When the thermometer goes down, it’s time to turn up the heat. And what could be better and more romantic than dining by firelight? There’s something about the radiance cast by a roaring fire that warms the heart and puts a glow in everyone’s eyes.
We found three restaurants—two Italian, one French—where you may dine by the fire and enjoy wonderful food and wine. With these ingredients, who knows what else may be on the menu?
Located in an 1875 townhouse on East 74st Street, Vivolo (both photos above) is all about old world charm. Dining in this lovely space feels like being welcomed into someone’s private home. The long wood-paneled first floor includes an antique oak bar and in the rear a beautiful fireplace. Vivolo is a local favorite and on any night you will find the bar area and tables filled with loyal fans. The service is first class and the wait staff eager to list the evening’s specials that supplement an already outstanding menu.
Appetizers include baked clams (a ubiquitous item on Italian menus but rarely made as well as they are here), rolled eggplant, and carpaccio of beef over argula. For pastas, the candele, long candle shaped pasta with tomato sauce, spicy chili peppers and shavings of ricotta salata cheese, is not to be missed. There are plenty of meat, chicken, and fish dishes to choose from, and you may find yourself making your decision based on how the main item is prepared and the additional ingredients. (We love the branzino with baby artichokes and capers prepared in a white wine and lemon sauce).
Save room for the chocolate cake and an espresso. Not ready to leave that roaring fire? Stay for an after dinner drink.
140 East 74th Street
Nicola Marzovilla, was only eleven years-old when he moved with his family from Puglia to New York City. I Trulli opened in 1994 and Nicola and his family brought the love of their Italian heritage and food to their restaurant. Chances are Nicola will be there to give you a warm greeting, helping to dispel the chill from outdoors until you can settle in front of that fire.
Although i Trulli specializes in food from the Puglia region of Italy, if you dine on Wednesday, February 24, you can help celebrate Carnevale in the style of Venice. Whether i Trulli is serving Pugliese or Venetian food, ask for a table in front of their fabulous glass-enclosed fireplace located between the two main dining rooms. The conscientious wait staff makes sure the fire never dies down. So relax and concentrate on the food.
The Carnevale event features a 7 p.m. cocktail buffet and an 8 p.m.Venetian dinner for $85, plus tax and gratuity. Dine any other time and enjoy i Trulli’s traditional Pugliese dishes, including panzerotti, baby calzones filled with tomato and mozzarella, orecchiette, ear shaped pasta in a rabbit ragu sauce, and brasato, Barola-braised beef short ribs with gnocchetti and roasted vegetables.
122 East 27th Street
The fireplace in Allegretti is the baking oven in the rear of the restaurant. Yet its light and warmth permeates the dining room. This French restaurant from Chef Alain Allegretti recently opened in the space once occupied by the Italian restaurant, Arezzo. Allegretti has a following and his fans are flocking to his new place to sample what he has to offer.
And what he has to offer is very good. Appetizers include a wonderful jumbo lump crab salad and a beet salad with warm persimmon. Pastas include a ravioli stuffed with braised oxtail and swiss chard, and black tagliolini with sea urchin and shrimp. For a main course, the standout is the citrus crusted duck served with a gratin of asparagus, with fennel, carrots and rosemary polenta.
The bar area in the front of the restaurant is a comfortable place to relax while waiting for your table, sharing some food, or enjoying an after dinner drink. The popular cabaret, the Metropolitan Room, is nearby, making Allegretti a convenient spot before or after the show.
46 West 22nd Street