Calabria Mia: Italian Dining With No Pretense

There are no deconstructed dishes or ethically traded coffees on the menu and no repurposed wood in the dining room at the year-old Calabria Mia, but sometimes a no-pretense, feed-your-gut dining experience is what’s in order.  

The 140-seat, traditional-Italian restaurant serves a lot of what’d you expect: bread from the Bronx’s Il Forno, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil; arancini, meatballs, chicken or veal scallopine, homemade tiramisu and ricotta cheesecake. Many of the dishes, however, are influenced by how it’s done in Locri, Calabria, hometown of Chef/co-owner Michele Martelli.

A signature arancino (stuffed rice ball) surrounded by stuffed zucchini and peppers.

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Thus, the meatballs incorporate pine nuts and fennel seeds; there’s a special roast-pork night in February; and you won’t have to search far into the menu before spotting chicory, caciocavallo (a stretched-curd cow’s-milk cheese), orata (a white-fleshed Mediterranean fish), eggplant, artichokes, spicy red Calabrian peppers, and other common “tip-of-the-boot” ingredients.

A not-to-miss dish is the robust pollo casareccio (spicy Calabrian chicken) in a white-wine–rosemary-garlic sauce with sausage, onions, mushrooms, Calabrian peppers and topped with tender, sliced potatoes.

Except for a few specials, entrées are about $20 or less.     

Martelli, last at Il Sorriso in Irvington for 16 years, formerly had a restaurant in Locri for eight years.

2150 Central Ave
(914) 222-9555

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