24 Minetta Ln, New York, NY | Directions 1001240.730411 -74.001288
Monday To Saturday From 06:00 PM To 11:00 PM Sunday From 06:00 PM To 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Greenwich Village
Go to Italy without ever leaving Manhattan – I've been going to BellaVitae regularly for years now and this restaurant is without a doubt one of my favorites in the city. It's a restaurant based on an authentic Italian wine bar theme and reminds me of places I know in Venice and Rome. As a confirmed "foodie" my friends and I have been accussed of being picky but BellaVitae always comes through. Great cozy atmosphere with wide planed wood floors, sconces imported from Venice and the wood-burning pizza oven in the back lends a warm atmosphere when its lit during the fall and winter.
The menu changes daily depending on what's fresh and which shipments have (and sometimes haven't) arrived from Italy that day. Some of my favorite "constants" which are usually available are the little fried meatballs (tiny salty bites perfect with cocktails or wine), figs wrapped in prosciutto (fall/winter only) and the crostini with chicken liver mousse (sweetened with caramelized shallots). The mozzarella is some of the best that I've ever tasted, but given that the owner flies it in from Rome - isn't always available depending on when you go. Some of the larger plates worth a try are the Gnocco Fritto (deepfried bread dough in which you stuff prosciutto - the heat of the bread almost melts the ham) and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (simple pasta with cheese and pepper - eat it while its hot). I'm not a fan of cauliflower at all and this is the only place I will order it with pine nuts and currants.
I disagree with previous reviews about service. I've never had poor service at BellaVitae. The staff tends to be young and clearly very enthusiastic and interested in the cuisine and the wines. I've been steered by the waiters to a number of wines that I never heard of and now love (although many are hard to get outside of BellaVitae). Some on here have called it pricey (but in NY you get what you pay for) and at times its crowded, but I and my friends always know where we can go for authentic and delicious northern italian.
Great food, service and atmosphere – We really enjoyed this restaurant. It is very cozy , the food is great, and our waiter was as nice as anyone could be. The hostess that made the reservation was very nice, took our coats at the door and made us feel very welcome. The mozzarella was just like my grandfather used to make!! The crostini with gorgonzola and the olives were delicious. I would definitely go back and recommend Bellavite to anyone who wants a nice Italian dinner in a warm atmosphere.
waste of money – I wish that I had read more of the reviews before I dragged my husband there for dinner. If I had looked past the first couple of positive ones and the high(?) rating this place has I would have saved $200 and cab fare. The food is ok. Some of it was even good but except for entre and pasta we had it was so overpriced. How in the world they get away with charging $12 for two tini tiny pieces of pork wrapped in eggplant is beyond me. We didn't even get any bread to finish the sauce! Then it was $9 for a couple of the smallest figs I've ever seen wrapped in pancetta. Tasty, yes but way overpriced. The ragu on the pasta was a little dry and the ricotta "cake" was a flat thing that looked more like a tart to me. I think it had been sitting around for a while too. Unfortunately the service was worse. The hostess was very nice but the rest of staff was either young and inexperienced and/or couldn't care less. The poor tourist couple next to us was practically ignored the whole night. I felt badly for them since I'm sure they left hungry and with empty wallets. By the way, the place was thick with tourists so I don't understand the "no" under the "touristy" heading in the restaurant info section of this ad. Then there was this guy in chef clothes sporting a pepper chef hat who kept marching through the dining room with a surly, arrogant look on his face. He didn't seem to be doing anything except letting everyone know he was very important. At least after a bottle of wine the whole scene and experience started to take on a Monty Pythonesque feeling and we could laugh about it. I suspect that this place was much better when it first opened but I think the hype and neighbohood finally took it's toll and now it is just bad. Oh, we did have a great bottle of wine. Not a total loss I guess! Stay away is my advice.
My favorite spot in the Village – OK, this is our new favorite Italian restaurant in the Village. Move over LUPA. What a lovely, cozy, special place, with wonderful owners, management and servers. We have been there twice so far, and both evenings were wonderful. A welcoming staff, and you can actually have a conversation here without shouting. Go before dinner, this spot serves mostly antipasto,or order many things and make it an evening. The best chicken liver crostini (better than my Jewish Grandmother made). Wonderful gorgonzola and the BEST buffala mozzarella, flown in fresh from Italy. Lean, mellow prosciutto, hand sliced and a special Italian wine list. They have nice pastas and terrific riceballs (arancini). Enjoy and Buon Appetito!
