Foodie Buzz: New Italian Restaurant Opens in New York City

Heads up, New York foodies! Raffaele Ronca, former chef of Bellavitae, Palma, and Caffé Torino, has opened Ristorante Rafele in New York City's West Village, at 29 7th Avenue South between Morton and Leroy Streets. The menu focuses on classic Neapolitan dishes, and the Italian wine list was designed by Wine Director Pierluigi Ossani (formerly of Amaranth, Villa Pacri and Per Lei). Rafele is currently open for dinner seven days a week, with lunch and brunch to follow.

Ronca’s menu features Italian cuisine, with approximately eight specials each day. Good to know: Ronca preserves many ingredients in-house, including artichokes, tomatoes, and an eggplant caponata served as an amuse bouche alongside freshly baked focaccia. Highlights include a Ragu with Parpardelle (we hear Ronca watched his mother make the dish each Sunday), a Zuppa di Pesce and wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas prepared on a Carrara marble-topped counter. All desserts are made in-house, including a Ricotta Cheesecake recipe that Ronca reportedly learned from his grandmother. And people with special diets are in luck: The menu includes vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, including gluten-free pastas.
 
The restaurant’s produce is sourced from several farms, including Blooming Hill Farm, the Union Square Greenmarket, and Romeo’s and Roberta Bendavid’s garden in the Hudson Valley. Cheeses are largely locally sourced with a few imported from Italy, including Burrata and Buffalo Mozzarella, and pasta and breads are made in-house daily. Meats are grass-fed, free-range, and hormone-free, and almost all of the fish is locally caught around Long Island.
 

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