Caffe dei Fiori is a spectacular example of what the word “fresh” means when it comes to having authentic and absolutely delicious Italian cuisine. The Upper East Side gem just celebrated its 2nd anniversary of being open, and with the experience they provided us yesterday including the history of how it came to be, variety of food that we dined on, ambiance and so much more, the hope is that Caffe’ dei Fiori will be around for quite some time here in Manhattan.
Touted as “A Taste of Bologna in The Upper East Side”, Caffe dei Fiori began with owner Daliso Gulmini‘s move from Bologna, Italy to Manhattan as an introduction to the world of gastronomic Italian cuisine. I had the lovely opportunity to sit with Daliso yesterday for our tasting experience, and he was lovely and very delightful when it came to discussing the process of how this all came to be.
“I decided to name my restaurant Caffe dei Fiori in memory of a legendary coffee shop in the historic center of Bologna, where, as a young man, I used to have breakfast every morning.” When it comes to the execution of his restaurant, simple is the name of the game. “Mine is a simple story based on a few basic principles: genuineness, cleanliness, warmness to the guests, constant pursuit of the finest ingredients and a touch of style”.
All of those key notes he mentions really makes up what makes Caffe dei Fiori so special. The restaurant is two floors, not too big in size, with perks for sitting on either floor. The top floor, which we sat on, had a gorgeous view of the street level, which blossomed as the day turned into night. The lower floor is beautiful in its own way, with a stunning bar and comfortable seating to enjoy an truly intimate experience.
The design is out of this world beautiful. The rich textures of light brown encompass the walls and make for an absolutely relaxing and inviting experience, which myself and a guest felt the minute we went inside. The service was top notch throughout the evening, which was par for the course given how everything else was splendid throughout.
The food itself was quite amazing from start to finish. We sampled some of the best dishes from their brunch and lunch menus, where some remain throughout the year and others are simply seasonal. Here is what we recommend you trying the next time you find yourself at Caffe dei Fiori.
I am a sucker for a good salad, especially when artichokes are involved. Their Insalata di Carciofi really does the trick as it has vibrant and pungent flavors throughout, not only because of the shaved artichokes but also with the lemon, honey and Cacciotina cheese that comes with. All of those flavors blend beautifully well together and make for a light and great starter.
Anytime you put Prosciutto and Burrata cheese together, generally it is a match made in heaven. This can easily be said about their Prosciutto di Parma e Burrata, which reads exactly how we had it. They source all of their products directly from Italy, which makes for these two items to taste fresh and lovely together, especially on top of a nice crusted bread. I have had Burrata so many times lately, however this one really does the trick as its firm and creamy texture really are a great invite for your taste buds.
Speaking of fresh, their pasta was out of this world incredible. Easily some of the best pasta I have had in recent memory, and one dish really did prove that thought process. Their Spaghetti alla Chitarra alla Carbonara was simply phenomenal. I am not the biggest fan of Carbonara, however the salty aspect of this dish really sang to me, and it all worked together to make me want to go back for 2nd and 3rd helpings.
Another standout meal that we had was their Saltinbocca alla Romana, which is essentially a Small Veal Roll with Sage and Mashed Potatoes. The meat rolled up inside was cooked perfectly and it made for a 2 bite event which you swam in with the mashed potatoes. Besides the Carbonara, this was my favorite dish of the night as it is really is perfect for the winter weather we have been having.
The Pollo al Mattone was another great option as it is the first time I have used the term “brick” in describing a dish. Essentially it is preparing the chicken so that it lies flat; the second is simply weighting the chicken so that the skin makes contact with the hot pan and the chicken cooks evenly. They did this fantastically well, as the skin was deelish and worked well with the vegetables, in particular their yummy Brussel Sprouts.
To finish off the meal, I recommend their Tarte Tatin di Mela e Gelato alla Vaniglia, which is an apple tart with vanilla ice cream. As discussed before, simple but the execution is perfect and a great way to finish off a stellar meal. I highly recommend trying Caffe dei Fiori as soon as possible as the experience will leave you wanting more and more.
For more information on Caffe dei Fiori, check out their official site.