Unexpected Pleasure…

Mediterraneo Owner, Melania
Mediterraneo Owner, Melania

It is the little things in life that pump you up.

I was rendezvousing with my dear friend Paula on the Upper East Side.

Her mobility has been restricted so I journeyed to her ‘hood.

She recommended Mediterraneo, a restaurant close by her apartment.

I made a reservation, looking forward to seeing her and not overly excited about the destination as many of my dining meet ups are possible fodder for my weekly restaurant reviews.

The reason I was Debbie Doubter is that I often find the dining places on both the UES and UWS merely adequate.

But as I recently experienced, restaurant dining does not have to be about the latest trendy, impossible to get into, super chef or up and coming chef.

Familiar, consistent, comfortable and delicious works, as well.

I arrived early and was seated by a charming woman.

We connected.

Her dazzling blue eyes were warm and embracing, her Italian accent inviting.

I settled in at Mediterraneo.

Paula arrived. We immediately lapsed into deep conversation and never perused the menu even after the server approached four times.

Ms. Charming turned out to be Mediterraneo owner, Melania. She sensed indecision and jumped right into the fray.

We queried selections and she recommended a traditional dish, Penne Alla Checca.

I was sold when she said that the tomatoes were imported from Naples.

I also loved that she suggested the least expensive pasta dish on the menu.

Penne Alla Checca
Penne Alla Checca

The Penne Alla Checca made with homemade pasta was cooked to perfection…al dente.

The tomato sauce was sweet and no lingering garlic overtone. The chunks of mozzarella were a delectable accent to the dish ($16).

Spinach Ravioli
Spinach Ravioli

Paula opted for the special which was ravioli stuffed with spinach in a Bolognese sauce.

The spinach filling was fresh and tangy. The ravioli was perfectly prepared.


For dessert, Melania sent over the best tiramisu I have ever eaten. I am normally not a big fan of the Italian dessert, but this was exceptional.

We ordered espresso which was the ideal finish to an unexpectedly delicious meal ($4).

In addition to the homemade pastas, a wood-burning oven turns out crispy pizzas. Salads are fresh and ample.

Mediterraneo has been thriving for 26 years. It is authentic Italian orchestrated by the delightful and talented Florentine and Tuscan owners.

Unexpectedly, our tablemates were interesting, bright, successful women. We yacked for hours.

Melania stopped to bid adieu and I promised a return engagement.

Mediterraneo also has inviting outdoor dining, making for great people watching.


Mediterraneo 1260 2nd Avenue and 67th Street New York City. Open Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 11:30am-11pm, Wednesday & Thursday 11:30am- 11:30pm, Friday & Saturday 11:30am to midnight. Reservations on OpenTable.com.


  1. Paula Lopez says:

    What an ‘unexpected’ surprise! To partake in the the Devil along with my second cup of coffee to see the lovely face of Melania.- as an opener! It was a great lunch- and a welcome to the UES!!!! Paula

  2. Gerardo Zoppi says:

    When I go to the restaurant I feel and see the warmth of Italy, I smell the delicious and inviting aromas of the Italian cuisine, and when I look into those blue eyes filled with moonlight I see someone I am so thankful and happy to know. Go to Mediterraneo and give your self the gift of experiencing world class Italian cuisine as well as the warmth and friendship of Melania.

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