Restaurant: Arte Cafe – 106 West 73rd Street, Manhattan, New York

While in between jobs, I had this week off to relax and recharge my batteries. I took advantage of this to check out some places for lunch, including Arte Cafe.

I ventured out on the Upper West Side around lunch hour to see what it’s like when everyone is at work. Hint: it involves a lot of strollers. Upon arriving at Arte Cate I found a sparsely populate well lit dining room with exposed brick and pictures of Italy hung throughout. The best way to describe it is, with the light, the room seemed to glow with warmness and comfort.

Arte Cafe Interior
The inside of Arte Cafe. Photo courtesy of Arte Cafe.

While the atmosphere was nice, the lunchtime food deal was even nicer. Between the hours of noon and 4 p.m. Monday – Friday you can get an appetizer, entree and dessert, plus three ounces of wine, for $12.95. The menu has lots of variety as well ranging from salads to pastas to sandwiches to steaks. What did detract from this deal slightly is that a great number of dishes had an additional cost (from $1 to $4) on top of the $12.95 prix fixe. So, if you’re looking to stay at that set price, your options are much more limited.

I of course took full advantage and ordered:

  • Salad: peaches, goat cheese and pine nuts
  • Panino Alle Melanzane: grilled eggplants, goat cheese, pine nuts, basil pesto
  • Fresh fruit (dessert of the day – you don’t get to choose)

The food didn’t blow me away, but for the price, it was better than I expected. The highlight was the eggplant sandwich. The bread was perfectly toasted to give it a nice crunch. Additionally, the eggplant had a great marinade that gave the overall sandwich a flavor welcoming you back for another bite. The dish came with rosemary fries which were good, but I would have preferred if they were a little crispier. Additionally, I would have preferred if they had a choice for dessert. The fruit was good (I probably don’t need to be eating chocolate cake) but it was an all or nothing option.

The Verdict

Arte Cafe was a pleasant surprise. After reading the Yelp reviews, I admittedly had a low expectation of this place. However, the food was good and the price was even better. I’m unsure about brunch or dinner here since it has received many negative reviews. However, if you’re looking for a weekday lunch on the Upper West Side, I would point you in the direction of Arte Cafe.

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