Has anyone been here? Can you tell what the atmosphere is like? I need some place for a group of 6 on saturday night that is casual yet fun..
Obviously a bit too late for this particular venture, but a note for anyone reading this now:
We live close to Maruzzella, and have been there a few times.
It is a great UES spot with consistant results. The staff is very friendly and helpful -- follow their recommendations and you won't be disappointed.
Their prices are reasonable for their fare, especially for this area.
The atmosphere is probably best described as "cozy". It is nice, but unfortunately they don't have a lot of seating. So, if you are going during prime meal hours you should probably call ahead (ESPECIALLY if you have a large group). In the summer there is additional outdoor (sidewalk) seating.
As far as Vespa, I have only eaten there once. I recommend going in the summer, as the biggest plus is their back garden area. That section is beautiful and open, which is a great alternative to crowded indoor places or places with sidewalk tables. The food was good, the drinks were great.
I'm a big Maruzzella fan - good food, attentive staff, reasonable prices. Back in my single days a few years ago this was a top choice date spot for me ;)
We went recently and loved it. We just had a bottle of wine and appetizers -- beef carpaccio, grilled calamari over mesclun greens, rollatine of eggplant with goat cheese, and a wonderful string bean, potato, tomato, red onion salad. Everything was delicious. Very satisfying and not expensive. Can't wait to go back! I'm curious about the rest of the menu.