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Malatesta Trattoria

PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

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.

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.

Calamari

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

Spinach Gnocchi

Green gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce - rich, tasty, and probably something you want on your table to share.

Polpette

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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