photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Malatesta Trattoria image

Malatesta Trattoria


West Village

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerDate NightFirst/Early in the Game DatesOutdoor/Patio Situation
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Have you ever felt like you were really late to something that everyone else already knows about? Did you just start watching Breaking Bad last week? Did you recently realize you were the last person to find out that two of your coworkers have been dating for months? Did you just discover that Lily Allen’s brother is Theon Greyjoy from Game Of Thrones? (We just learned about that one recently, and... whoa, right?)

That’s how we felt after eating at Malatesta. After enjoying our meals and mentioning it to friends, we were routinely met with, “Of course, everyone knows about that place! It’s great.”

Let us guess: You’ve known about this charming little Italian spot in the West Village ever since you moved to the city. Your mom really liked the meatballs. You went there on your first date with your spouse. You had a casual birthday dinner there a few years back. Well, thanks for sharing. If you are one of these people who’s apparently known about Malatesta for years and declined to tell us about it, feel free to stop reading.

Malatesta Trattoria image

But on the off chance, like us, you weren’t previously acquainted with Malatesta, allow us to introduce you. A cash-only, simple Italian restaurant, Malatesta is a bit like the West Village’s version of Frank or Lil’ Frankie’s - not exactly life-changing, but a place for reliable, tasty food in a welcoming environment. Use it for a casual date or for a group dinner (call to make a reservation). Be charmed by the handwritten menu. Don’t get too annoyed by the occasionally half-baked service. Bring cash. Start out with a fairly cheap bottle of red and some calamari, and finish off with meatballs and a pasta to share.

Also, from here on out: let’s not let each other be late to things. If you happen to come across a great restaurant we don’t know about, or discover two celebrities are actually related, please let us know.

Food Rundown

Crostini Misti

An assorted platter of toasts topped with gorgonzola, prosciutto, tomatoes, and mushrooms, get an order of these if you can’t decide what to start with.


Simply grilled calamari with arugula salad and lemon. You know the drill.
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Spinach Gnocchi

Green gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce - rich, tasty, and probably something you want on your table to share.
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Fluffy veal meatballs with a tart tomato sauce. This is the kind of dish that makes people say, “Just like grandma used to make.” My grandmother mostly cooked plum tarts, but anyway, these are really good.

Sirloin Steak

A surprisingly enjoyable sliced, simple steak. Don’t be afraid to order it.

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Suggested Reading

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Frankies (570) Spuntino

While this isn’t a must visit, Frankies 570 is a reliable option that will be consistently packed with carb seeking humanity who might just appreciate the fact that Grateful Dead’s American Beauty is playing in full.

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We love Piccolo Angolo because it’s the antithesis of every other restaurant within walking distance. There is nothing cool or buzzworthy happening here, just really good, classic Italian food that will make you happy and probably very fat.

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A legendary East Village Italian restaurant that we have decided we can now only visit when nobody else will be eating there. Like at 3pm on a Tuesday.

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Whatever your restaurant need, Lil Frankie’s can probably solve it. This place is the ultimate utility player.

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