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Adoro Lei
Credit to: Michael Dibugnara/Adoro Lei

Something that has broken my heart in pieces over the course of many years of food writing is seeing excellent restaurants open and close within a matter of months here in Manhattan. Few can stand the test of time, one of them being Adoro Lei in the South Village. Here’s why they have excelled in one of the toughest places to do so in the world.

It’s hard to believe that I first entered into Adoro Lei almost four years ago. The South Village hotspot, conveniently located a couple of minutes away from the Houston Street 1 train stop on Hudson Street is what you should really expect when it comes to Italian cuisine.

Credit to: Valentino Scaramella

Essentially this place will take your taste buds on a what the f**k kind of journey as each dish you devour will be different from the rest. Everything they prepare tastes fresh with an innovative approach to Italian cooking while still highlighting the classics in a truly modern way.

The space is gorgeous to look at. It’s two levels, with each perfect for dining or entertaining considering what you are there for. Want to host a private party? Sure thing, go downstairs and nothing but ambiance will await you. Want an intimate dinner for two? Sold.

The South Village is a trendy place to be in, and Adoro Lei exemplifies what its like to be in one of the hottest areas of Manhattan. No, I’m not trying to sound like Stefon from Saturday Night Live here, Adoro Lei really is a fun place to be.

My food suggestions run endlessly, so let me start with some must haves while you are there. For something light yet flavorful, try their Citrus Pear Salad. Arugula, Poached Pear, Gorgonzola, Almond Slices, Prosciutto Crisps and Citrus Dressing. Easy to put together but the execution of it excels once all the flavors hit your big a** mouth.

An absolute must, a BIG must, are their Truffle Rice Balls and Lovers Purses pasta. The rice balls come with an almond and panko crust and have just the right bite to them for a great starter dish.

As for the Lovers Purses, let me say this. I’ve had many pasta dishes in my life, both homemade and restaurant quality. This might just be my all-time favorite pasta option from a restaurant as the flavor from what’s inside each purse doesn’t leave your mouth for a while. Here’s what you get: Pear, Brown Butter Sage Sauce, Roasted Walnuts, Arugula and Parmigiano. It has to be the brown butter sauce, as I would bathe in that quite frankly, but the overall dish is superb and I could go back over and over again for it.

Credit to: Michael Dibugnara/Adoro Lei

They also have a wonderful line of Neapolitan and New York style Pizzas for you as its kind of what they are known for. Check out their copious list of pizza options yourself as each is distinct in toppings and how the product is ultimately made. No matter what, it’s delicious. That goes for everything, not just the pizza.

For more information on Adoro Lei, please check out their official website.