L’ Apicio is an Italian inspired restaurant that opened in 2012 in the East Village. L’Apicio is brought to NYC from the same team that runs della’nima, L’Artusi, and Anfora. The team includes Chef Gabe Thomson, Beverage Director Joe Campanale (L’Apicio has a huge collection of wines stacked from floor to almost 11 or 12 feet height), and Managing Partner August Cardona.
L’Apicio has many delicious dishes that have been rated as “must eat food / drinks“, “dishes that dazzle on their own” etc. The reason I love L’Apicio is not just because it has a range of vegetarian options that taste fantastic, but because of the friendly, unassuming service that it provides – e.g., they seated us even though our entire party did not arrive together, they gave us a table for 5, but when it turned out that we were only 3, they did not make us switch tables or make a big deal of the change in number. Was this because we had one of last reservations of the evening at 11.30 PM? We will never know, but were happy to receive the friendly service.
It is now a while since I went to L’Apicio (this post has been in “draft” form for a few months!), so some dishes listed in this post may not feature on the current L’Apicio menu. The current menu at L’Apicio has been adjusted to feature seasonal vegetables and each section on the latest menu seems to list fewer items when I compare it to the menu when I visited the restaurant.
All dishes that we ordered were universally excellent, although relatively small in portion sizes (note: we did not order any main course). It was particularly heartening for me to know that the kitchen had run out of a couple of the vegetarian options that we were keen on. A kitchen running out of something usually means that many guests order it (assuming, of course, that the kitchen did budget the right amount of ingredients for the evening,. In any case, there were plenty of other vegetarian options on the menu for us to choose from.
We got the following and loved them all:
- Watercress salad – crunchy pistachios elevated this salad to a completely new level
- Winter Citrus salad with 3 types of citrus fruits (Grapefruit, clementine and navel orange (?)) – delicious to say the least with the pomegranate adding some brightness. The dill and fennel paired well with the citrus juices
- Spaghetti with tomato sauce and basil – this is not your average spaghetti with tomato sauce, courtesy the toasted bread crumbs sprinkled on the pasta. How I wish we could have such a spaghetti and tomato sauce dish in every Italian restaurant!
- Mezzalune (Pasta) with cauliflower and capers – a small, light dish despite the creamy sauce. The capers and pine nuts were a nice addition.
- Arancini (fried rice balls – super crispy) with ham, fontina cheese, and sage – the rice balls were perfectly crispy brown on the outside with soft cheese oozing from inside. The ham in the arancini did not overwhelm the flavour of the rice balls.
- Gelato / Sorbet trio – must get the quince sorbet / gelato if you can, chocolate was great (as it always is, usually), but the honey rosemary was unremarkable. The current menu has a banana sorbet, I wonder how that would taste.
We got some thumb-print cookies on-the-house with cranberry jelly inside – do not pass on these, they are deliciously sweet and tart. The cookies were soft, buttery, slightly crumbly and not too chewy. The rest of the creations on the dessert menu by Executive Pastry Chef Katherine Thomson look extremely crave-worthy!
Overall, we had a memorable time at L’Apicio and hope to be back soon for more! Please try some of the vegetarian options on the latest menu and share your experience …..