Poor Basic Service – Do not go by the hours that they advertise (M-F 6pm-12am). I have gone several times around 10:30, 10:20, 10:40 and each time they said they had closed "early". It seems they will close according to their mood or whenever business is slow. One and a half hours earlier than normal is ridiculous and very unprofessional. I'd advise them to choose their hours of business, advertise them truthfully then stick to it. Other than that, the food is very good when they are open.
Back to (Italian) Basics ... – On a cozy little street off the beaten path off the otherwise NYU collegiate bar neighborhood resides a simple gem of native Italian culinary beauty. Bellavitae breaks down the American concept of Italian food, teaching its patrons the beauty of authentic Italian cuisine, and thus, the difference between Italian and Italian-American food. Focusing primarily on the exposure of flavors inherent in quality ingredients, the dishes burst with the flavor of an economy in combination, allowing discernment of every ingredient as opposed to the dampening that results from a confusion of excess flavors. The restaurants succesfully endeavors to allow patrons a unique experience of rustic Italian fare; while the prices exceed your traditional Little Italy style Italian (American) restaurant, it is far more affordable and attainable than travelling to Italy and trying to find a comparable authentic restaurant on the countryside!
Good, solid Italian Food – I felt compelled to write a review after reading some of the negative reviews. My fiance and i went to Bellavitae to celebrate our anniversary after hearing about it from his brother (who had read a review in the New Yorker). I had checked out citysearch before, and had decided to give it a try despite the mixed reviews. I'm glad I did. Our service was great. We had an 8pm reservation and were seated promptly. While we didn't feel rushed, we were out after an hour and a half, after having appetizers, dinner, and dessert. So, if anything, perhaps the service was a bit too good. If you want to linger, then maybe this place isn't for you.
The food: For appetizers, we split the crostono with gorgonzola and honey and the arancini (riceballs). Both were delicious. For the main course, we split grilled tuna and a pasta (I forget what it was called, but it was baked and had porcini mushrooms and pancetta). The pasta was absolutely delicious! Perfectly al dente, and I'm dreaming about it. The tuna was good, although nothing earth shattering. We also had semifreddo chocolato for dessert, but I wasn't tremendously impressed. Entrees and appetizers were delicious, though.
Overall, a great dining experience. Nice atmosphere, service, and food. Reminiscent of Italy.
Magical Flavors, Excellent food, Welcoming service, A+ A+ A+ – I've been to BellaVitae 7 times now, and each time has been a heavenly meal, and a wonderful dining experience. The Prosciutto and mozarella is the best I have EVER had (better than some I had in Italy even); the flavor is so stunning it makes you realize how bad the rest of the stuff is that we get in even nice restaurants. Don't pass up the chance to try the tiny fried risottoballs or the seared meatballs; a real treat. The staff has also made wine suggestions to me, reasonably priced, and 2 of them are now my most favorite wines! The best thing about this place is that they make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. I've brought my parents, I've gone on dates, I've brought business clients, I've gone with snooty investment banker friends, and I've also brought tourist friends from Iowa and Detroit --- they ALL loved it, and they ALL still talk about what an excellent and special meal they had at BellaVitae. Bravo to the team at BellaVitae -- it is places like this that make NYC so special.
Dissapointed – Ambiance and service were great but was not impressed at all with the food. Not terrible or anything but not great. Could name 5 other authentic italian restaurants in the city off the top of my head that do it better and a little cheaper. I'd say skip it.
Great rustic authentic Italian fare... – My fiance and I recently visited Bellevitae after reading reviews from New York Magazine and we were impressed. The service was impeccable, the ambience was romantic and sophisiticated without being overly pretentious (something extremely difficult to pull of especially in NYC) The food was paradoxical --- simple and rustic yet full of flavor. Although some of the appetizers may have been overpriced given the portions, overall, the entrees were reasonable and the wine selection afforded those of more moderate means to enjoy a bottle as well. Overall, we had a very pleasant experience and are looking forward to going back soon!
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