I know that I just reviewed Finestra a couple of weeks ago but I just had to go back ASAP! I visited with a friend going to the Hospital For Special Surgery for a second hip replacement the next day, and I knew that she and her husband would appreciate some authentic Italian food and a relaxing atmosphere before the big day.
Finestra has a light and airy bistro atmosphere and has a large quantity of customers from the neighborhood including medical personnel from all the nearby hospitals. All the food is made from scratch and they have the most amazing old school Italian bread that is soft and chewy on the inside with a very firm crust on the outside. It’s hard for me to not eat at least four or five pieces! Kudos to them for not charging for great bread like other local eateries are now doing on the Upper East Side.
One of their strengths are amazing arugula salads. In case you don’t know, that’s the top lettuce choice in Italy for pretty much all salads and takes precedence over the usual greens like romaine and iceberg used in most New York-based Southern Italian eateries. Any salad that includes burrata and tomatoes at Finestra is also incredible. I really enjoyed the simply named Insalata Di Arugula which is topped with long slivers of fresh Pecorino and features a generous helping of red roasted peppers. The homemade creamy vinaigrette dressing is served on the side and is in a league of its own.
My friend ordered a special for the evening called Homemade Papardelle With Shrimp, which was in a truly satisfying pesto sauce with a touch of cream. This was topped with all sorts of fresh herbs and my friend loved it!
My friend’s husband has the Salmon Della Casa which is grilled fresh salmon with mustard sauce in a side dish. You get your choice of a half portion or pasta or mixed sautéed vegetables with your salmon and actually any entree that you pick! Finestra cooks their vegetables to perfection—they always wind up with a lovely slightly firm texture.
I had the Pollo Finestra just like I did on my first visit to Finestra two weeks ago just because it is the most amazing Italian chicken dish on the Upper East Side—and it is low carb! The chicken breast cutlet used is over eight ounces and sautéed in the tiniest bit of flour coating. (This is a large portion that will fill you up!) The brown sauce with a touch of white wine is just such a beautiful finish. I had the choice of spaghetti with tangy homemade marinara sauce that so many Finestra regulars love or mixed sautéed veggies and I chose the later to stay on my low carb diet.
Finestra has a good selection of Italian coffees and after dinner drinks with added liqueurs that you will love. Do not leave without having dessert! You can get a classic like Tiramisu or Tartufo but if you want something light, Finestra can definitely take care of you. There are several sorbet choices and see the photo above for their clever way of serving it! We decided to all share the peach sorbet and it came in an extra large frozen peach with homemade whipped cream drizzled around the sides. The peach sorbet tasted so fresh—it was perfectly citrusy and light to end a great midsummer meal.
Let me add that there are plenty light and citrusy mocktails and cocktails available as well. This is the non alcoholic basil raspberry sangria—it is simply a “wow” and you can only get it over the summer so rush over to Finestra and order it!
Finestra has plenty of daily specials including lunch and pizza deals for $22 and under. These are some of the biggest portions in town, so you will definitely be getting your money’s worth. I failed to mention that this eatery has a fantastic selection of wine and staff that can recommend excellent food pairings. Reservations are not necessary but are recommended, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. If you order their food to be delivered or picked up via the Finestra website, you get a ten per cent discount. For more info on this unforgettable bistro with the friendliest service in town, go to finestrarestaurant.com. You also should follow them on Instagram under the name @finestrarestaurantnyc! Hope to see you there!