Nestled beside the infamous Gershwin Theater between Broadway and 8th lies an Italian Gem the locals are raving about. I simply had to stop in for a bite. Greeted by welcoming smiles and flickering candlelight, the ambiance inside Azaela instantly melts the chill right out of my icy journey to get there. This quaint little restaurant sets a mellow, romantic tone, by mixing both traditional and modern elements among its intimate interior. Crisp white linens cover square tables topped with fresh roses, reminiscent of old-world Italy. Contemporary fixtures hang from twenty foot ceilings, flanked by walls cascading with bottles of fine wines. Warm woods provide an earthy backdrop to the dining area.
First stop, a celebratory sip of champagne at the half moon bar. After all, it is my first trip to NY. A brief moment passes and I am whisked away to my charming table for three, near a window of sky high glass and a view of the city streets. Immediately staff attends to our water glasses and the noticeably Italian waiter, with his heavy & authentic accent, kindly introduces the specials.
As I peruse the menu I am pleasantly surprised. The prices are quite reasonable, with made from scratch dishes ranging from $15 to $30 per entree. Jackpot! We start the dinner with a variety of fresh baked breads, dipping it into plates of cracked pepper and olive oil. The bread is absolutely decadent. As we await our appetizer of homemade cannelloni filled with a variety of cheeses and topped with a Bolognese sauce, I can’t help but notice how fast and attentive the waiters are.
I am intrigued by the Ravioli di Vitello and make my selection, paired with a smart glass of Chianti. First bite arrives. Pillows of pasta drenched in a white truffle cream sauce envelope tender, delicately seasoned veal that simply delights the pallet. This is a meal of pure comfort, homemade and delicious. I sip my wine, warm from the bitter cold outside, and am happy to have acquainted myself with this charming eatery. Mouthwatering salads and deserts await my return. I also discover that Azaela offers a pre-theatre menu, where for a fraction of the cost, you can choose several meal options to enjoy before taking in a show. For all you foodies and theatre patrons, Azaela is a match made in heaven.
224 West 51st @ 1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
*photo taken by author