Revisit–Malatesta, Italian in the West Village


The tagliatelle al ragu at Malatesta, just as perfect as ever (click to enjoy)

For years, we’ve been recommending Malatesta, an Italian hideaway on far west Christopher Street louchely decorated with Italian pulp-fiction covers, and with French doors open to Hudson River breezes. The proprietors are from the southern part of Emilia-Romagna, and hence the rich Bolognese sauce (known by its true name “tagliatelle al ragu,” is one of the best in town, in a town with buckets of it to go around.

make the jump to see what happened on our revisit

No better place to hang as the sun goes down

The menu at Malatesta (“cracked in the head”) is wonderfully simple; indeed it partly represents an authentic regional menu from Emilia-Romagna. The best starter is piadina, a flatbread that can be stuffed with combinations of arugula, ham, cheese, and tomatoes. The arugula salad is similarly simple and refreshing. Pastas make great main courses, and we enjoyed our favorite, tagliatelle al ragu, and a special of papardelle with nice chunks of braised beef. Secondi are mainly grilled, with the lamb chops deemed the best. Desserts include only a handful of choices, of which the creamy milk pudding called panna cotta was our choice, decorated with strawberry puree. The wine list contains a handful of regional favorites from all over Italy, available by glass, carafe, or bottle. The $33 rosso di Montefalco is particularly wonderful. 649 Washington Street, 212-741-1207

The piadina layered with mozzarella and proscuitto is our favorite.

Panna cotta, pale and jiggly, makes the perfect light dessert.