Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NYC's Caffe Linda - really good eats if you're in the neighborhood!

145 E 49th St
(between 3rd Ave & Lexington Ave)
New York, NY 10017
(646) 497-1818
We were in town for the weekend and staying at the Waldorf Astoria on Lexington. Looking for a place within walking distance, we set off to find a good lunch.

Just one block away we stumbled upon a sweet little cafe with outdoor seating. The only thing was, there was NO ONE eating there. Being in a restaurant family - i have been told, an empty restaurant isn't usually a GOOD restaurant. However I saw the owner was working (which is always a good sign) and that he was Italian - so I got a good vibe and we decided to try it.

We sat outside to enjoy the sun with our food. The owner was very attentive and made sure we were happy at all times.

I love any restaurant that still practices the "free snack or appetizer" rule. Whether its chips and salsa, bread sticks, bread with dipping sauce - I love it - it adds to the meal and makes you feel like the establishment cares about you rather than just money.

This restaurant had a lovely version of Bread and Butter. They had two different kinds of home made, thick crusted Italian breads - one plain and one sweet with raisins. And they served it with warm soft butter and berry jam.

For a beverage I ordered an iced tea and was so pleased with just that!

The menu was extensive however we were drawn to our favorites. My meal came with a salad - which was a wonderful mixture of Arugula, Kale, Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, and Cantaloupe. My only complaint was that there was TOO much arugula - which made it too bitter to each too many leaves with each bite.

Next up was each of our plates - Our daughter, Ms Sweet-tooth - ordered the French Toast. This was a beautiful homemade bread dipped in eggs and sweet spices, topped with powdered sugar and a side of fruit.

Next up was my sandwich - Mozzarella, tomatoes and arugula on homemade foccocia bread. It was so yummy and savory. HOWEVER I would have preferred WAY less arugula and some basil instead. In fact this place served SO much arugula, i wonder if the owners had it in the garden or something. For such a bitter lettuce, they used it a bit too much for my taste -but still overall such a great sand which.

Lastly was my husbands Caprese Salad. The mozzarella they used was so soft and melted in their mouth. It was buffalo and smoked, which makes all the difference in the world. Again, the ONLY complaint...no basil. However we did ask for this as a special order, as it wasn't on their menu, and didn't specify basil, however all Italians know its served with basil! However, the salad did come on a bed of....yes you guessed it - ARUGULA! Once again - not the best choice for this salad - but again it seems it was the lettuce of the day!

Overall - this restaurant was sweet, organized, fast, well managed and the food was above average and I would even say really good. Can't say great because of the few exceptions I made above. Add in convenience and cost and I would most definitely visit Caffe Linda again when in New York.

Rating: **** Really good !

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