For the finest of Italian food in New York City, look no further than Frankies Spuntino. I discovered this refreshing restaurant a few years ago, and every time I’m in New York City, I make sure to have at least one meal at Frankies, where the food is delicious and the atmosphere is charming.
Friends Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli happened upon the spot in New York City 2003, which at that time was an Italian social club. The Franks, both chefs and local residents, had a distinct vision for the property. They set out to create a comfortable dining space, serving seasonally-inspired Italian fare that they themselves would enjoy on a frequent basis.
The word ‘spuntino’ is Italian for a causal meal, or snack, but there is certainly nothing complacent or haphazard about the food, wine, or the service. Every meal is made with the freshest of ingredients, as Frank and Frank hold on to a nostalgic love of the old ways they learned to revere in their grandparents’ kitchens—sausages made in storied butcher shops the same way for over 100 years and vegetables sold by the neighborhood’s push cart grocer.
Still, they are also dedicated to serving fresh, healthy, local, humanely raised fare. To lend an old world flavor to their modern Italian cooking, Frank and Frank established relationships with local butchers, delis, cheesemongers, coffee purveyors, organic grocers and brewmasters who are similarly dedicated to old-school quality.
They have a lot of great dishes, but it’s truly the simplest of things that make the Frankies the best. Frank and Frank make their own oil olive, made from organically grown olives in Sicily. It is ripe, bright and fruity with imitable grassy nuances with a flavor and acidity that make it the perfect olive oil for cold, warm and hot preparations.
My favourite dish though, the one that is always so tough to resist even when I want to try new things, is the gnocchi marinara and fresh ricotta. It is so simple and delicious, yet so hard to find anything that tastes half as good. Get a bowl of pasta with some bufala mozzarella and arugula to start, match it is a great red wine, and you will without question have one of the finest dinners in New York City.