on that list and he didn’t even realize it when ordering it. Now that’s a pleasant surprise! There’s no denying it’s the most unique lasagna I’ve ever had, and it’s not just the creativity that makes it worth ordering…it’s pretty darn scrumptious too.
At the end of our meal, we had to say no to dessert because we were just too full, but to our surprise, a waiter came around with a tray of bite-size pieces of chocolate cheesecake and asked if we wanted some. Too full to order our own dessert but definitely not too full for some free cheesecake bites!! Now that’s hospitality. Oh, and speaking of hospitality, after we had paid our bill and were sitting around just chatting, our waiter came back and told us that he had charged each of our cards a little too much and gave us new receipts. I definitely appreciate the honesty, as we would have just left without noticing otherwise.
So, to sum up my experience at Florian Café? Great atmosphere, top-notch service, and some really fun Italian food.
Burrata carbonara, poached egg, crispy pancetta bacon; grilled octopus; whole lobster pizza
225 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10003