Haute Dining: Buon Appétito-Villa Pacri Ristorante

Cross the century-old cobblestoned streets of the Meatpacking District en route to this space and you’re already put in the mood.
Enter this villa like structure, walk upstairs and allow yourself to be transformed and welcomed home. Much akin to kicking off your shoes and plunking your suitcase down on the bed of a hotel room abroad, you immediately feel comfortable at Villa Pacri Ristorante; like enjoying all of the splendors and opulence of a dear old friend’s authentic Italian villa.

Renowned hospitality entrepreneurs Remi Laba and Aymeric Clemente (of Bagatelle fame) joined forces to convert this former Merkato 55 space into a spellbinding Italian villa. Designed by award-winning French architect Cyril Durand Behar, each level lends itself to a different purpose and atmosphere albeit very much unified by an all encompassing vibe of Mediterranean comfort and luxury.

The dining room invites you graciously with its cozy earth tone hues, ornate crystal chandeliers with candelabra lighting, lavish draperies, dining nooks, vaulted alcoves, distressed wood floors and plush-cushioned furniture. Oversized vases appointed with fresh flowers, contemporary art and floor to ceiling windows give the space a smattering of light and airiness. The staff here is constantly poised and ready to see to your every request, much anticipating it before you even do. A very nice touch.

And oh, the delicious Italian fare. Executive Chef Todd MacDonald truly wows with his well seasoned culinary flare, featuring a menu that is as much aristocratic as it is rustic. Their Prosciutto di Parma is fresh and delightful, with generous amounts of curled flavorful cold meats mingling with floral edibles like violet artichokes and sylvetta arugula. The Organic Risotto Milanese with Slow Cooked Veal Cheeks and the Spaghetti with Maine Lobster are sublime. Should you desire, a skilled mixologist mixes drinks at the dining room bar with great care to individual requests. Seasonal daily specials are artful and enthusiastically presented.

Just as much worthy, the ground level features a gourmet market and a café. A custom-made chandelier made of 300 wine glasses, a mosaic of colorful tiles, rustic cast iron columns, Italian marble counter tops and 100-year-old wood beams across the ceiling all make for universal appeal. Serving morning through night, it also features retail and take-out space offering a fine selection of imported Italian products including olive oils, pastas, and truffles, as well as homemade items like bread, cured meats, soups and signature pastries.

On the lowest level, the Tzigan is this space’s upscale lounge that features an intimate setting complete with a unique décor done in precious metals. For something unique, VIP clients here are given the opportunity to join an exclusive carafe program, whereby they may rent a shelved box in order to store their favorite luxury spirits around for their next visit. (Cognacs, Scotch and other rare brandies) Tzigane will also be the first club in New York to offer bottles of wine for those who want to keep going with their wine after dinner. The club is slated to open during the middle of August for a soft launch.

A visit to this space is an easy indulgence. After all, sometimes don’t you just want to be swept off of your feet?

55 Gansevoort Street New York, NY