It's hard to point out one great little dinner spot on the Upper West Side, but a recent trip to Arte Cafe on West 73rd between Columbus and Amsterdam calls for some mention. Set within a landmark townhouse complete with a fireplace and a decor that evokes the charm of home, it's a perfect spot for a warm meal on a winter's night. For warmer nights, there's a spacious outdoor patio in the back and sidewalk seating in the front of the restaurant as well.
Start your meal with a salad ranging from a traditional Caesar to a chicken salad with avocado, bacon, and truffle dressing. Next up antipasti. Choose between the caprese, beef carpaccio or crispy calamari in a spicy tomato sauce. If you're feeling adventurous, go for the grilled octopus salad with potatoes, capers and roasted peppers.
The toughest decision of the evening comes next: what to order for a main course. Pasta or an entree? Pasta offerings range from homemade ravioli with ricotta and spinach, angel hair primavera to fettuccine Bolognese. As for the entrees, the Salmone Alla Griglia comes highly recommended. A generous piece of fresh salmon atop a bed of sauteed spinach with shrimp and a butternut squash puree was both fresh and filling. Equally appealing - the lamb shank and Pollo Milanese.
Be sure to ask your server for the daily specials, which on the night we visited, included spinach fettuccine with braised short ribs. A cup of Espresso and a piece of tiramisu made for a sweet cap to a night out at Arte Cafe.
Review By: Elizabeth Hazard