Cucina Alba Embodies the Coastal Italian Holiday We All Dream About

Credit: Peter Murdock

If you’ve been daydreaming about a coastal holiday in Italy but don’t have plans to leave Manhattan in the near future, then Cucina Alba is the next reservation you should book for brunch or dinner.

Credit: Peter Murdock

The Chelsea restaurant, which opened in August 2022, feels chic, fresh, bright and elevated. 

On West 18th Street, not far from the West Side Highway and The High Line, the restaurant emits warmth even when the weather is cooler. Dining here, one can easily envision perching on a terrace overlooking the sea with a spritz on the way while the sun beats down. 

Credit: Peter Murdock

The atmosphere is bright, and the decor is unique and colorful, yet still mature. The ceiling feels like sunshine with swooping panels in pastel yellow and cream over a wood and marble bar accompanied by richly colored seating ready for imbibers and diners to settle in. Fronds in sculptural vases line the sills with a playful mural by Alexa Proba adorning the eatery’s wall. Chain curtains are situated throughout the space. All this to say, the character of the restaurant is just as enticing as its menu.

Credit: Liz Clayman

“The overall experience at Cucina Alba exudes a total sense of wonderment and embodies all aspects of a dreamy Italian holiday,” said Cobi Levy, founder of Prince Street Hospitality. 

Credit: Steven Rojas

Our experience at the restaurant confirmed Cucina Alba’s vision—Levy’s assessment is accurate.

“Transportative by nature, the space allows diners to wander off to the sunny shores of Positano while remaining immersed in New York City’s infectious energy,” Levy continued, pointing to “the playful decor, pastel colors inspired by the grandeur of the Mediterranean, and hand-painted tableware.”

Credit: Steven Rojas

Those features are meant to go hand-in-hand with Executive Chef Adam Leonti’s “Vacation Italian” fare menu. Leonti, who is also the author of “Flour Lab,” has worked to refine Cucina Alba’s menu since its opening in an effort to evolve how New York City foodies interact with the restaurant’s Italian cuisine. 

Credit: Steven Rojas

With menu offerings including Agnolotti, made with truffle fonduta, Lasagna Verdi, featuring eggplant, zucchini, and besciamella, Branzino al Forno with herb butter, and Steak Fiorentina, there are plenty of options for all palates. 

Credit: Steven Rojas

And the options don’t stop at cuisine. The restaurant offers a list of more than 1,000 wines ranging from coastal options to rare vintages and wines from newer producers, too. The wines are offered alongside an innovative cocktail list with a selection of martinis, spritzes, and bottled negronis, too.

If we aren’t sunning ourselves on Italy’s beaches this summer, you’ll be sure to find us enjoying bites and sips at Cucina Alba—the next best thing.

Top Takeaways

Location: New York, New York

Cuisine: Italian

Price Point: $$

Takes Reservations: Yes (Resy)

The vibe: Trendy, elevated – appropriate for the fashion set, et al. Cucina Alba is coastal cool defined. 

Our favorite thing on the menu: Burrata – the menu has changed significantly since our visit. However, the burrata is not to be missed. We enjoyed it as an appetizer and it is now part of a larger dish, served alongside a bowl of orecchiette arrabbiata that’s meant to be shared.

The attire based on the vibe: Casual chic.

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Sunday 5 to 9 p.m., Monday to Wednesday 5 to 10 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 5 to 11 p.m.

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