Founded in 1906 by Sebastiano Maioglio, Barbetta is now owned by his daughter, Laura Maioglio. Barbetta, nearing 100 years old, is the oldest restaurant in New York that is still owned by the family that founded it. Barbetta is also the oldest Italian restaurant in New York, and the oldest restaurant in New York's Theatre District.
This three-fold distinction makes this historic restaurant a landmark among New York restaurants. Its landmark status has been recognized by the prestigious and highly selective Locali Storici d'Italia, which has designated Barbetta a Locale Storico (Historic Establishment), the first restaurant in America to have been so named.
Creativity at Barbetta is the first priority. But Ms. Maioglio insists that creativity and innovation be within the Italian idiom. That, she believes, is the true challenge facing Italian cuisine today.
Specializing in the cuisine of Piemont, Laura Maioglio demands that every dish (new or old) must meet certain requirements: the flavor of the dish must be Italian, the dish must be true to the way food is prepared in Italy, if the dish is a known classic or traditional Italian dish, it must be the very best example of its kind, and if the dish is a totally new creation, its roots (to the cuisine or dish of a given Italian region) must be identifiable in its taste. And without a doubt, the restaurant lives up to these exacting demands.
Insider tip: Not to be missed is The Barbetta garden, one of New York's most romantic restaurant gardens, and a sought-after sites for summer dining. Exuberantly verdant with century-old trees and flowering with the scented blooms of magnolia, wisteria, oleander, jasmine and gardenia, it is more the setting of a grand country estate than a city garden.
Barbetta is located in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Known as "Clinton" by the municipal government and devotees of former mayor DeWitt Clinton and as "Hell's Kitchen" by Daredevil and everyone else, this area of Midtown West is currently experiencing rapid (re)development. Spanning roughly from West 34th to 59th Streets and from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River, it still has a rough-and-tumble character when compared with other more defined neighborhoods in Manhattan. Once a bastion of poor and working-class Irish Americans, over the last decade the neighborhood has undergone tremendous gentrification as a result of its proximity to Midtown's many office buildings. Long-time residents, many of whom enjoyed reasonable rents and decent-sized apartments, are finding that conversion of rent-controlled and -stabilized apartments, coupled with the general building boom and strong economy, brought quick change to this formerly sleepy area. Given the strange, even Byzantine zoning regulations in New York, it’s not unusual to see a tiny brownstone, a remnant of another era, adjacent to or near a brand-new high-rise rental or condominium building. While the wholesome new Theater District has resulted in lower crime rates and decreased the area’s quality-of-life problems such as prostitution, urban transformation for some means a loss of the gritty qualities of this neighborhood for others. While you'll find thousands of new apartments in Hell's Kitchen west of Ninth Avenue, you'll also find dozens of eclectic and interesting restaurants to boot. Some of our favorites include the terrific Daisy May's BBQ on Eleventh Avenue; the German cuisine of Hallo Berlin and nearby Queen of Sheba featuring great Ethiopian cuisine on Tenth Avenue; French patisserie La Bergamote on West 42nd Street; Bali Nusa Indah on Ninth Avenue has intriguing Indonesian dishes; the Film Center Café for high-powered American diner-style dishes; and the many Thai places dotting Ninth Avenue too numerous to mention. Hotels in Hell's Kitchen include a number of budget places the further west you go such as The 414 Hotel and the Skyline. While there are dozens of hotels on Eighth Avenue and throughout the Theater District on Eighth Avenue and Broadway, Hell's Kitchen enjoys a somewhat more relaxed pace than the frenetic hubbub you'll find just two avenues further east. Check out the neighborhood's weekly Chelsea-Clinton News, a great local publication that’s been around longer than the former U.S. President’s daughter!
There are no events taking place on this date.