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When I was twelve years old, my family took a three week trip to Italy. Of course, it was chock-full of art and historical education. But, to be honest, the memory that has really stuck with me after all of these years is the food.

New York City is a great hub for Italian food, but there’s also a whole lot of restaurants that don’t quite get it right. Morandi, located at 211 Waverly Place, is one of those down home Italian joints that hits the nail on the head. They use quality ingredients, prepared simply and executed to perfection. It’s how food should be.

One of the standout dishes at this airy restaurant is the Fried Artichokes, which remind me of the ones that I tasted whilst staying in a villa in Florence and haven’t found an adequate replica of since. They’re fried to crispy perfection and served on brown paper with a lemon and some finishing salt on the side. An absolute must have.

The pasta dishes also shine. During my last visit I opted for the Linguini Al Vongole: linguini with clams, white wine, and green garlic. Again, it’s a simple, classic dish that–when it’s done right–is unbeatable!

So, if you find yourself craving an authentic, comforting, Italian meal, look no further than Morandi!