I have been meaning to pay a visit to this restaurant since June, when it was the boyfriend’s birthday. I was searching for a romantic spot for his birthday dinner and La Lanterna di Vittorio is pretty darn romantic. The main highlight of this restaurant is the Winter Garden in the back. The Winter Garden features an outdoor garden with lanterns by the tables that light up when the sunsets and the sky grows dark. However, since it rained that day, I had to find a different location. I finally made a visit to the Winter Garden when the boyfriend surprised me with it on our anniversary. Was it fate?
La Lanterna di Vittorio, located in Greenwich Village, will never lack points in the decor department. It is one of the most romantic restaurants I have ever visited. The Winter Garden is beautiful to dine in during this time of the year, when it is neither hot nor cold enough to be uncomfortable. There is a small waterfall in the back corner of the Winter Garden, which provides soothing background music. Tables in the Winter Garden only fit parties of two, which offers a very intimate feel.
Now onto the food. We had originally planned on ordering the tomato and onion bruschetta, which is the normal run-of-the mill bruschetta that is typically served in Italian restaurants. Our waiter had politely recommended that we try the bruschetta sampler instead, since it offers one piece of each of their bruschetta. We listened, because who else would know the food better than the woman who works in the restaurant? The bruschetta trio sampler consisted of three pieces of bruschetta:
The Pomodoro e Basilico, which had chopped tomato with basil and onion on grilled peasant bread.
The Pate con Cippolla, which had truffle pate’ (goose liver) and chopped onion on grilled peasant bread.
The Peperoni Rossi con Caprino, which had marinated grilled peppers and goat cheese, also, on grilled peasant bread.
The best one, in my opinion, was the goose liver. The good liver was ground until it was a smooth paste that, paired with the onion, was very flavorful. Nothing had to be added to it – neither salt nor pepper was needed. If I visited La Lanterna again, I would definitely order just the goose liver bruschetta because one piece is simply not enough.
We ordered two entrees to share, since the boyfriend had read on Yelp that their Margherita Pizza and Pesto Lasagne were phenomenal. After trying both, I came to the conclusion that they did not lie. Their Margherita Pizza comes in a 10-inch pie that can either be eaten by one or shared between two. The pizza was thin and crisp, true to their Italian heritage. A good pizza should be thin but stable enough to hold the sauce, cheese and toppings without breaking. La Lanterna’s pizza did just that. Our waitress recommended that we try their spicy olive oil with chili peppers with the pizza. The name scared me at first but I soon found out that the oil wasn’t hot at all. It was a pleasant complement when I dipped the pizza crust into the oil.
Their Pesto Lasagne was even more delicious then the pizza. When most people think of lasagna, they think tomato sauce with meat chunks and layers upon layers of cheese. That type of lasagna is very heavy and most of us would be full from just eating half the portion. La Lanterna’s Pesto Lasagne is the entire opposite. The lasagna was super light and delicious. The boyfriend and I managed to finish the bruschetta and the pizza along with the lasagna. Afterwards, we could barely feel the lasagna in our tummies. The pesto and cheese gave the lasagna such a rich combination of flavors. Both the boyfriend and I finished the meal feeling comfortably full.
However, the highlight of the night wasn’t the decor or the main course. The highlight was dessert. La Lanterna offers a Pumpkin Cognac Cheesecake that really blows your mind away. This dessert has a regular cheesecake layer on the top with a pumpkin flavored layer on the bottom. The cheesecake had a hint of the cognac but it wasn’t an overwhelming alcoholic flavor, which is often the mistake made by other desserts. The main flavor in this cheesecake was the pumpkin. It tasted like I was eating a pumpkin pie but without the piecrust.
If you don’t want to sit down for a full lunch or dinner, stop by for dessert because their extensive dessert selection takes up an entire page in their menu. The Pumpkin Cognac Cheesecake is definitely a must try. I would give La Lanterna di Vittorio 5/5 stars because everything, from decor to service to the food, was absolutely wonderful.