Okay, lets just say the obvious. The name of this trattoria is kind of strange. I’m not fluent in Italian, but I do know a few words… In college, one of my best friend’s last name was “Testa” and oddly enough the translation to Italian she told me means “head.” (Like, the head on top of your neck… just needed to clarify that.) And “mal” means “bad” (correct me if I’m wrong). So this trattoria means “bad head”? Kind of strange.
On Friday night my good friend Erica and I headed down to the West Village for some classic Italian cuisine. Located right in the heart of the West Village on the corner of Christopher Street and Washington Street, we knew that this restaurant was going to be fabulous. The annoying part was, we had to wait an hour and a half for a table — and no, they don’t take reservations. So while we waited we went to a near by bar, ordered a drink and caught up. The hour and a half flew by (thank goodness, because I was starving). We returned to the restaurant and we got what we called “the ‘it’ table” in the restaurant which was located right in the front corner where we were able to see everyone around the restaurant.
Erica is fluent in Italian so it was a ton of fun to listen to her speak Italian to our waiter. After she had a few chuckles and they exchanged a few words I told her how I was actually able to understand everything they said. I was shocked! She told me that Northern Italians speak very clearly and he was most likely from the North. I wasn’t surprised when he told us he is from a little town in Tuscany (of course he is, they all are. ha ha).
We both ordered a different starter — me, the calamari and Erica the mussels.
When the calamari arrived it was very obvious it wasn’t the typical breaded and fried calamari you usually get, it was a million times better! The fish had a beautiful grill flavor and with the lemon squeezed on top and the earthy flavor of the arugula leaves the tastes really came together nicely. Usually starter dishes make me feel guilty because most of them are fried, full of cheese and very filling; but this was the perfect appetizer, nice and light and I didn’t feel guilty eating it!
For my main dish I ordered just a classic Ravioli Al Formaggio — a ravioli filled with cheese in a pink sauce. I wasn’t in the mood for anything fancy, I just wanted some good ol’ classic Italian comfort food. With a light sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano on top, I devoured my ravioli dish in a flash. The best part about Malatesta Trattoria is that you don’t feel insanely stuffed on food — instead, you’ll experience the perfect portion of food that won’t fill you up where you feel like you ate too much but you will be totally satisfied on your dinner.
The ambience of Malatesta Trattoria was spectacular — a busy restaurant filled with people gathered for great food and exciting conversations. It seemed to also be a perfect date night for some couples — although an intimate conversation without talking loudly to one another seems impossible.
I don’t usually talk about prices on the menu, but since this trattoria was so cheap I just have to share with you all! I had a glass of wine, the calamari appetizer, and a cheese ravioli — all of this totaled $33. What a beautiful price that is, especially in such an expensive city like Manhattan!