Executive Chef: Nick Anderer
Chef de Cuisine: Jason Pfeifer
Cuisine: Italian / Roman-inspired Trattoria
Vibe: Casual / Upbeat / Neighborhood feel
Location: 2 Lexington Avenue (at East 21st Street)
Website: Maialino

I’m always thrilled to dine at Maialino. Over the past couple of years, it has become one of my absolute favorite restaurants of all time. We hosted an incredible wedding dinner here last year, and I’m really excited to be back with my parents for my mom’s birthday. My parents really love this place!  We devoured four pastas (including my favorites: Cacio e Pepe, Malfatti, Vongole, and now, the Amatriciana), two appetizers, dry-aged sirloin, the infamous Maialino Al Forno, veggies, and yummy desserts by Pastry Chef Jessica Weiss. Everything was phenomenal, as always! Many thanks to the amazing Chef de Cuisine Jason Pfeifer and the wonderful Maialino team for taking such good care of us!


Fegato (Duck Liver Mousse & Aged Balsamic)


Prosciutto di Parma and Mozzarella di Bufala


Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino & Black Pepper)


Spaghetti alle Vongole (Clams, White Wine & Garlic)


Bucatina all’Amatriciana (Spicy Tomato & Guanciale)


Malfatti (Braised Sucking Pig & Arugula)


Bistecca (Dry-Aged Sirloin, Romaine, Potato & Bone Marrow)


Maialino al Forno (Roasted Sucking Pig & Rosemary Potatoes)


Carote (Roasted Carrots & Pistachios)


Topinambur (Roasted Sunchoke, Maple & Anchovy)




Assorted Italian Cookies


Gelati: Chocolate & Fior Di Latte;  Sorbetto: Honeycrisp Apple


Marta [lunch]

It has only been about 24 hours since I last ate at Marta, and I’m already back for more! This time I’m with a bunch of fellow food lovers, including my bestie SaraDish, Instagram foodie friend RestaurantGroupie, and the awesome Tabelog US crew: Sachiko (CutiePatroller), Kenta (LordoftheForks), and the Tabelog CEO, who is visiting from Japan. Now this is going to be a good lunch! So excited to try a few new dishes, including the green risotto balls (totally loved these and want ten more all for myself), the seafood fritto misto (so crispy and fresh), and the Capricciosa & Carbonara pizzas. I also got to enjoy some favorites from Monday night’s meal: the rabbit meatballs, cured octopus, Funghi pizza, and concord grape sorbetto. Hands down, the Carbonara is the pizza that I crave the most out of the six I sampled so far. There’s something about the combination of potatoes, guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek or jowl), pecorino, black pepper, and a luscious runny egg that I just cannot resist. Thank you so much to the Tabelog team for this marvelous lunch!

Marta: 29 East 29th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue South) 

SUPPLI ALLA TERRAZZA (Green Risotto, Mozzarella)

FRITTO MISTO DI MARE (Skate, Shrimp, Seppia, Bianchetti, Caper Mayo)

POLPETTINI DI CONIGLIO (Rabbit Meatballs, Black Olives, Ricotta)

POLPO (Cured Octopus, Sunchokes, Oranges, Castelfranco)

PATATE ALLA CARBONARA (Potatoes, Guanciale, Black Pepper, Pecorino, Egg)


CAPRICCIOSA (Mozzarella, Artichokes, Prosciutto, Olives, Egg) 

FUNGHI (Fontina, Hen of the Woods, Chanterelles, Red Onion, Thyme)




Marta [lunch]

Maialino (Private Dining)

I have been a huge fan of Maialino for several years now, so it was truly an honor to host a very special celebration in their private dining room. From the incredible food & wine to the fantastic service, everything was magnificent! We chose a family-style four course menu, which included scrumptious antipasti (prosciutto di parma, buffalo mozzarella, assorted salumi), two of my favorite pastas (tonnarelli cacio e pepe & ravioli di ricotta), incredible entrees (olive oil poached sea bass & roasted sirloin) with an assortment of sides (sauteed spinach, mascarpone polenta, roasted potatoes), and delectable desserts (olive oil cake & chocolate croissant bread pudding). We loved everything. For me, the standout dish was the sea bass — it was my first time trying it and it was out of this world! To complement each course, we had a beautiful selection of Italian wines: prosecco, a rich white wine, and both light and full-bodied reds. My family and I had the best time feasting on great food and drinking up a storm. As an added bonus, I was escorted into the kitchen where I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Chef de Cuisine Jason Pfeifer and Executive Sous Chef Jon Lavelle. What an amazing night. Many thanks to the Maialino team for a fabulous celebration!

