Santina sits in a glass cube underneath the Highline. In summer its side doors are flung open, with tables spilling out onto the cobbled streets. In winter it’s a tropical island, a refuge from East Coast storms.
Don’t visit Santina expecting a traditional Italian meal of spaghetti bolognese and Chianti Classico. This restaurant has been inspired by the sun-soaked Italian coast. The interiors are bright and colorful, drinks are often served in ceramic pineapples and food is presented on terracotta plates with illustrations of animals and sea creatures running around the rims. The wait staff are dressed in pastel polo shirts and white trousers or pleated mini skirts. As upbeat Italian music sings from the speakers, it’s easy to imagine you’re on a sunlounger on the Amalfi coast rather than in the middle of Manhattan.
Order a range of food and start sharing. The salads come spectacularly piled high and the stunning squash carpaccio could make anyone Insta-famous. Bright pastas are light and delicate and the grilled chicken is more of a flavor-explosion than you would ever imagine.
Eventually your Italian coastal dream must come to an end. But Santina will always be there when you need a Mediterranean escape and don’t have any vacation days to spare.
Santina, 820 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014.
Photo: Hannah Hoskins.