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Posted by Susan from Vancouver on 10/07/2013
Our group of six were on a food tour and stopped at Rafele's for an eggplant appetizer, it was delicious! We had dinner reservations at another restaurant that evening but cancelled and decided to come back to Rafele's and try the Chefs Tasting Dinner. Our talented and very welcoming Chef blew our socks off with the delicious creations he served us that evening. We felt as if we were having dinner at his home. The staff were also very friendly and attentive. The six of us have decided New York will be an annual trip and we will definately be paying Rafele a visit for another delicious meal. If your lucky you may even find his Mamma in the kitchen who visits regularly from Amalfi.
Posted by CAROL on 09/21/2013
I thought I was back in Italy. The food was so authentic. The chef does a wonderful job with the pastas. The lamb ragu pasta and the Cacio e Pepe pasta were mouthwatering and just like I would have expected in Naples. The crispy artichokes are a must. I am a lover of chicken liver, hence the crostini of chicken liver spread along with a delicious, incredible buffalo ricotta and honey spread was to absolutely die for! A sampling of an eggplant caponata was brought to the table as well and I could've eaten the entire bowl myself! Definitely do not miss the cheesecake, it is like none I have ever tasted before, again made with that savory buffalo ricotta Next time we are going to do the Tasting Menu as I have great confidence in whatever the chef in this wonderful place whips up! The service was very good and the staff were very personable. The cocktails were delicious, try their version of Sangria! You wont be disappointed in this wonderful place.
Posted by Vanessa on 06/12/2013
We ate a Rafele and were disappointed after the reviews here. The atmosphere is nice, but not overly wonderful. The indoor is a bit loud and the outdoor is pleasant, but would benefit from a few candles or nice touches. The food was disappointing after the rave reviews. First of all, the bread (in my opinion) tells a lot about a place and when we received focaccia slices and some semolina (or similar) that were a bit stale I was worried. We ordered the octopus to start which was nice (well flavored) but not hot enough and actually seemed as if it was prepared in advance (not to order). The lamb ragu was tasty but the seafood spagetti was disappointing. A bit bland and the fish/clams were not super fresh and succulent but a bit dry. Disappointing since I SO wanted to love this place! The wines were good but a bit pricy at $14 for a pinot grigio. And the SERVICE left A LOT to be desired. It took forever for us to have our order taken and then I had to ask for bread, waited an extraordinary amount of time for my second glass of wine, and had to wave the waiter down to ask for a spoon and some salt when my main dish came. We won't be back. Skip it and go to isodi on Christopher!
Posted by jkp on 01/04/2013
I loved the meatballs so much we ordered another serving. Have gone twice and am planning another visit. Absolutely love this place- classy, romantic, casual, and delicious- what is better than that!
Posted by mopan on 10/16/2012
We were dying to try this beautiful new restaurant in the village. The food at Rafele is given the proper attention to detail and is a joy to the palate. This is not your grandmother’s cooking. The kitchen was open and we watched the chef do his magic. For appetizers, the crispy fried artichokes are a must (Carciofi) along with the fried calamari. If you love risotto, you should try the mini cheese dumplings (Arancini) they were perfection. All house made pastas melted in your mouth and the sauces were not over-powering. The fish was surrounded with a delicate squash sauce that made you clean the plate. The chef has created a new twist with cauliflower. Not your sister's Thanksgiving cauliflower, either, we are talking small roasted pieces with pignoli nuts, currants and topped with breadcrumbs. But you must save room for the cheesecake. We died and went to heaven sharing it. Never had a cheesecake like that before. Don’t forget to order it.
Posted by marcello on 08/26/2012
I have eaten there now four times. It has constantly been excellent. The food is more of todays Italy its what people in Italy put together now. Fresh, simple and crisp thats the way i would put it. My only request is a wine that can be purchased for less, than i would go more often. I cant wait to see the fall menu
Posted by Franco on 08/23/2012
Sure there are plenty of "Italian" restaurants in NYC and the Village in particular. However, MANY of them are not Italian owned or cheffed and others still are just lackluster. Finally, we can say that this is a thoroughly owned and operated Italian restaurant headed by Naples born and raised Chef Raffaele Ronca. Ronca has worked his way up for 20 years in NYC restaurants bartending and cooking... in the last 10 years as Head Chef he put places like Bellavitae and Palma on the map. Now, in his very own place, he can serve his truly inspired cuisine which marries the traditional with the innovative; authentic recipes and preparations with organic, local grown and diet friendly adjustments. Hands down the best carciofi, mini meatballs, arrancini (mini rice balls) and braised fennel around. The octopus and calamari taste as if you were seaside in Italy. Recently we were treated to the seasonal fior di zucca/zucchini blossoms -which are equaled only by those found in your best Roman trattoria. Try the prosciutto with gnoco fritto and you have died and entered Paradiso! The homemade pastas are a marvel! Better ravioli do not exist in NY. Sorry they just don't. A recent special was an agnelotti stuffed with crab meat and avocado served in an heirloom cherry tomato sauce! ***** The fettuccine with mushrooms... and ragu` are all exceptional! For entrees ALL are EXTRAORDINARY! But the fish is simply of the best you will find around and the pork chop and steak are so authentic you feel as if you are dining in Italy. However, several people have been talking about what could be the best chicken dish in NYC. I will just say that it is cooked in a 1000 degree pizza oven in but a few minutes and will take your breath away! The bar is fabulous, the drinks delicious and Tomaso the bartender even better! My friend remarked, "New Yorkers do not know what they are missing!" Go today and get in the know!