Daily, noon-3pm and 5pm-11:30pm
6 at 77th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
68th St. to 96th St., East End Ave. to Fifth Ave.
From the window, colorful fruit tarts and pastries entice you in, and you'll do well to drop anchor. Italian for sea urchin, Il Riccio emphasizes seafood. A hand-painted blue fish motif carries through to the long, narrow main dining room, with yellow walls hung with handcrafted, commemorative plates depicting underwater seascapes. Continue back, past the well-to-do over-50 crowd and toward the exposed oak wine racks, and you'll find a secluded back room. Sky lights and lattice trimming give it a tucked-away, sitting-on-the-porch feel. The southern Italian menu includes simply prepared regional food, with a clear emphasis on fresh-off-the-boat seafood. The signature Minigonne al Riccio di Mareómini rigatoni pasta with sea urchin in a light tomato sauceóis an adventurous choice. The slightly briny urchin is blended in, creating a creamy texture and thickening the sauce. The grilled Misto di pesce alla Griglia includes sizable portions of tender scallops, plump shrimp, and fresh fish served with tender baby spinach and a sauce made with zesty white wine vinegar, garlic, mint, and olive oil. But the first thing you see here should be the last thing you eat. The raspberry and blackberry tart's fresh, plump whole berries, crisp, flaky crust, and sweet sugar glaze brings perfect closure.Recommended Dishes
Baby octopus salad, $13.50; carciofi taleggio, $13.50; minigonne al riccio di mare, $17.50; raspberry and blackberry tart, $8.50