(of the puppet show Punch and Judy,)
was a long-loved character and working-class street performer. His simplistic
approach to entertainment and uncanny ability to put guests at ease inspired
the now 17 year-old Italian dining concept, Pasta da Pulcinella. Roughly translated to
"pasta for the commoner," Pasta da Pulcinella focuses on Italy's cozy
cuisines, served in a comfortable atmosphere.
what can is best described as casual, friendly fare with a white tablecloth
quality, it's easy to see why Pasta da Pulcinella, and its tenured
chef, have received numerous accolades, including an '09-'10 Zagat rating. With the charming
(delightfully mischievous) staff, gorgeous plating and "old-school insistence"
of changing tablecloths after each patron, eating here is much like dropping in
for a drink with old friends. Speaking of drinks, the
wine list is an extensive, pleasing priced mix of succulent Italian
varietals. The list of cocktails is impressive as well, featuring their
signature Mele Martini (an apple-based concoction to pair with the top-selling
dish,) and nine other drinks based on classic 1950s recipes.
Pulcinella serves two, somewhat seasonal, menus:
the original, which features plates of fresh, housemade pasta and a list of
specials which includes fish and meat-based dishes. As a starter I opted for
the caprese - slices of fresh, locally-produced mozzarella and tomatoes,
drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar - accompanied by a delicious glass
of the tingly, full-bodied Antinori Orvieto. My main courses (yes, plural - I
love Italian food!) were the top-selling Tortelli di Mele - fresh-made ravioli
filled with browned Granny Smith apples, sausage and parmigiano, topped with
browned butter, sage and an apple cider reduction - and the Potato Gnocchi,
which is tossed with crispy pancetta, crushed radicchio and pine nuts, then
drizzled with olive oil, rosemary and black pepper. (This refined, creamy pasta
with a savory crunch was featured in the Dec. 2010 issue of Bon
Appétit.) Somehow, I also found room for fresh Crème Brûlée - a
velvety textured, perfectly glazed custard topped with a sprig of mint to punch
up the freshly-ground Madagascar vanilla bean sprinkled throughout - as well as
a glass of the earthy, yet refreshing Viticcio Chianti Classico.
being located in the midst of Midtown's towering steel skyscrapers, the little
yellow house known as Pasta da Pulcinella radiates warmth and
scintillating aromas. Stepping inside the renovated 1930s bungalow, you'll find
yourself basking in the creamy glow of smiling faces and smooth-worn woods.
Although non-functioning, the dining room's focal point (and most requested
seat) is the home's original brick fireplace, overlooking the heated outdoor
patio. The rustic ambiance - perfect for date night, a low-key celebration or
just catching up with friends - evokes warm nostalgia through framed
illustrations from a vintage Italian storybook.
within walking distance of six nightclubs, the Woodruff Arts Center and the Fox
Theatre, the restaurant is tucked into the shade of a few forgotten trees at
the corner of 13th Street and Peachtree Walk. For the driven guests,
parking is simple with both a paid lot and metered spaces available nightly. Open for dinner Monday - Thursday, 5:30 p.m.
to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Sunday, 5:30
p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Pasta da Pulcinella also serves lunch Tuesday
- Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.