In preparing this post I finally came to terms with the fact that I need a new camera and some lessons and/or serious practice time. Felidia is one of my favorite restaurants and the images from last night’s Valentine’s Day dinner just don’t do it justice. But I wanted to post anyway so that if you’re ever in the city and want some truly yummy Italian (food, that is, you cheeky monkey) then you’d know about this place.
Opened in 1981, Felidia is the flagship restaurant of Lidia Bastianich (restaurateur, best-selling cookbook author, host of several award-winning cooking shows, co-founder of Eataly, mother, grandmother and all around cool lady). Under the leadership of Executive Chef Fortunato Nicotra, Felidia serves traditional dishes from across all of the regions of Italy and features an extensive wine list that could rival any of that in NYC.
The restaurant, located on the East Side (a few blocks from Bloomingdales) has become our go to place for special occasions. The food is delicious, and the setting intimate, elegant and typically full of regulars. Since I am a huge fan of hers, I also love the fact that Lidia can often be found hosting a small group of friends or family at the house table tucked away in a corner on the first floor.
(As an aside, J and I celebrated our “first-date” anniversary here back in December and when J ran into Lidia on the way to the coat room he introduced himself, pointed to me, told her that I was her biggest fan AND THEN PROCEEDED TO BRING HER OVER TO SAY HELLO. Which was great, until my celebrity-induced turrets kicked in. For some reason, whenever I meet anyone even remotely famous I get all weirdo serious and personal. So when Lidia came over, I shook her hand and then gravely said, “You should be really proud of what you have built, Lidia. Not only with your businesses but with your family. I mean it, congratulations.” Um….what the whaaaat??? She stared at me for a moment, said “Thank you?” and then hastily made her retreat.)
But back to the food. On Valentine’s Day Felidia always features a seasonal four course pre fix menu. There is a wide array of choices and you leave there stuffed but happy. J and I make sure we order all different things and then place bets on which one of us ordered the better dish. (Competitive much?)
This was our meal.
Another great meal and a long-stem scarlet rose presented by the hostess on our way out. A great NYC Valentine’s Day, check.
Oh, and Lidia was there, sitting at her usual table. She waved hello, but from a distance.