By William Sertl

Of course you must try a tiella, perhaps the stracciatella, with cheese and truffles, a moist and chewy minipizza baked in a wood-burning oven at this eight-month-old gem of a neighborhood restaurant. A staple of the two owners’ Neapolitan heritage, tiella is the first clue that this place is about the authentic cooking of Naples, not red-sauce-heavy creations that are mostly American interpretations. Pastas here tend to the unusual, like nastrelle, a ribbon pasta wider than fettuccine, thinner than pappardelle, with pheasant ragù and pomegranate, and you won’t find starters such as cinghiale (wild boar) sausage, with black beans and thyme, on every menu in town. The same goes for the main courses, one of which, a gorgeous, head-on branzino, deboned and split in two, is baked en croûte in the same oven as your tiella, the aroma and flavor sealed in until it’s right on your plate. The narrow little restaurant has a real European feel; it’s fancy enough to have tablecloths and fine china but still has a casual, welcoming air and a personal touch, especially from co-owner Mario Coppola, who is always impeccably attired but never seems to expect you to be anything but comfortable. Because of its location—on the fringe of Midtown in the culinary wasteland along First Avenue in the low 60s—Tiella is as good for a business lunch as it is for a pop-in after a shopping spree at Bloomingdale’s.

sweet seats

The two-seater in the window allows you the best of both worlds—inside and out.

chew on this

Like those of many fine New York establishments, Tiella’s kitchen is small, and their 800˚F wood-burning brick oven is necessarily also small—the smallest model allowed in a kitchen by New York City code.


lunch: Mon.–Sat. 12 noon–3 PM
dinner: Mon.–Sat. 5 PM–11 PM; Sun. 5 PM–10 PM

price range

$18 (pastas) to $28 (branzino)