I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me to try Settepani, especially since I know someone who used to work there and still speaks very highly of it. I think the problem is that it’s very close in proximity to a couple other restaurants we absolutely love and when push comes to shove, those other spots have always won out. (Because I’m a creature of habit, I suppose?) But no more! With the weather being so nice and us being fully vaccinated, we’re making a conscious effort to eat at a local restaurant one night per weekend – that’s at the restaurant. We eat local about 90% of the time, but it’s time to support the restaurants in person, not just through takeout. And who doesn’t love an excuse for a good date night?

With roots as a bakery (based in Brooklyn), the Harlem restaurant was more like a café until shortly before the pandemic. They’ve since upped their food game and have a full and lovely Italian menu worthy of a sit down meal. Don’t worry, they’ve still got a stellar pastry case and cold pressed juices (that were so good they were entirely sold out by Saturday night) so you didn’t lose anything, just gain.

There were quite a few specials that sounded mighty tasty, but I ended up ordering straight from the menu. When the menu itself is somewhat seasonal, everything feels like a special. We started with the burrata, which was great. Burrata is almost always served caprese style or with a particularly sweet accompaniment so I was pleased to see it here nestled on a more savory bed of onions and peppers. It will be hard to keep yourself from eating the fresh baked bread (toasted and served with oil and balsamic) the minute they place it on the table, but if you order the burrata, I recommend saving it so you can make yourself a nice little toast.

For entrées, I ordered the squid ink linguine with clams in a white wine and parsley sauce while my beau got the steak frites. Aside from finding that little ketchup pot absolutely adorable, I thought the fries were perfect and kept trying to steal some. Next time I’ll be sure to order a side of them for the table (read: myself) no matter what I order. My pasta – fresh made, might I add – was also very tasty. I ate every morsel.

Should I also mention that this is a family run restaurant? It makes it feel nice and home-y. So, yea, Settepani was better than I expected and I’m a fool for waiting three years to eat there, despite it being a very short walk from my front door. I will not be fooled again.