The Big Apple on a Budget: Celeste, a New York Restaurant Review
by Leonor White
Celeste, located on Amsterdam Avenue between 84th and 85th, in New York, is one of my favorite places when I’m facing a cash squeeze. Thanks to the excellent value it offers, as well as the authentic Italian food it serves, it has deservedly become a popular fixture in the neighborhood.
After being greeted by the owner, you are taken to your table and presented with fantastic Italian bread and extra-virgin olive oil. The antipasti range from Fegatini Di Pollo (chicken livers) to Saute Di Cozze (sautéed clams) to Crostini Con Alici (breadsticks wrapped in anchovies), and my personal favorite, the Involtini De Melanzane, consisting of eggplant rolls stuffed with prosciutto and pecorino cheese baked with tomato sauce.
Celeste makes its pasta and pizza dough fresh every day; the pasta dishes are of high quality and the flavor combinations surprisingly good. I recommend the Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina, simple but effective; other pasta dishes that are worth a try are the Spaghetti Alle Vongole, and you can never go wrong with the specials, both in terms of price and quality.
When it comes to the pizza I would recommend the pizza Quattro Stagioni. After a substantial primo piatto, Celeste offers a variety of fresh fish and meat that vary seasonally. You can expect to find dishes such as Vitello Al Limone, Salmone Al Croccante or Stracetti Di Manzo.
If you still have room, try one of their scrumptious desserts, such as the Chocolate Mousse Cake, which hits the mark, although the tiramisu had the consistency of a classic tiramisu, but was disappointingly watery. I would recommend going to Celeste on a weekday, since, like most Italian restaurants in the city, it does not take reservations, and the wait on the weekend can get pretty long, especially if you are a big group. This restaurant is also cash only, so make sure you come prepared. For two people, expect to pay around $60, including a glass of wine each.
Upper West Side
Nearest Transit Station:
Nearest Transit Station:86 St (1, 2) 79 St (1, 2) 86 St (A, B, C) ______________ Leonor White adjusts her good, expensive taste to the budget of a student at Columbia and now working engineer. She is the best bargain-hunter in town, whether it be restaurants — her favorite past-time — or purchases of groceries, clothes and much more. She lives in Sunnyside in Queens.