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3 weeks agoupdated Mar 28, 2024

Alaluna Opens in NYC’s West Village

Restaurant of the Week: Alaluna will act as the final puzzle piece in the Travelers, Poets and Friends jigsaw.

By Kim Ayling

Since opening late last year, the brazenly named Travelers, Poets and Friends has been enticing discerning New Yorkers through the doors of its West Village market-style space to shop premium Italian-inspired produce. This week, however, the concept is being taken to the next level with the launch of Alaluna – an elegant, seafood-forward ‘New Italian’ restaurant.

Brought together by partner and executive chef Riccardo Orfino (under One More Hospitality i.e. the group behind Alice, Osteria57 and Pamina), Alaluna will act as the final puzzle piece in the Travelers, Poets and Friends jigsaw, which aims to offer an all-encompassing taste of Italian hospitality, rooted in sustainability. 

As well as the new restaurant, the space features a specialty store serving pasta, baked goods and Italian delicacies, and a café and wine bar, open from breakfast through dinner. With Alaluna, however, guests can experience these fine wares in a more elegant, refined setting.

[See also: The Best Restaurants in New York City]

alaluna restaurant
Alaluna’s menu is rooted in sustainable fish cookery / ©Alaluna

“Alaluna has given chef Riccardo the perfect canvas to unleash his culinary creativity and push the boundaries of Italian cuisine,” says One More Hospitality founder Emanuele Nigro. 

“As with all of our concepts, our main priority is to feed people food that promotes a sense of well-being – from its effect on the planet to how it tastes to how it feels – and we are confident that what chef Riccardo is bringing to the table will do just that.”

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Chef

Milan-born Riccardo Orfino oversees culinary operations across the entire One More Hospitality group, having joined in 2019 when he was brought in to run the kitchen at Osteria57 in Greenwich Village. 

Back in his home city, Orfino was exposed to some of Italy’s finest culinary institutions and gained vital experience at the likes of Michelin-starred Il Luogo di Aimo de Nadia and the more casual LadyBù.

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[See also: Hakubai Opens at The Prince Kitano New York]

alaluna cured fish
Alaluna is an elegant, seafood-forward ‘New Italian’ restaurant / ©Alaluna

In 2015, he packed up his knowledge of authentic Italian cuisine and made the move to New York City, where he formed part of the opening team for Eataly Downtown, before moving on to take the executive sous chef role at La Pecora Bianca.

After making his mark on Osteria57 and thriving in an environment where sustainability was put first, Orfino eventually stepped up to become a partner at One More Hospitality.

“Developing the menu for Alaluna has been an incredibly exciting and personal process, and feels representative of my professional evolution,” says Orfino. “I am very eager for guests to embark on this culinary journey with me and experience Italian cuisine in a whole new light.”

[See also: The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2024]

Menu

cured fish by travelers poets and friends NYC
Orfino’s dry-aged fish program forms a core part of his menu / ©Alaluna

In line with Travelers, Poets and Friends’s commitment to offering an ingredient-forward fine dining experience, at Alaluna, guests will be able to select their fish tableside before it is prepared – nose-to-tail – with minimal waste. From housemade liver pate to bone broth, virtually every inch is utilized.

Orfino’s dry-aged fish program forms a core part of his menu, which sees fish exposed to air over time, resulting in a tender, richer meat. This is served with homemade rye bread, pickled vegetables and mostarda.

Reminding guests that, yes, we are still in an Italian restaurant, Alaluna’s pasta section is fresh and creative. Expect the likes of smoked yellow tail agnolotti with a rich cream of bottarga reduction, and mushroom tortellini in an earthy mushroom broth.

[See also: The Best Hotels in New York]

alaluna restaurant nyc interiors
Alaluna is everything you’d want in a restaurant interior / ©Alaluna

Desserts come from the neighboring Pamina Gelateria and deliver a touch of fun – make your selection from the rolling trolley as it wheels through the restaurant.

Interiors

Alaluna is everything you’d want in a restaurant interior: think, moody and intimate with a touch of elegant class, with white tablecloths artfully contrasting against black walls and wooden paneling.

Alaluna, Travelers, Poets and Friends, 457 6th Ave, 10011 New York, alalunanyc.com

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