A few years ago, we filed a review of Via Quadronno that basically outlined why you will love the sandwiches here, but pretty much hate the experience. It has historically been a very expensive, very uncomfortable place to eat. That, however, hasn't stopped us from coming here out of necessity quite often, before or after we hit Central Park for various activities (roller skate dancing).
It seems that over time, Via Quadronno has gotten better. That, or I am just getting older and therefore more sympathetic to other cranky old people. One of our main complaints has always been the service - the people that worked here just always seemed angry that you wanted to eat their food. But those people seem to have been phased out in favor of more reasonable human beings that better handle the pressure of serving sandwiches to Europeans and crusty Upper East Siders. The last five or so times we have been by have been shockingly pleasant, even despite the crowds and cramped quarters.
The food at Via Quadronno has always been good, so nothing has changed on that front. It's also stupid expensive, to the tune of lunch for two setting you back $50 no matter what. That said, when it comes to quality, you won't find much that beats it on this side of Park Avenue. The panini are incredible, the pasta dishes are really good, and even simple stuff like vegetable soup or chilled asparagus salad are excellent. They also do a great cappuccino, and have a little gelato stand in front. How Italian.
Ultimately, Via Quadronno should be on your list if you happen to be hitting the park or one of the nearby museums and need to eat some food. And if you don't want to take your chances with the service or the crowds, just order to-go and eat outside somewhere nearby. Although we can't guarantee that the people on the street will be any more pleasant.
One of Via Quadronno's stand out panini. Shrimp on a sandwich usually doesn't speak to me unless it's in po boy form, but this is an incredibly well conceived sandwich with shrimp, arugula, smoked mozzarella, and pink sauce. It can get a little messy, but it's tasty.
La Madunina Panini
This one is my go-to order at Via Quadronno, with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, black olive "paté," and tomatoes. It's simple and delicious, and the crusty bread it's served on is awesome.
Great sandwich, great name. I don't know what "Lo Spazzino" means in Italian, but when I get a dog, that's what I'm naming it. This panini is young roast pork, provolone, and a caper sauce, and it's a winner.
Non Ti Scordar di Me
I have to admit, I was wary of ordering this one. It's apparently an award winner, but speck, brie, and pate on a sandwich sounds like it was created from a dare. This is however, pretty amazing. Not as rich as you might expect.
This is billed as "soft bread filled with Nicoise salad," but it's really just a tuna sandwich. A very good, very expensive tuna sandwich.
Asparagi Verdi in Salsa Vinaigrette
A must order. This is a plate of asparagus, with some hard boiled egg. That's it. But the key is that it's been drizzled with the best vinaigrette ever. I don't know what's in that stuff, but it made me like asparagus way more than I should.
Spaghetti saltati alla Bolognese
This is the pasta move we make if we're making one at Via Quadronno. Much like everything else that we like here, it's simple and very high quality.
Sferzata di Salute
Another thing that Via Quadronno is known for, this is simply a pureed vegetable soup. You should eat it.