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malatesta trattoria

hey there. i' remember this s. italian mentioned before, but cant find it in a search. impressions? i read only good things online about it. the fare seems simple, but good. am i right?

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  1. hi jsmitty, malatesta is a regular hangout of mine. its in the far west village on the corner of Christopher and Washington (or is it Greenwich?). Anyway, I have probaby eaten there 30 times, and I have ordered the exact same thing the last 25 or so times- the spaghetti chitarra with tomato and mozzarella. it is absoluteley their best pasta dish. they also do a nice assortment of bruschette as an appetizer. buon appetito.

    1. the menu is simple and fresh, and the space is rustic - lots of wood. it's nice in the summer because there is an abundance of outdoor seating. if you can't get a seat outside, that's fine too, because all the large windows along the sides of the restaurant are thrown open. the spaghetti chitarra is very good. the salads are simple and fresh - i went just this past weekend and had the arugula salad with orange and parmesan. the gnocchi is also good. it's a great neighborhood place - i go about once a month or so.

      1. thanks vvv and shirlotta. i will be going monday with old college friends.. i willreport back :)

        1. i love malatesta and find it more similar to dining in italy than most italian places here in the city. their laid back style, the casual but attractive atmosphere, and fresh, simple dishes just hit the mark for me. i'll add yet another vote for the spaghetti alla chittara, it's fantastic, and also the grilled portobello app salad is stellar. one of my favorite one-two punches in the village.

          1. jsmitty, I forgot to mention that Malatesta is cash only. and try the panna cotta for dessert. buon appetito

            5 Replies
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              I think the pasta is the best in the West Village (vs. Da Andrea and some others). But the assorted Crostini and the Bruschetta are not that good. The Gorgonzola Gnocci is great.

              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                bruschetta does not ordinarily thrill me anyway.. it has to be really fresh and great to order it.... but that is good knowledge to have..

                1. re: jsmitty

                  The tomato part is great but the bread is awful (barely toasted).

                2. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                  I pass by Malatesta everyday and never stop in. The name always made me think BAD ,, but now i'l try it. D'Andrea is really good and if this pasta is better they'll have a new regular customer

                  1. re: duckfat

                    funny i always had the same perception. i am not sure i would put it ahead of da andrea in overall quality, but the pasta is on par, maybe even a shade better than da andrea.

                1. So good. The beet and artichoke salads are both great (specials, if they're there). Their grilled lamb chops are some of the best I've had... ever. So simple, well seasoned (good salt, rosemary) served with a few roasted potatoes and spinach. I loveee this place, I don't really think you can go too wrong. Enjoy!

                  1. i very much enjoyed malatesta. spaghetti alla chitarra was as good as advertised. we also enjoyed the funghi mozarella and veal meatballs. grilled calamari good, not great. terrific red sauces,very inexpensive, decent bread(foccacia and peasant). oh and my buddy had gnoocci and loved it. i would enthusiastically recommend malatesta for its simple, flavorful eats..

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jsmitty

                      What is spaghetti alla chitarra exactly? Never heard of it...

                      1. re: Cookiepuss

                        its a basic pasta dish in a sweet, but very flavorful red sauce with basil and herbs. somewhere in that neighborhood...

                        1. re: Cookiepuss

                          chitarra means guitar in italian and refers to the shape of the spaghetti being like that of guitar strings.

                            1. re: jdream

                              I think chitarra means that the pasta is cut on a machine strung with guitar strings. Here's a website on it.


                              1. re: spchang

                                Close--it's made on a gadget that resembles a guitar.

                        2. we're regulars and just ate there a couple days ago. besides the reasonable prices and overall quality, its just a very pleasant, friendly and casual place that i am very thankful to have around. here's an example, we came in late afternoon before dinner when the staff was having their meal and talking. we were going to leave, but the hosts said, "hey why not come in, have a seat, relax, have some wine, it wont be long."

                          ya gotta love that kind of welcome!

                          we shared had a caprese salad for an app. spouse had a linguine and crab w/ tomato sauce special. i had a bite, it was very light and the noodles were fine. this time i finally dove in and had the most expensive dish on the menu -- lamb chops w/ arugula and garlic ($22). it's served on a cutting board. very, very nice and tasty.

                          by all means try MALATESTA, its a favorite.

