We attended a concert on the Upper East Side recently and were looking for a casual place to have a late night bite to eat. We happened into Cavatappo Grill on First Avenue and were happy that we did. The evening was warm, the restaurant’s front doors were open, and we were given a banquet seat that provided us with comfort, fresh air, and a prime vantage point for watching the street scene.
The food, however, is the major reason we will now put this Italian wine bar and grill on our list. We shared plates and found the food fresh, inventive, tasty, and beautifully presented. We started with a plate of prosciutto and melon. This is a common dish in most Italian restaurants and can sometimes be disappointing. Cavatappo’s offering was a cut above the rest. The prosciutto was silky and tangy while the melon was sweet and luscious.
Next we shared a plate of pasta. Our server recommended the spinach pappardelle with duck ragu. Again, a ubiquitous offering on Italian menus. And, once again, Cavatappo surprised us with a fabulous dish. The pasta was tender but with a bite and the sauce was seasoned perfectly and plentiful without drowning the noodles.
We wanted to try something from the grill and opted for the shrimp and scallop skewers. The dish was smoky and the seafood seared just right. At this point we were high-fiving each other for making such great choices. After raving about the restaurant to friends who live in a nearby building, we were told that everything they have ever tried has been great. The restaurant does a big takeout business and our friends frequently take advantage of that service.
Oh, we also enjoyed selections from the wine list. After all, Cavatappo is a wine bar.
Type of food: Italian
1712 First Avenue, between 88th and 89th Streets
Romantic—4 Child Friendly–4
Girls’ Night Out—4 Solo Dining—4
Business Dining—3 Visitors Welcome—4
Dress Code—Casual Budget—Moderate