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Rampoldi New York

Christine Drinan, Founder

I’ve lived on the Upper West Side for 24 years, and I have been in denial that I am an Upper West Sider. I mean there was a time that I never ate above 14th Street.  But alas, as I’ve somewhat matured,  I’ve come to realize my circuit includes Polo Bar, The Grill, Bilboquet, and Avra. So, when I randomly stumbled upon Rampoldi, the only Monégasque restaurant in NYC (as in from Monaco), and that it was in my neighborhood, a visit was in order. This is the review of Rampoldi New York.

A Monégasque Restaurant in NYC

The first time I went to Monaco, every woman at Jimmy’z, the famous nightclub, had better hair and longer legs than me. If you’ve ever met me, these are my two strongest features, so essentially women in Monaco are freakishly gorgeous. And the restaurants and clubs in Monte Carlo are accordingly glamorous. Rampoldi has been around since 1946, in its prime location next to the Hôtel de Paris and the famed casino. Unbeknownst to me until almost 9 months later, Rampoldi opened down the street from my house on the Upper West Side in the old bar area side of the Atlantic Grill. In case you didn’t know, post-pandemic, the Atlantic Grill split its space in half. The 65th Street side has the original Atlantic Grill and now the 64th Street side houses Rampoldi. Rampoldi New York is actually affiliated with Atlantic Grill as well as Casa Limone near Rockefeller Center.

A Quick Note to Set the Table

I pride myself on knowing a thing or two about restaurants and restaurant openings. Rampoldi New York is four blocks from my house, and yet I had no idea it was there. I read recently that the Prince of Monaco, aka Albert II, even attended the opening. If Rampoldi New York is going to stick around, there needs to be a PR blitz. I was randomly googling Italian restaurants on the Upper West Side and it came up. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have even noticed the restaurant as it’s pretty discreet from the outside. There’s also no outdoor seating which I personally would have invested in to bring in the foot traffic from the busy Lincoln Center. The point is that I don’t think a lot of people know about Rampoldi New York yet and that’s reflected in the volume of people at the restaurant. Although I wasn’t blown away by the food and there are still some things to tweak, they’re doing something unique from other restaurants on the Upper West Side. I respect that and hope that they stick around for a while.

Atmosphere

The decor is a trip when you walk in, as it looks vintage 1980s and 1990s Monaco. This is by design, as apparently, it’s an exact replica of the original Rampoldi in Monaco. The lighting is a reddish hue, and everything from the fabric on the booths and marble finishes on the walls and throughout gives off retro vibes. It must have cost a fortune to do the construction but the result is that Rampaldi New York could easily pass off as a period-era movie set. It’s not necessarily my cup of tea, but I appreciate the history behind the decor. It’s also refreshing to have something this unique that isn’t playing it Roman and Williams safe.

The People Scene

As far as the other diners go, I’m not sure at this point if I could fully weigh in. I know it’s summer in New York so a lot of restaurants are quiet. But the fact that I didn’t even know about Rampoldi speaks volumes. The crowd that was there was pretty Upper West Side – older couples and regular folk. There wasn’t any scene or people watching. However, I would drop by again in September to see what a Friday evening brings. This isn’t the kind of place right now that I would treat a big group of glamorous girlfriends. I would still come here though for date night or with my family.

Food + Beverage

What they are serving on the menu at Rampoldi New York and what the potential is of the restaurant, is elevated above its sister restaurant Atlantic Grill. The pricing reflects this accordingly where there’s caviar on the menu as well as a $220 Tomahawk steak for two. However, there are also more approachable menu items, like a solid pizza, and a full menu of elevated pastas. One of the standouts was the crab ravioli, which was an elegant homemade ravioli lightly stuffed with crab. The unique part though was the sauce, which was made with a plethora of clams and topped with a cured trout roe. This dish was light yet had so many elements of flavor. I also didn’t feel overly stuffed which is the general theme of the food at Rampoldi New York.

I also had the salmon tartare which was pleasant, and artfully presented, but somewhat unforgettable. The beef tartare is one of their specialties that is made table side. As a pescatarian, I didn’t partake, but it is a signature dish. I will come back next time to try the lobster spaghetti. The salmon could be a basic staple too for when I decide to eat in the neighborhood. They’re not getting a Michelin star at Rampoldi New York but they are serving Italian that is a tier above the neighboring restaurants. Also, food-wise I think that Rampoldi is a step or two above an Il Mulino or even Sistina.

Leaning Into Their Strengths

They have a completely separate kitchen for their pastry, which includes pizza as well as desserts. You can look into the pastry kitchen from the dining room. This is proper because bread and cake need a different humidity than the main kitchen where they’re firing it up. I normally don’t eat off the break basket but I ate the beautifully crafted breadsticks, Sardinian flatbread, focaccia, and Italian.

I bring up the pastry kitchen as they could do something really special and catchy to bring in more crowds. The bar, for example, could host a pizza omakase, à la the Pizza Bar on 38th at the Mandarin in Tokyo. I would run special nights with dessert tastings or something to make the restaurant a destination for the Lincoln Center. The tiramisu and soufflé are their dessert specialties that should be on more Instagram influencer reels. I’m not saying it’s right, but every restaurant needs business. There’s a lot of potential at Rampoldi New York and that pastry kitchen could be the key.

Beverage

The cocktails were well-executed. I had the Rampoldi, which was made with a sour mash, passion fruit, St-Germain, maraschino cherries, and egg white. I asked them to make it less sweet, which they obliged and executed well. Of note were the wines by the glass were approachable in price as well as top-notch in quality. I’m not a Chianti person but there was a glass for $16, which is kind of unheard of nowadays. There was a pinot noir for $18 and a Sicilian for $21. This indicates to me that they know their audience on the UWS. What excited me more though was the Brunello and Bordeaux on the menu, which for $34 and $36, were very well-priced. Wines by the bottle were also fairly priced but comprehensive. There were 15 white Burgundy selections, for example, and strong French in general as well as Italian and Californian wines.

Service

The team at Rampoldi feels more like a family-run operation than a corporate gig. For example, the bartender stepped away for a moment and a customer came in. The GM hopped behind the bar and valiantly tried to make a drink, though this clearly wasn’t his wheelhouse. The bartender quickly rushed back to do the honors, but that pretty much sums up the operation. The bartender made a great drink, but his English wasn’t perfect. So, the waitstaff jumped in from time-to-time, to make sure I had what I needed. I sat at the bar so the GM looked after me, even bringing my check when I asked. Everyone pitches in which added a nice Upper West Side feel to a restaurant that otherwise could be formal.

Overall: 7.2/10

I would go back again because I live in the neighborhood. This is a restaurant that’s a good option in general for the Lincoln Center.

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FAQs

Q: Where is Rampoldi New York located?

A: Rampoldi New York is located at 49 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023 near Lincoln Center. For those who know the neighborhood, it’s in the original Atlantic Grill bar area space at the 64th Street entrance.

Q: What are the hours of operation of Rampoldi New York?

A: The hours of operation of Rampoldi New York are as follows:

Sunday 12–10 PM
Monday 5–10 PM
Tuesday 5–10 PM
Wednesday 5–10 PM
Thursday 5–10 PM
Friday 5–10 PM
Saturday 12–10 PM

Q: What type of food does Rampoldi New York serve?

A: Rampoldi New York may be the only Monégasque restaurant in NYC. Monaco is a Principality in Europe and is an independent country. Its food is a combination of Southern French and Northern Italian.

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