The goods: Despite its predictability, it’s hard to resist the charms of Tagliatelle a romantic Italian hideaway tucked away in South of Fifth. The spot is owned by restaurateur Matthieu Mineo, a native of Nice who operates a handful of restaurants on the French Riviera.
Ambience: Tagliatelle given a Mediterranean polish to the old Segafredo spot with cream-colored interiors, whitewashed chairs and tables and a stainless steel bar.
The grub: Ingredient-driven Italian. Expect clean, minimal preparations focusing on fresh seafood, bright vegetables and light sauces. The spotlight is on pasta, as most is made in house, including the namesake tagliatelle, fettuccini and gnocchi. The kitchen is headed by Chef Mariano Gravante, previously of Alta Mare and Indochine. Prices are reasonable given the swanky neighborhood: starters are $6-$14, pastas average $15 and most mains are under $25.
Dinner starts with fluffy Italian bread and herbed butter. The frito misto platter is piled high with fried calamari, baby octopus and shrimp while the salmon tartar combines buttery fish with poppy seeds and aji Amarillo vinaigrette. Pastas can be had a dozen ways here and most are dealt with a restrained hand, meaning they’re perfect to split along with an entrée. Mains include fish dishes like black bass in truffle sauce and grouper Aqua Pazza style topped with capers, kalamata olives and tomatoes.
Desserts tread the usual territory of tiramisu and crème brulee but the Chocolate Vesuvio, a molten chocolate cake, has a strong hazelnut flavor that’s a welcome addition to a ubiquitous menu item.
Verdict: A sexy Italian hideaway peddling fresh pastas and a laid-back atmosphere.