Rubirosa, located on Mulberry in the cute neighborhood of Nolita, is a crowd favorite when it comes to delicious Italian food. With the restaurant being small, there is generally a long weight but if you’re lucky to snag a reservation at a decent time, you are in for a treat. I have had the honor of partaking in this restaurant two times- once unexpectedly and the other with a reservation booked a month out. On my first visit, I happened to be walking down the street on the way to meet a friend for dinner when I came across the cute wooden “Rubirosa” sign outside. I thought, it couldn’t hurt to see how long the wait is, as I had been wanting to try the restaurant for a while now. I put my name in and it was only a 45 minute wait (not too bad for not having a reservation at 7:30 pm on a Tuesday night in New York City). The only thing I would say is to look at the time for when they give you a quote on the wait time, I had the issue of hostess telling me about 45 minutes and coming back to check on the table only for them to tell me I had 30 minutes left to go. Needless-to-say, the issue was resolved but always make sure to take a look at the clock before you leave.
The inside of the restaurant is quite old school, with pictures and mirrors on the walls and all different seating preferences. Speaking of seating preferences, I learned on my second visit to Rubirosa that the dining tables are extremely long, meaning you are sitting far back from the person across from you. So given the option of a high top or a table, I would go for the high top- easier to converse and not as awkward when trying to reach for shared plates (a little small though so if you like your personally space then disregard).
The food rundown goes like this:
The first time I came here I saw the tie-dye pizza come out of the kitchen and I instantly knew I had to order it. Everything about it was so appealing! From the vodka sauce, mozzarella, and pesto swirl on thin crust, you really can’t go wrong with ordering this. One thing I recommend (and love that this restaurant does) is order 2 different types. You can do half-and-half on all of their pizzas so explore and try something else since you have the option to. Along with the tie-die pizza, I also recommend the plain vodka pizza. You may think that they would be similar since the tie-die only adds pesto but there is something about it being on its own that tastes completely different. Another pizza to recommend would be the Funghi, a white pizza with mushrooms, garlic, arugula and mozzarella. It is super delicious and a perfect balance with the vodka sauce.
Now for pastas, I love cavatelli and boy oh boy is it phenomenal- broccoli rabe, garlic, sausage, olive oil aka the best combination for a pasta dish. The pasta is dense but not too hard, and the perfect size in correlation to the added items above. Flavor wise- it is not a “saucey dish”, meaning all of the flavors really tie in together and compliment one another. It is delicious and I highly recommend if you want to try something different than a classic red sauce dish. Another favorite in terms of pasta is the black and white cavatelli. This dish has clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and calamari- so obviously a seafood lover’s dream! If you like shellfish, then this is the one for you. It is quite filling and great to split if you order a pizza or other pasta on the menu.
My overall experiences at Rubirosa have always been fabulous (despite the small hiccup in wait time). Definitely give this place a try if you want to try something different or if you’re just in the neighborhood, it will not disappoint!