Bocca di Bacco: Impeccable Italian


Bocca di Bacco, with three locations across New York City, offers delicious, well-crafted traditional Italian food. (Courtesy of Facebook)

When you’re craving some tasty pizza or pasta you are faced with an overwhelming number of options. In fact, when you search “Italian food New York City,” Google presents you with 10 pages of restaurant options.

To make your search a little bit easier, I present Bocca di Bacco. This New York-based restaurant has three locations: the Theatre District, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

The kitchen is run by Kristen Sollene, a Food Network judge who is known for providing accessible cooking tips for people at home. She also has several books surrounding cooking and nutrition. Her husband, Robert Malta, also owns the local chain.

The duo opened Bocca di Bacco in 2007 and markets it as authentic Italian food with a modern twist. The restaurant started to take off in 2012 when they opened their third location. The New York Times featured them in a “highlight openings” article.

The restaurant has a sleek and minimalistic design. The dark woods and black accents give it a very sophisticated feel. The menu is simple with black type on white cardstock. Even when it is full inside, it is not too loud and the tables are spaced nicely. While the restaurant does feel trendy, the food tastes homey and delicious. The servings are large, filling and straightforward. Additionally, the service is impeccable. The bartenders, waiters and hosts are all incredibly friendly and attentive.

Some of the highlights on the menu are the Chef’s boards. They are a perfect appetizer to share with the table, with a selection of cheeses, meats and jams that melt in your mouth.

They range from $16 to $30 and are served on a chic, Instagramable wooden platter. The selections allow you to taste several different unique types of cheeses without committing to an entire appetizer.

Aside from the Chef’s boards, there is a variety of other appetizer options, such as a soup of the day and several different salads complete with fresh greens and toppings. My favorite salad is the Tre Colori Salad. Its main ingredient is arugula, topped with radish, mushrooms and a tangy lemon vinaigrette.

When it comes to entrees there is a wide but not overwhelming selection, with both vegetarian and gluten-free options. They typically range from about $20 to $30.

There are some very traditional Italian pasta dishes, but they also offer several more Americanized options, such as a parmesan-crusted chicken, seafood polenta and a steak with french fries and vegetables.

One of my favorite entrees is the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. It’s a typical potato gnocchi with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese.

This dish is quintessentially Italian and Bocca di Bacco perfects it.

Another highlight is the crafted desserts. Of course, at any Italian restaurant, it is impossible not to order tiramisu. Bocca di Bacco’s tiramisu floats in your mouth and has the perfect sampling of each key flavor of a typical tiramisu.

The Theatre District location is great for a pre-show meal, but any of the locations are worth their own trip to Manhattan.