                          1. Tried it last night (it'd been on my hitlist for a longtime and was reminded by this thread)...agreed: a great neighborhoody spot...very friendly service: we (party of two) got there at 10pm on a Saturday and they sat us within a couple minutes...nice waiters...we ate:
                            -- orange, arugula, parmesean salad: simple, very lightly dressed, a nice summer starter
                            -- grilled calamari w/ greens: also simple and solid
                            -- spaghetti alla chitarra: i was slightly underwhelmed by this one, given all the raves here, but in fairness, it's not fav pasta dish to order in general...in any case, my gf ate every last bite...
                            -- lamb chops: awesome: four thin chops w/ lots of garlic...it jumps into a trio of my fav lamb chops in the city (the other, very different ones being the giant ones at Keens and the baby ones at Lucien)...
                            -- panna cotta, w/ strawberry sauce
                            -- a bottle of rose, very reasonably priced (as was the rest of the wine list)...

                            The bill was 94 plus tip.

                            Will definitely return.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Simon

                              I've never heard of this place and it sounds great - is this it?

                              649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                It is more than great. It is homey, sincere and delish. I never go back enough but the gnocchi was outstanding from my memory and the prices amazing. It means headache in italian someone told me and I always remembered it becuase its such a far cry from a headache.

                                1. re: vanessaknows

                                  (meant to say INEXPENSIVE, oops)-- see below

                                  1. re: vanessaknows

                                    Interesting fact-- Malatesta was actually the name of a 19th C Italian Anarchist... the Italian phrase for "headache" is "mal di testa". Just a quick clarification!

                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                    This is the restaurant in the city that I recommend with the most unbridled enthusiasm. It is a charming restaurant with a good number of tables outside, many of which look onto the water. It is so inexpensive for the quality of food you are getting. Some of the most authentic Italian food I've had in NY; great homemade pastas, fresh salads-- they really capture the simplicity of much of Italian cooking. The service is nice (predominantly young Italian guys), never rushed even where there is a wait. And as I've mentioned before, some of the best lamb chops in the city. I've been at least once a week since I discovered it a couple months ago. On top of that, I've brought a number of people with varying tastes and all have loved it! Go soon!! :)

                                2. Hi All,

                                  Even thought much more cannot be said, I wanted to second (or third, or fourth...) all opinions: Malatesta is a FANTASTIC find! I would recommend the special ravaoli that frequents the menu -- always a small but perfect portion, and always cooked perfectly al dente. For the women out there, this is a must place to bring your girlfriends -- the wine, the ambience, the waitors...some of the most attractive men in NYC!

                                  1. hey everyone. we went back again saturday night after a long day at PS1 and the water taxi beach. i had my camera -- so some pics of the chow below. btw everything is house made.

                                    al fresco setting

                                    spaghetti alla chitarra

                                    special spaghetti w/ cheese, raddiccio and panchetta


                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mrnyc

                                      During this time of year, I avoid al fresco dining like the plague. I have no interest in food or drink in 90 degree heat. Is there a closed AC'ed area?

                                      1. re: sing me a bar

                                        no, but don't let that stop you. it's very cool and breezey in there w/ the fans and being by the water.

                                        1. re: mrnyc

                                          I went on the 100 degree day and had the world's best experience again! The wait staff was considerate, the food exceptional. I had the chicken with the salad (not daring to say in italian) and it was perfect. Not too heavy for the summer, not oily and the freshest ingredients. My friend who was pregnant was sensitive to garlic and they were amazingly sensitive and didn't poo poo her and made her a delicious orchiette. Seriously good and reasonable. Such a treat.

                                    2. We just had our wedding dinner (25 guests) at Malatesta and it was unbelieveably fantastic. Romantic, efficient, thoughtful and prompt service, and very easy to deal with as far as arranging everything from out of state by phone.

                                      They served pre-selected appetizers (salad, calamari, bruschetta, and more) to the whole group and lovely Primitivo and Chianti wines for the tables. The guests particularly raved about the gnocchi, the lamb chops, the steak, and the chicken, and there was a really nicely done tiramisu cake at the end of the night. Not too sweet, not too heavy, just perfect.

                                      The ambiance was softly-lit, with a certain classy feel without being at all fancy. Our guests, in their suits and dresses, felt just as at home there as the other patrons in turtleneck sweaters and jeans. It even snowed as we were leaving, which was a special treat for us desert-dwellers.

                                      We will surely be back on our anniversary to try everything else on the menu :)

                                      Highly recommended.