Burrata (Photo: Adeline Ramos)


Quinia-Crusted Tuna Steak (Photo: Adeline Ramos)

A chill Italian spot that rocks every meal from breakfast to dinner

By Erik Mathes

When three Sardinian friends opened the doors to Epistrophy back in 2005, they had multiple goals in mind, all tethered to one primary concept: Bring the flavors and feelings of their picturesque homeland to the ever-hungry, ever-busy populous of New York City. Whether you were just stopping in solo for a coffee and pastry for breakfast, doing a healthy lunch with coworkers, or looking for a place to grab drinks with friends or bring a date after work, they strived to make their small slice of Sardinia feel welcoming at any time of day.

To accomplish this meant more than just nailing dinner. Much of their nostalgia for Sardinia called to mind relaxing while sipping a cappuccino at a local café, without any inclination to rush off to the next endeavor of the day. To make their culinary offerings on point, they built a menu based on organic, local ingredients that tied their Italian-inspired dishes to the top purveyors in the city.

Stop in early in the day and you’ll find all the essential coffee drinks and juices paired with enticing options like lemon-ricotta pancakes, butternut squash toast, and dishes like poached eggs with creamy polenta and mushrooms, or sunny-side up eggs atop zucchini fritters with avocado and honey yogurt sauce. Find a table or just cozy up on a couch or at the large communal table to make new acquaintances.

For lunch, there are soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastas to get you through the grind—maybe orecchiette with pancetta and radicchio in a light cream sauce, or quinoa salad with caramelized onions, chickpeas, avocado, braised kale, watermelon radish, and beet-tahini dressing.
Then there’s dinnertime, when the workday is done—hopefully. Either way start with a perfectly balanced cocktail off their seasonal menu. For something that heralds the end of the day with a little caffeinated kick, there’s The Old Café, with whiskey, espresso, amaretto, and housemade caramel. Or try the Plum Brûlé, a twist on the traditional Italian mulled wine that leans on gin, plum vin brûlé, red vermouth and fruit reduction, and a kaffir lime leaf. Then rev up your taste buds with the polpettine di vitello—mini grass-fed beef and veal meatballs in wine white sauce with lemon zest—and crocchette di zucchine with ricotta, mint, and basil.

Pasta lovers will have a tough time deciding between the pappardelle al sugo di carne, with wide ribbons of noodles coated in a ragu of tender beef and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and the spaghetti Neri—the dish that made Epistrophy’s sister restaurant in Brooklyn, Le Fanfare, at least locally famous—featuring house-made squid ink spaghetti with mussels and botarga. For those looking for something different, the quinoa-crusted tuna steak with fresh herbs, shallots, and truffled pea sauce is no ordinary fish dish.

So, if you’re looking for a change of pace to recalibrate from the neverending hustle of NYC, step inside this Nolita gem and into a Sardinian state of mind until you’re relaxed, recharged, and ready to face the grind all over again.


9 AM–midnight daily

price range

$19 (cotoletta alla Milanese) to $24 (tonno on truffled pea sauce)