Restaurants, Mediterranean Upper West Side
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
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Photograph: Thomas Schauer

Cedric Tovar turned out updated French at Bobo and splashy Italian at Rosemary’s—now the Alsatian chef marries the two genres for this uptown tavern. The 1,750-square-foot digs are industrial—subway-grate ceilings, gunmetal stools—but the food is rustic Mediterranean: grilled rouget with fennel marmalade and pickled mustard seeds; razor-clam escabèche with lemon confit and toasted almonds; and venison-loin carpaccio with caper-leek chimichurri and shaved Parmesan. Pastas are house-made, like the linguine for the cacio e pepe, invigorated with Tasmanian pepper and pickled lemon zest. Drew Shields—who spent time popping bottles for Daniel Boulud and David Burke—cruises the Mediterranean coast for the 60-bottle wine list, offering prosecco and South-of-France varietals.


Venue name: Tessa
Address: 349 Amsterdam Ave
Cross street: between 76th and 77th Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Wed, Sun 5–11pm; Thu–Sat 5pm–midnight
Transport: Subway: 1 to 79th St
Price: Average entrée: $28. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

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I'd been eyeing up Tessa for months before we finally made the reservation. The menu had classic dishes with creative twists (cod crusted in breadcrumbs and sausage, baked alaska with passion fruit purée), the hardest part was narrowing it down to a reasonable amount of dishes to share. Pastas come in full and half portions, so we chose to start with the rabbit cavatelli and the salumi plate (pro-tip: save some bread and sop up the pasta sauce with it). Then we opted for 2 of the night's specials as entrées, the lamb loin and the crusted cod. The lamb was a little underseasoned, but the couscous/purée/kale served with it were delicious. If it were a competition, the cod would win. But I think anything crusted in breadcrumbs and sausage would win. For dessert, the Baked Alaska. Passionfruit purée took it to the next level and prevented it from being an otherwise overly-sweet choice. Overall, a really special and exceptionally delicious experience.


Even if you don't stay for a meal here at Tessa, the bar for me is the real selling point.  Very laid back and chilled out atmosphere with a fantastic wine selection.  Perfect for a Sunday afternoon - particularly in the winter months, as the Reds are superb.

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