On a quiet street in the East Village, Fiaschetteria Pistoia does what they do best: delicious family recipes with a minimum of fuss. Since 1890, owner Emanuele “Lele” Bugiani’s family has been cooking in Pistoia, Tuscany, known as the “city of ovens” for its bread production. The original Fiaschetteria, “La Pace,” owned by Emanuele’s parents, still stands. His New York outpost, opened in 2017, quickly became a favorite among discerning pasta lovers, so much so that Bugiani later opened a second location in the West Village.
Bugiani serves a traditional three-course Tuscan meal in the cosy 11th street location. Among the antipasti, the pappa col pomodoro—a bread and tomato “soup” with the pleasingly spongy consistency of porridge or haggis—is decidedly not photogenic but still worth ordering. Also enticing: sformatino di zucchine (a buttery, slightly nutty zucchini flan). The house-made pasta fresca, though, is the star attraction. Diners can watch the restorative sight of dough unfurling from the pasta machine at the back of the restaurant. There’s a smaller selection of third course secondi options, rounded off a dessert menu of Italian classics (tiramisu, mousse al cioccolato, etc.), and, of course, espresso.
There aren’t too many restaurants in lower Manhattan that could genuinely be called relaxing, but Pistoia fits the bill. It’s furnished in a combination of pastoral Italy and mythical “old New York”—all weathered wood and battered metal with vintage posters of Italian supermarket foods on the walls. The wine selection comes by in antique milk crates. If you’re lucky, you might secure a spot outside at a shaded sidewalk table.
Pistoia is a place to linger on a late summer evening, when the chaos of the season has died down and you just want to savor a glass of wine and some very good pasta.