A Taste of Bologna in Upper East Side – New York
Quality ingredients and dedicated research combined with Italian talent, mentality and heart dot the menu of new "destination restaurant" in Upper East Side, New York. Opened in November 2014 and located at 973 Lexington Avenue, btw 71st and 70th streets, Caffe Dei Fiori Ristorante is the newest gastronomic addition to the Italian culinary scene in the Upper East Side. We have conducted an interview with the owner Daliso Gulmini.
Why did you name your restaurant "Caffe' dei Fiori"?
As a reminiscence of my youth, I decided to name my restaurant ‘Caffe’ dei Fiori’ in memory of a legendary coffee shop in the historic center of Bologna where, as a young man, I used to have breakfast every morning. They served breakfast, espressos and cappuccinos with joyful professionalism and cordiality. The kind of ‘Good Morning’ that makes you feel good for the rest of the day.
Who influences you the most for this passion for finest Italian cuisine and wine?
My great passion for the finest Italian cuisine and excellent wine comes as a family tradition from two important people: my mother Iride, fantastic lady and extraordinary cook, and uncle Abramo, who with his wife Alice ran a renowned restaurant in the Genoese hills: traditional cuisine made fresh local ingredients.
Mine is a simple story based on few basic principles: genuineness, cleanliness, warmness to the guests, constant pursuit of finest ingredients and a touch of style.
What are your principles about Italian Cuisine?
Italian cuisine is the most varied and assorted in the world. Italy is formed by 20 regions, each of which has its own history, its tradition, its typical products and its representative dishes. Our country is the nation with more certifications (DOP, DOCG, DOC, IGT) in the world: about wines, chesses, meat, fish, bread, pasta and so on. The secret is to recognize the infinite diversities and draw from all.
Freshness, kindness and ability to put guests at ease are our trade marks. Our intention is to create an atmosphere where customers feel like they are family. That is why we will get them anything they want. If it’s not in our menu, but the ingredients are in the house, our chef will prepare it.
How important do you rate a creative menu? What does it include?
Some chefs say there is nothing artistic in cooking… On the contrary I believe that nothing is more creative than cooking, just think to the infinite ways to make a dish: everything is creation.
A creative menu, which includes fresh homemade pasta and emphasis on high-quality organic meats, fish, and cheeses, handpicked fresh ingredients, and a well-stocked wine cellar offers a rich dining experience to New Yorkers. Our menu is seasonal, changing while keeping its freshness and authenticity.
Our creative menu includes: ‘Uova, Patate e Tartufo Nero’ (free range farmer’s poached eggs, potatoes and black truffle veloute’, parmigiano foam), ‘Polpo e Stracciatella’ (octopus, eggplants, stracciatella cheese, cherry tomatoes confit), and ‘Tagliatelle al Ragu Bolognese’ (home-made tagliatelle with a delicious beef ragout), ‘Tortelli all’Ossobuco’ (tortelli filled with ossobuco meat), and ‘Milanese di Vitello, Insalata di Rucola e Pomodorini’ (veal Milanese boneless, arugula and cherry tomatoes salad), ‘Salmone e Cavolfiore con Caviale di Salmone e Melagrana’ (salmon, cauliflower in two ways: salmon caviar and pommegranate). As you can see, diversification is the key of our success.
Our well-curated wine list artfully compliments the menu. Our wine cellar includes regional specialties such as: whites ‘Roero Arneis 2015, Giacosa’ and ‘La Scolca “Etichetta Nera” 2013, Gavi’; and reds ‘Gironia Rosso Riserva 2008, Biferno’ and ‘Ornellaia Superiore 2011, Bolgheri’. We also boast a selection of Super Tuscan wines and a variety of Champagne and Prosecco.
How do you describe the ambience and design of your restaurant?
Our setting is the outcome of fine craftsmanship thought, planned and realized in the Italian design and mostly with Italian manufacturers.
Our charming environment is devoted to an authentic Italian neighborhood dining experience. With the support of architect Francesca Daniela Sinisi, I brought to life a corner of the early 1900s, authentically restoring the space using exclusively Italian materials. Our elegant design achieves an intimate atmosphere, featuring handmade glass mirrors, a handmade glass and brick bar, an iron wrought staircase leading to a balcony, and a terraced alfresco area. The artworks are provided by the estimated artist, Matthew Lauretti.
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