Maialino: 2 Lexington Ave (at East 21st Street)


Prosciutto di Parma


Buffalo Mozzarella


Assorted Salumi


Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino & Black Pepper)


Ravioli di Ricotta (Spinach, Lemon & Sage)


Bistecca (Roasted Sirloin & Sel Gris)


Spigola (Olive Oil Poached Sea Bass Filets)


Spinaci (Sautéed Spinach & Lemon)


Mascarpone & Olive Oil Polenta


Patate al Forno (Roasted Potatoes & Rosemary)


Torta di Olio d’ Oliva (Olive Oil Cake & Vanilla Bean Mascarpone)


Budino di Cioccolato (Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding & Hazelnut Gelato)

Maialino (Private Dining)


Back at Maialino after three long months… I’ve really missed their pastas and pork. We started off with a bottle of Pronto Lambrusco (my new fave) and I went for the Testarella (crispy pig face salad) as my appetizer. When the dish arrived at our table, I was a little surprised at the presentation — a mild reaction compared to my dinner guests who were quite shocked. It was an actual pig’s face on the plate. Unfazed, I dug right in, “ooh”ing and “ah”ing in between bites of crispy skin, succulent cheek meat, and luscious fat. It was pretty amazing. The last time I dined here in July, I had the Trenette with summer squash pesto, which I was crazy about. The fall version is Cavatelli with winter greens pesto — a hearty, comforting pasta that was equally as delicious. An affogato for dessert was the perfect end to yet another fabulous meal at Maialino!

Maialino: 2 Lexington Ave (at East 21st Street)


Pronto Lambrusco


Testarella (Crispy Pig Face & Market Greens)


Cavatelli with Winter Greens Pesto and Pine Nuts





After downing some tasty cocktails at the JBF Greens mixology event, I was hungry and ready to chow down on some good eats. For my appetizer, I tried a new pasta – Trenette with summer squash pesto and ricotta salata – and totally fell in love with it! The perfect summertime pasta. I’ve got a pretty big appetite, so I went with another pasta (one of the specials) as my entree, Cavatelli with black truffles and brown butter. It tasted every bit as good as it sounds. And as an added bonus, we ordered the Maialino al Forno (roast suckling pig) for the table to share. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about this dish (basically, I’m obsessed). It was heaven on a plate. Our server, Sinead, was super friendly, incredibly knowledgeable, and just overall wonderful in every way. She made fantastic wine recommendations for us, including a sparkling red wine (Paolo Palumbo) and a lambrusco (Pronto). The consistently delicious food and exceptional service are why  Maialino has become one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan.

Maialino: 2 Lexington Ave (at East 21st Street)


Paolo Palumbo Doc Lettere Sparkling Red Wine


Paolo Palumbo Doc Lettere Sparkling Red Wine


Trenette (Summer Squash Pesto & Ricotta Salata)


The black truffle box


Shaving the black truffles — keep ’em comin’! :)


Cavatelli (Black Truffles & Brown Butter) – special of the night


Maialino Al Forno (Roast Suckling Pig)


Love that crispy skin


Pronto Lambrusco


Torta de Oliva (Olive Oil Cake)


Maialino [lunch]

I typically scarf down a salad at my desk because work is so crazy. Having an out-of-town visitor who loves to eat is a great reason to take a break from the office and enjoy an actual sit down lunch. Our impromptu trip to Maialino ended up being one of the best lunches I’ve ever had! First came the homemade pastas: Tonnarelli a cacio e pepe (pecorino & black pepper) — so simple and delicious — and Cavatelli with rapini, sausage & Fresno chilis — a fabulous recommendation from our awesome server, Blake. Then came a truly thrilling moment for us: the Maialino Al Forno (roast suckling pig) was being served as a lunch special!!! We could not believe our good fortune! It was every bit as succulent and tender as I remembered (I had it for the first time last summer and was blown away). The extra crispy skin was the best part! So, I’m on cloud nine, and then, it gets even better. We joked around with our server about getting some of the skin to go… and a few minutes later, he comes back to our table with a tiny brown bag containing four magnificent slivers of heaven (AKA the crispy pig skin). In my head, I’m already plotting how I can make it back to Maialino the next day (and every day). Chef Nick Anderer is a culinary genius!

Maialino: 2 Lexington Ave  (at East 21st Street)


Excited for a delicious lunch!


Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino & Black Pepper)


Cavatelli (Rapini, Sausage & Fresno Chilis)


Individual serving of the Al Forno (Roasted Suckling Pig with Crispy Skin)


Close up of the Al Forno’s crispy skin


Extra crispy skin to go! (I couldn’t help myself — I ate one of the them before I took the pic) :)

Maialino [lunch]