I stumbled upon Ribalta this week, two blocks south of the craziness of Union Square. It was opened by two partners wanting to bring solid Neapolitan food to the neighborhood. It's worth a stop if you're craving home style Italian you find yourself in the area.
The space is bright due to large floor-to-ceiling windows lining the front wall. The restaurant is long and narrow, coated mostly in white with hints of red paint and deep brown leather banquettes. At the far end of the airy space you'll find a large wood fired pizza oven, as you should in a Neapolitan style restaurant.
You don't come here for creatvity, you come for Italian classics. Those classics are represented all over the menu like caprese salad, veal scallopini & chicken Milanese. The pastas were decent, exactly what you'd want in the marinara and alfredo sauces you remember from childhood. The gnocchi weren't good unfortunately. The texture was gummy mush but savory pesto sauce on them was enjoyable. The meatballs were the perfect texture and swimming in their sweet homemade marinara.
The Neapolitan style pizzas are the star and you can choose from over 22 varieties of white and red pies, or make your own. The crust was exceptional, which is what in really looking for in a pie. You can dump a ton of shit on a pizza, but if the foundation isn't great then what's the point? It is perfectly charred and chewey, with the ingredients like the yeast and flour coming from Italy. Here's what we had:
SALUMI MISTI - Prosciutto di San Daniele, Speck, Porchetta, Salame di Felino served with Focaccia Bread
CAPRESE - Mozzarella, cherry tomatoe, bail and evoo
MEATBALLS - Neapolitan Ragù Sauce
SPAGHETTI AL POMODORO - Artisanal Spaghetti from Pacifica dei Campi, with "Piennolo" Tomato
GNOCCHI AL PESTO - Homemade Bail and Pine Nut Pesto
PARMA PIZZA Mozzarella, Grape Tomato, Arugula, Prosciutto di Parma, Shaved Parmiggiano Reggiano
MARGHERITA ROSSA PIZZA - Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Bail
Address: 48 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 777-7781