Do you know how New Yorkers like to eat out? We will show you how Olive Tree Cafe & La Lanterna di Vittorio together, make the perfect night out! This incredible duo will make you travel to Middle Eastern to Italy in a blink of an eye.
That NY is a really diverse city, we all know. But do you know how some native New Yorkers like to eat? I mean, how would be a perfect dinner for them? I’m sure the opinions are divided. But, according to a group of friends I’ve got, all of them “native New Yorkers”, have an interesting and uncommon way of having a night out.
Ok, so the cool thing here is: having dinner at one restaurant and dessert at another. This is a tradition many New Yorkers keep since their college years. It seems curious, doesn’t it? And let me tell you, after being introduced to this New Yorker style meal, I can say it’s definitely fun and quite adventurous.
I’ll describe below my first experience trying out the combo:
It was a winter evening when my group of friends decided we’d have dinner at Olive Tree Cafe and dessert at La Lanterna Di Vittorio, both on MacDougal Street, located in the West Village. I didn’t know any of these restaurants at that time, so I was super excited about what that night would look like.
First stop: Olive Tree Cafe – Mediterranean, Middle Eastern food
When we got into the restaurant I was immediately impressed by the tables.
They were like chalkboards. Yeah, we could draw, write or doodle on the table, while we were eating. I loved it!
As soon as we were seated I grabbed a chalk and started writing some silly, fun things to get entertained.
The place was cute, decorated with some lamps across the saloon, brick walls and some frames.
The menu offered Middle Eastern salads and main dishes, in addition to hamburgers and sides. As I’m really into Middle Eastern food I tried to order the best I could.
To start, we split a falafel dish. I’m a huge fan of falafel and thought it was great!
For the main course I had chicken kebob that was served with rice or mashed potato – I picked rice – and a salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and a few spices. It was really rich!
My friends ordered different dishes, all of them pretty tasty. But, one of them got my attention. It was a combination of falafels, baba ganoush, kefta kebob and a salad.
So, I couldn’t hold myself back from asking my friend to try a little bit of his dish, and what can I say, fantastic!
After eating and playing a lot with the chalk, we were ready to head for dessert.
Note: Olive Tree Cafe is part of the Comedy Cellar, a notorious comedy club located right below it.
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 4am
Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 2:30am
Location: 117 MacDougal Street
Second stop:La Lanterna di Vittorio – Italian food
First of all, the ambience of the place was extremely cozy. The dimmed lights made me feel as my simple dessert hunt with friends, was a real special occasion.
I highly recommend for a date, although it was not my case. I was just having fun with my friends.
It was winter so the fireplace was lit. My friend asked for a table in the back, which made me question: in the back??
Oh! What I didn’t know was they have a charming winter garden tucked away in their back area!
The space is decorated with some colorful and fun details like the lamps in a Greekish-Italian style.
Surely, a lovely place to spend the rest of a great night with friends.
Time to order, and they had a great variety of desserts or dolci, like you’ll see written on their menu.
From American to Italian and other European cakes and sweets, I felt like Alice in “Dessertland”.
They also displayed the desserts close to the entrance so I decided to get up and chose mine, with my eyes. I chose a delicious chocolate mud cake and it was actually my first time having one. So delicious!
My friends had canolis, fruit pie and the gelati.
The result: Every single one of us left extremely happy and satisfied! It was truly the perfect duo, specially considering they are located on the same street, just steps from each other.
Note: La Lanterna has a room downstair with live music, so do ask about it!
Friday & Saturday: 10am – 3am
Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 2am
Location: 129 MacDougal Street
That night was just the first experience I had in this “New Yorker” style.
I loved it so much that I’ve repeated it countless times, but in different restaurants. It’s a great way to also optimize your stay in New York and explore more places at once.
I do want to emphasize that both Olive Tree Cafe and La Lanterna di Vittorio serve really tasty food. I do eat full meals at both places too. Plus, I’ve always had a great time.
But, if you enjoyed this duo-restaurant adventurous night out, get ready! Have fun, meet different people after all, that’s what NYC is all about!
In addition, if you visit these restaurants, do tag us on your Instagram and let us know what you thought about your dish!
Lastly, to explore other restaurants in the West Village, you might want to check out: Shuraku, for a high-end Japanense option; and Hudson Clearwater, for a mysterious and secluded dining experience.
Text by our Contributor: Rafaela Azevedo
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Jimmy Kuang for Olive Tree Café and courtesy of venues