In this fecund land of art galleries and museums, Caravaggio’s striking, artsy interior still manages to arrest.  Though the service is old-school, the design is modern, with the back wall blanketed in Donald Baechler portraits of heads, textured silk wallpaper, a barrel-vaulted ceiling, expert lighting and bold flower arrangements.  The ambiance of the intimate dining room has all the charms of a neighborhood restaurant (everyone knows everyone else), while also making discreet conversation possible.  The Bruno brothers have managed to transplant the same bonhomie and attention to detail that has made their other restaurants, San Pietro in Midtown and Sistina on Second Avenue, so successful.

Dinner begins with a basket of bread sticks and a recitation.  Although we were impressed by the elephantine memory of our waiter when she flawlessly and rapidly recounted close to a dozen specials for that evening, our own recalcitrant brains were not so accommodating and left us fumbling for what our options were; the specials should really be limited to a manageable number or else written down.  Caravaggio serves outstanding sea scallops with cauliflower puree and black truffle sauce, as well as an amatriciana with a light tomato sauce, onions, bacon and pecorino romano cheese, a special, but one that seems to be frequently on the menu. It also has a marvelous wine list, one of the best of any in the city for Italian wine, and a very extensive wines by the glass program.  At our most recent dinner at Caravaggio, our waiter graciously brought out a free tiramisu and dark chocolate soufflé, merely because the restaurant had a new pastry chef and wanted to know our thoughts.  That kind of gracious service makes it easy to understand why the restaurant engenders such fiercely loyal patrons. 


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Upper East Side
23 E. 74th St.
New York (nr. Madison Ave.)
(212) 288-1004
Mon-Sun, noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm
    Cosimo & Giuseppe Bruno, Owners
    Luis Rosas, Chef