Mon-Fri, noon-3pm and 5pm-midnight; Sat-Sun, noon-midnight
4, 5, 6 at 86th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Quieter than its cousins, Primola and Canaletto, near the Queensboro Bridge, townhouse-size Girasole—sunflower in Italian—is an extremely fine, and overlooked, eatery. Recessed lights in its low ceiling cast a warm glow on cornmeal-hued walls. Colorful Art Nouveau prints and paintings of sunflowers line the room. Meals here consist of dishes from all regions of the Boot, bookended by a complimentary plate of antipasti, a large basket of bread, and an assortment of house-made cookies. The Insalata Girasole is a bright pile of radicchio and greens, asparagus, mushrooms, artichokes, tomatoes, and French beans, and roasted red and yellow peppers. And while sautéed baby artichokes under a blanket of melted fontina are undersalted, that lets the vegetable’s unique flavor come through, so the result is advantageous. Pastas are tender and well-seasoned, and secondi are golden with head-turners like quail risotto and veal kidney with sausage and polenta. Italian bottles dominate the selection of Northern Italian wines, with reds and whites from California thrown in for good measure.Recommended Dishes
Tortino di carciofi al formaggio, $16; scaloppine di vitello ulivata, $36