Those who missed lively nights out and dining elbow-to-elbow in city trattorias will feel right at home in Bianca. For a moment we were blissfully teleported back to 2019 as this cozy, modern Italian eatery seems a happy reminder of pre-social-distancing days. It’s an inviting spot at the top of the Avenue with tables in close proximity, friendly staff, a fun playlist adding to the atmosphere and authentic cuisine that focuses on Naples and the Campania region. Every wine on the list is Italian. The service is congenial and efficient, a combination that’s becoming harder to find. Our waiter spent time recommending his favorite dishes and checked in regularly, even as he was busy tending to other tables with every one of the fifty-five seats occupied at an early dinner on a Thursday night.
That Bianca has gained popularity quickly may stem from some of the restaurant’s owners, who are originally from Naples and bring New York culinary cred with them—Raffaele Ronca, executive chef of Rafaele in the West Village and Rye, and Rosario Procino of Ribalta in Manhattan. This team transformed the space (which was a pizza place, and before that, Greenwich Health Mart) into a clean, contemporary dining room including bar seating, open kitchen and simple black and white and wood décor with ring chandeliers shedding light on it all. The narrow restaurant has a long row of tables nestled along a banquette in the front of the space with some booths and a few tables in back, which is the quieter section. The well-edited menu and daily specials will please a range of appetites. It’s a lineup of lighter Italian fare along with some decadent apps, pastas and entrées.
The namesake Bianca appetizer, which showcases the chef’s daily selection of raw fish, is well worth ordering. On the night we were there, the dish was a salad of arugula and radishes in a citrusy dressing topped with melt-in-your-mouth slices of salmon and tuna with a sprinkling of red peppercorns finishing the plate. We enjoyed our salads, including a frisée special, but my favorite is the segato di carciofi—delicious sliced artichoke hearts mixed with arugula and generous shavings of parmesan, all dressed with a lemon-infused olive oil. The tuna tartare appetizer pairs fresh chopped bluefish tuna with radish and fennel over a bed of quinoa, an unexpected and refreshing preparation. We were less enthused by the eggplant croquettes, which were a tad greasy.
Thanks to the open kitchen, you can see the flames from the high-powered gas oven used to prepare some of the best entrées, including a perfectly cooked whole branzino served with sautéed spinach and an herb-laden roasted chicken paired with a salad of spinach, burrata, roasted carrots and fennel.
In lieu of pizza, which has a big following at the owners’ city restaurants, the menu here highlights a selection of flatbreads and fried dough with toppings such as prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella. We chose instead to indulge in the pasta, a must-order. For truffle lovers, the cacio e pepe tartufata is a bowl of heaven, tender orecchiette with pecorino romano and pepper in a sauce laced with truffle carpaccio. Equally heartwarming and incredible, the amatriciana pasta bowl is the ultimate Italian comfort food with a bright tomato sauce, pieces of guanciale with crispy edges all topped with pecorino and ribbons of fresh herbs.
Splurge-worthy desserts include caramel panna cotta and tortino al cioccolato, a chocolate souffle warm from the oven and topped with vanilla ice cream. For a little caffeine to finish the meal, try the affogato, ice cream with an espresso pour-over and crumbled biscotti.
Open late (on Saturdays you can book a table at 10 p.m.), Bianca is designed to house a small bar scene, and there’s a compelling cocktail list to match. And the signature drinks, like the Greenwich Bourbon, with homemade ginger syrup, crème de cassis, lemon and soda, seem like an ideal end to the night. Salute!
30 Greenwich Avenue,
Sun.–Wed., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Thurs.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–12 a.m.