Obicà Flatiron

A refined trattoria with the heart of a mozzarella bar

By Maria Yagoda

Named after Neopolitan dialetto for "here it is!" Obicà has earned the exclamation point by distinguishing itself as the place to go for real-deal mozzarella di bufala Campana DOP in the city. As was the case with the original Rome location, Obicà’s opening in Midtown back in 2008 was nothing short of a revelation—the first mozzarella “bar” in New York City. This outpost in the Flatiron spread the wealth into an even larger space that still promises an embarrassment of creamy riches for all involved.

Despite the implications of the word “bar”—and make no mistake, the mozzarella bar is for real—Obicà is more than that. It’s a full-fledged Italian restaurant: casual, contemporary and hyper-focused on freshness and simplicity. Flown in twice a week, their mozzarella di bufala—Campana’s milky treasure—is served rotund and glistening on plates accessorized with bottarga, marinated anchovies, heirloom tomatoes, bruschetta, and olives so exquisite they’ve earned the privilege of being on the same plate as the star of the Obicà show.

Confronted with a dizzying array of mozz configurations and preparations—on bread, on salad, with meat, da sola—diners should be mindful not to miss out on Obicà’s other offerings. Subtler showcases of cheese also deserve your attention, and appetite. The Neapolitan pizza crust is puffy and charred where it needs to be. Meanwhile, a selection of brilliantly executed house-made pastas impresses in its own right, as do entrées like wild caught sea bass and brasato in nebbiolo sauce.
To taste the burrata in its most miraculous performance, the burrata salad is a must—sitting atop green beans, watercress, spinach, pine nuts, and beets, the resistant yet plush mound of cheese is so tender when sliced it’s almost indecent. Those diners somehow not as deeply taken by cheese can still find ecstasy in the raison-studded Sicilian eggplant caponata, or the Brussels tossed with speck and pine nuts.

Living up to your vision of an impeccable Italian host, Fabrizio, the restaurant’s Sardinian sommelier, will gesticulate at you and flutter about the restaurant, making sure everyone is well fed and content. If you tell him you've never been before, he’ll quickly get over the shock and go on to provide you with an experience to remember. On the other hand, if you’d rather keep your novice status a secret, just glance at your neighbor’s table for cues as she takes her knife to her tartufo pizza—the mix of burrata, ricotta, and truffle slipping from the side—and bites into gooey bliss.

hours

Dinner: Sun–Thu noon–10 PM; Fri–Sat noon–11 PM
Brunch: Sat–Sun noon–4 PM

price range

$17 (Bufala DOP pizza) to $36 (lamb chops)
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