Malatesta Trattoria and the search for the perfect, perfectly affordable restaurant

Something happens when you live in New York: anytime you go out to dinner in a different city (provided that city isn’t San Francisco), getting the bill fills you with a wondrous emotion.

Several thoughts might run through your head.

“This can’t be right – they left off one of our entrees!”
“Quick, throw down some cash and let’s get out before they realize it’s wrong.”

It’s true. The only good thing about how expensive New York is, is how affordable it makes anywhere else seem.

That being said, there are plenty of legitimately affordable restaurants in NYC although they usually come with a caveat – cash only, beer & wine only, food’s not that good, restaurant hasn’t been updated since the 80’s, found something weird in my soup once…

So the search for the perfect, perfectly affordable restaurant continues.

My search may not be over but I did find a top contender over the weekend.

It’s called Malatesta Trattoria and I’m pretty much ready to make it my go-to spot. There were a few caveats of course…it’s cash only. It’s extremely far west in the West Village which for me is difficult to get to. They only take reservations for groups of four or more.

That being said, we didn’t have to wait to be seated on a Friday night. And while it wasn’t the best Italian I’ve ever had, let me just say this:

1 bottle of wine. 1 appetizer. 2 pastas. 1 entrée. $95.

The place. It’s your classic, rustic trattoria – crowded, shelves stacked with wine bottles, random things on the walls. I thought it was charming.

They have a decent amount of outdoor seating but I think it would also be very cozy in the winter.

The staff is cranky and the food came out rapid fire but that’s how it goes when you’re trying to turn tables.

Also, $95.

The food. Quite good. Most of the pasta is homemade (but I kind of feel like why would you bother with pasta if it isn’t? This is my diet speaking).

I got the spinach gnocchi in tomato sauce. It normally comes in a gorgonzola sauce which looked amazing but, you know, dairy allergy. The gnocchi were light and delicious, the sauce was sparing but good.


My boyfriend got cheese ravioli in a pink cream sauce and an appetizer that was basically an Italian quesadilla: mozzarella and prosciutto in between two pieces of thin bread.


Our entrée was good – if a bit of a cop out. 5 veal meatballs does not an entrée make, but paired with everything else it was the right amount of food.


The drinks. They have a decent selection of wines under $50. So get yourself a bottle of red and order half the menu guilt free…I mean, that’s what we did.

If you’re looking to drink red wine and eat pasta and not spend a million dollars, this s is your place. I imagine you’ll find me at Malatesta most Friday nights this winter.

One Comment Add yours

  1. LB says:

    I know what you mean about eating out of state… or even just the city or LI… everythings so much more affordable elsewhere. I’ll have to try this place!


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