I have lived in the East 70s for 25 years and I cannot figure out how I never made it to Finestra (conveniently located on the NE corner of 73rd and York Avenue) before! This charming spot gets a big lunchtime and dinner crowd from the people working at nearby businesses as well as all the local hospitals like Lenox Hill and Hospital For Special Surgery. Finestra also delivers if you cannot make it in and you get 10 per cent off if you order directly from their website, www.finestrarestaurant.com. You can actually get great lunch specials starting at $17.95!
I judge Italian restaurants by their bread! First of all, Finestra thankfully does not charge for bread like most restaurants do now and it is truly classic Italian bread. It’s straight out of the oven with a super firm golden crust and soft inside! I ate about five large pieces and have no shame about it—I will do it again, too! You can request some of Finestra’s high end EVOO to dip your bread in.
My server recommended the Burrata Salad which has a light olive oil and balsamic dressing…it made with not only the freshest Burrata on the Upper East Side, but with “farm to table” chicory and very red plum tomatoes! This savory salad has got a great wow factor and is perfect for those trying to cut out carbs. Even if you are not a low carb guy or gal, I highly recommend this salad. It can be a light lunch on its own but you won’t want to miss ordering one of Finestra’s signature entrees or pasta!
I noticed that every high quality Southern Italian restaurant has a signature chicken dish and Chicken Finestra is in a league of its own. It comes with a side of classic spaghetti with red sauce and freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano which could be a meal on its own and is so tantalizing! The sauce is the type of marinara that Grandma used to make and that you so sorely miss as an adult! The Chicken Finestra is made with tender white meat cutlets and the sauce has sautéed button mushrooms, fresh parsley, white wine and the natural chicken juice! This is some of the most tender chicken in town and the sauce is classic and unforgettable! I will be coming back for Chicken Finestra again. By the way, I noticed that most of the diners around me ordered the numerous pasta dishes offered by Finestra and that their grilled salmon was also ultra popular.
I concluded my very satisfying lunch with the highly recommended Ricotta Cheesecake. The most popular dessert item at Finestra is actually the homemade Tiramisu followed by several flavors of homemade gelato but a good slice of Ricotta Cheesecake is hard to come by these days—so I just had to have it! The cheesecake lived up to its reputation. It was smooth, creamy and had just the right degree of sweetness. It was topped with a strawberry sauce and homemade whipped cream. I will be back for another piece in the very near future!
The romantic and sunny front windows become dimly lit at night. This is York Avenue’s best spot for either holding hands or people watching (or both at the same time). You will love the overall light and airy feeling of Finestra’s main dining area and will want to make it your “go to” lunch spot once you try their food and meet their friendly, dependable staff. Reservations are recommended but not necessary, by the way! I love the “local favorite” vibe and you will, too! They welcome kids and have a bit of something for everyone, no matter how fussy! Keep up with Finestra on Instagram via @finestrarestaurantnyc.