photo credit: Noah Devereaux
LaRina Pastificio & Vino
When it comes to eating out in NYC, you’re going to have to compromise—your time, your money, and/or your personal space. But not at LaRina. At this neighborhood restaurant in Fort Greene, you don’t just get great pasta, great prices, or a great patio. You get all three of those things. And while there are definitely better Italian restaurants in the city, LaRina is a place where you can walk in on a random weeknight for dinner, eat some stuffed pasta, and have a pleasant conversation with a friend on their cozy patio.
LaRina is the second Italian spot from the people behind Aita in Clinton Hill. We like Aita, but LaRina is different. Different in the way that makes you feel—especially when you’re eating and drinking on the magic patio. You feel like a lucky person. And you get the feeling that anybody who isn’t here is an unlucky person.
LaRina’s thing is pasta, and you should plan for spaghetti and cappellacci to be the bulk of your meal. If you’re with one other person, split a few of their rotating options, a small plate or two, and a carafe of wine (after trying one of their many cocktails). That's a pretty solid dinner.
Just like rent-controlled apartments and Craigslist roommates, casual dinners often call for compromises. But now that we have LaRina, that won’t be necessary.
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One of the nightly specials here is always a seasonal salad, and we don’t just order them to convince ourselves that we’re eating a balanced meal. We order them because they’re really good.
Yeah, you already know what burrata tastes like. But you don’t know what it tastes like with olives, peanuts, and a spoonful of olive oil all slathered on top of fresh focaccia. This is delicious and totally unexpected and a thing that you’ll keep turning over and over in your head like that inappropriate thing you said to your boss yesterday.
Broccoli & Potatoes
Another great small plate if you’re looking to break up the pasta on your table. Simple and so good, and, thanks to lots of cheese and charred-ness, not something there will be any leftovers of. Unlike that steamed broccoli you try to shove down your throat at home.
One of LaRina’s signature dishes. Order it if you’re a fan of smoky things in general, but know that the texture of this pasta is far from perfect. The spicy Calabrian chiles, garlic, and crunchy hazelnuts are a great combo, but the spaghetti itself feels sort of like reheated pasta.
Bucatini Cacio E Pepe
If you’re one of those who’s like “why do I need to order a pasta that just has cheese and pepper,” you need to take a long hard look in the mirror. Then order this one (which also has asparagus.)
Ravioli di Burrata
Burrata and pesto and little pillows of joy. LaRina is in the business of pleasing people, which is also why there’s a little pasta market at the back of the restaurant. On your way out, pick up some fresh pasta to make tomorrow in an attempt to create something that tastes at least one sixth as good as this.
A sizeable portion of extremely cheesy lasagne, with a bit of bolognese sauce too. This is basically like being spooned by a plate of food. Split it with another person if you’re not trying to reach REM sleep at the table.
Caramel Panna Cotta
Save room. The salty caramel and not-too-jiggly panna cotta texture make this dessert incredible.