Thursday, April 7


Bettolona is easily the best place to eat in Morningside Heights and around Columbia.  It is located on Broadway between La Salle St. and Tiemann Pl. (or just south of 125th St.).  I return for four reasons: the food, the prices, the service, and the ambiance.


First of all, the food is unbelievable, especially for the price.  I have eaten dinner there a handful of times now and I have yet to be disappointed.  The first time, I ordered the gnocchi.  Handmade, the gnocchi were the perfect consistency and the tomato sauce was a delicate blend of flavors that perfectly complemented the mozzarella.  Another favorite is the pasta integrale.  Made with seasonal vegetables, the pasta is also homemade and cooked al dente.  It is simple yet the flavors are teased out.  The dish manages to present every vegetable in a way that most exploits the flavor.

pasta integrale

Still, the best part about Bettolona is the pizza.  True Italian style, the pizza is freshly made and has the thinnest of crusts.  Most recently I ordered the pizza regina margherita.  In no way do I regret that decision.  However, the restaurant's best dish (to my knowledge thus far) is the pizza bianca, which is made with ricotta, mushrooms, and truffle oil.  For $12.  It is undeniably the best pizza I have had since I was in Italy.

pizza regina margherita

Like the pizza bianca, everything is reasonably priced.  The final bill, per person, is easily between $13 and $30.  At the cheaper end of the scale, you enjoy an entrée.  At the other end, you can order an entée, a glass of the house pinot grigio, and an appetizer (which are all also delicious).

Another reason I enjoy Bettolona is the people who work there.  Most, if not all of the waiters, are Italian, as is the maitre d' and the owner.  The waiters are friendly and accommodating.  The maitre d' always comes to greet us immediately as we walk through the door and will speak in Italian to me while the owner occasionally wanders around the tables and pours water as he speaks to his patrons.

Finally, the ambiance.  It is absolutely charming.  Strings of lights frame the windows and small candles flicker in the middle of each beautifully crafted wooden table that are next to exposed brick walls.  Incredibly, Bettolona has only been open for about four months and yet they manage to serve food that is polished in its flavor and presentation.

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