Why oh why did I wait 10+ years to go to Locanda Vini e Olii?
Ate here last week for the first time, after hearing about it on these boards for awhile, and that won't be our last visit.
For those who haven't been, it's an old pharmacy, and positively charming inside. Staff are friendly and welcoming, great wine selection.
We ordered too much food but enjoyed it. My wife had the trio of chopped salmon tartare crostini - one each with with orange, lemon and grapefruit flavors with associated herbs. This was not small, and we enjoyed all three. I couldn't resist the onion soup - strange (to me) for an Italian place, but very very good. We skipped main meat courses in favor of pastas. I had pappardelle with duck ragu, a variation from the website menu's beef/pork, but still extremely good. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce was right in the sweet spot, clearly "ducky" but not too over-the-top.
My wife got the pici, which gets its own paragraph. I had not heard of it before reading about this restaurant, but WOW, was this good. It's like a very thick spaghetti (maybe half-inch in diameter rather than 1/8 inch for regular thick spaghetti?), and it was surrounded by beautiful onions and cheese. By far the blue-ribbon winner of the meal (among serious competition). I was glad my wife was not super hungry that night.
We also got a salad - the figs and gorgonzola, which was great but superfluous, and most of which came home with us. We also shared and enjoyed a dessert.
Two glasses of wine for each of us, all red; the waiter recommended the Pala/Sardegna with our orders, which was a great choice.
Quite simply, we loved everything about this place. I would gladly repeat the exact same meal tomorrow, and would be just as happy to go back and get all different dishes*. It was like making a new friend that after a half hour you forget you haven't known each other for years. Highly recommended.
* Except the pici. I'm getting the pici again.
Locanda Vini e Olii
129 Gates Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
So glad you enjoyed it -- it's one of my go-to places with out-of-town guests or Manhattan snobs.
While a meal for two there is great, I think it really, really shines when you go with a party of six and order 5 or 6 courses (not 6 dishes per course of course, more like 2 to 3). That way the evening i longer and you get to try a much, much wider variety of dishes.