It’s been a couple of months since we had our youngest daughter Veronika, and we are beginning to venture out beyond the ten-minute radius of our apartment to revisit our favorite restaurants as well as check out some new ones.
On one of our recent forays we decided to try the Armani restaurant on 5th & 56th. We had actually stopped by this restaurant with friends back in November, but I was towards the end of my pregnancy and seated with a large group of people, so I didn’t feel we were able to try it out properly. But I was intrigued by the presentation of the dishes and made a mental note to come back after I gave birth.
Strangely enough, we had visited and loved the Armani Ristorantes in Dubai and Milan, but had not thought of going to the location here at home. The Armani Ristorante in NYC is situated on the 3rd floor of the Armani flagship store on 5th Avenue. While, of course, there is an elevator, I strongly suggest walking up, or at least taking a look at this gorgeous architectural staircase designed by Mr. Armani himself, as it is the vertical centerpiece of the space. I couldn’t resist taking a photo there!
The décor is exquisite, with clean, modern lines, sensual, understated tones, and yet still with warm and inviting atmosphere– classic Armani. The demure lighting greatly contributes to that effect. However, this is something one would expect from Armani, as he is after all a master of design and a veritable institution of fashion, but a really top quality restaurant? In one word: yes. You will not be disappointed.
Mr. Armani is an absolute stickler for details, and exerts an ironclad grip on all facets of his empire, apparently including the restaurant in New York. We were told that he personally picked the chef de cuisine, as well as an old-school trained pasta chef from an obscure village in Italy. And let me tell you, he made the right picks! From the classic prosciutto and mozzarella, to octopus and the fabulous Turbo, which was just fantastic and quite frankly unexpected, everything we tried was superb.
The absolute piece-de-resistance was Vitello Tonnato. It is one of my favorite dishes to start with, and I am absolutely obsessed with Armani’s version.
The chef only uses tuna belly for the sauce, sous vides the veal, and then garnishes the dish with grinded coffee from Guatemala, fried capers, cherry tomatoes and quail eggs. The finished dish is visually stunning on the plate and the taste is heavenly. The absolute best Vitello Tonnato I’ve ever had.
The bread basket is a masterpiece in itself.
The grilled octopus salad with blood orange puree is paired with crisp and slightly bitter radicchio and chicory, segments of pomelo and a sweet persimmon slice.
A bright and beautiful presentation of the octopus salad exceeds all expectations, including the flavor profile. Tender octopus, cooked with aromatics and then grilled to perfection, is one of the best appetizers on the menu.
Tagliolini Verdi lands its beautiful spring green color due to pasta dough mixed with spinach. All pastas are made in house fresh daily.
Tagliolini is served with a stunning, “cooked just right” langoustine, it is similar to sashimi grade and you can almost taste the ocean, tiny wild mushrooms and generously sliced black truffles.
Rombo is Turbo in Italian. The tender, slightly sweet filet is sautéed in olive oil with just a touch of butter to promote a beautiful golden hue. The fish is paired with an earthy, soft slice of celery root that was baked in salt crust for eight hours, caramelized apple juice, thin shavings of apple and celery root crumble. Black truffles are sliced on top, of course!
As for dessert, try their decadent, rich chocolate cake that melts in your mouth.
Financiers, macaroons, marshmallows, fruit jellies rolled in sugar and puffed pastry filled with cream are after lunch small bites everyone loves!
A lesson on Italian coffee etiquette: don’t order coffee with milk, such as a cappuccino or caffe latte, after a meal. Fancy a coffee? Go for a rich single espresso instead with a bite of dark chocolate from the Armani collection.
I love this restaurant and it is now my go to place whenever I am in the neighborhood. I simply cannot get enough of it. I take my girlfriends there for lunch when I can, and my husband and I have dinner there at least once a week with friends. They all leave amazed with the food, ambience and outstanding service. Make it your place – you’ll love it!
Photographed by Gary Flom.