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Bars, Cocktail bars Greenwich Village
4 out of 5 stars
Negroni at Trattoria Dante
Photograph: Steve FreihonPhotograph: Steve Freihon
Photograph: Courtesy DantePhotograph: Courtesy Dante
Aperol spritz at Dante
Photograph: Steve FreihonPhotograph: Steve Freihon
Steve FreihonPhotograph: Steve Freihon

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

Come for the negroni, stay for the vibe and just move right in for the pasta. It's that simple, pleasure-seeking ideology that embodies Dante, the beloved MacDougal Street Italian café turned small plates restaurant and cocktail bar in 2015. After a century as a staple in the once predominantly Italian neighborhood, the original owners, a Fiotta family, sold the name to an Australian hospitality group helmed by Linden Pride (AvroKO), who revamped both the decor (green-leather banquettes, a pressed-tin ceiling) and menu, but preserves the storied history through classic Italian food and drink.

Overseen by renowned Sydney-born bartender-journalist Naren Young (AvroKO), the bar program centers on the European tradition of the afternoon aperitivo, which is showcased finely through a daily $9 negroni session from 4pm to 7pm. On a recent visit, a shaken negroni frappe proved more fluffy and refreshing than the original with dominating notes of citrus, while a cold-brew–laced negroni coffee swizzle allows even a subtle aroma of java to shine. Beyond those classic variations, Dante’s house offerings include the simple yet photogenic Garibaldi ($12; Campari, fress-pressed orange juice) and a refined take on the classic Pimm’s Cup ($14).

While the drinks are attention-grabbing, executive chef Rachael Polhill's health-friendly bar fare is certainly nothing to sleep on either. Composed of small plates, the menu is perfect for sharing. A starter of juicy heirloom tomatoes tossed with shallots, feta and watercress in a bright cab sav vinaigrette ($12) is simple, but the freshness of the greens make it worth ordering. A recent special of flatbread ($15) arrived with figs, peanuts and arugula on a thicker and more doughy slab of bread than the traditional crisp, with the figs providing a sweetness that nicely offset the nutty flavor. An orrecchiette, topped with a ramp pesto, spring peas, pine nuts, and tendrils ($17) is a clear standout, combining a fragrant, seasonal pesto with perfectly-textured pasta.

Dante’s appeal is simple and classic, yet cool and far from old-fashioned. Take a seat at the dark-wood bar or at a sidewalk table and you’ll feel why it’s survived in New York for 100 years.




Address: 79 MacDougal St
New York
Cross street: between Bleecker and W Houston Sts
Transport: Subway: 1 to Houston St; C, E to Spring St (Sixth Ave)
Price: Average small plate: $13.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-midnight; Sat, Sun 10am-midnight
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