Some true nomads say to fully experience a city you must sleep with a local and dine at one of its restaurants. Both will bring you closer to the spirit of what it’s like to live there, and both leave the taste of its essence lingering on your lips and memories.
Dining in a new city is a sacred experience for me. It’s so much more than satiating a basic biological need or visiting a new place. Sharing a meal with someone is intimate: you grow closer as each of your senses are touched. And so, when my partner and I travel, we try our best to find the perfect space that will nourish our palates, but just as much our other senses. If you go to the right restaurant, you can be transported somewhere else in your mind.
Porsena is a small, local eating hole that sets an ambience for an intimate experience. It has a somewhat foreign feel, like it would be in Florence, Italy. The twilight lighting and music already made us feel like ordering a glass of wine.
This type of thought-provoking setting is what I mean: it’s about more than the food itself. Our waiter was so attentive and knowledgable. My sweetheart, as usual, chose our bottle of wine. Those discerning taste buds always know the right balance. Our chianti had that bitter kiss a strong wine will give you on your cheeks as you slowly let a sip travel down your throat.
The rest of the meal was flawlessly executed. We chose their famous artisanal pasta, the stuffed ravioli and pesto dish. So delicious. Because of the full bodied wine and smaller portions, we ate with intention, savoring each bite and sip of flavor. I never mind the smaller portions for meals like this, but definitely order an appetizer. We had their cheese plate, a fitting complement for the wine.
If you’re curious on how we found this place, I'll let you in on our secret. A friend of ours imparted a foodie gift to us upon our stay. We used a Michelin Guide. However, there is a specific list called “Inspectors’ Favorites for Good Value,” which ranks restaurants on quality and price. This list promises a meal of two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 (tax and gratuity not included). While we definitely went over that, we did have more. But relative to what a meal of such great standard would cost you in New York, Porsena is fairly priced. I’d highly recommend using this list. Click here to view New York City’s.
As we finished our meal, we layered up ready to be greeted once again by the city’s record cold winter. Somehow though, it didn't phased us as much. Perhaps because this was one of my favorite travel dines. We left arms linked and smiling walking through the New York City streets.
Ciao, Porsena. We will surely meet again.