Consistently delicious Italian/Spanish food at Da Marcella

Consistently delicious Italian/Spanish food at Da Marcella

A quote by owner Manuel Moreno

Last week, I had lunch at Da Marcella’s midtown Manhattan location. I got a chance to chat with the owner and enjoy a few of their Italian/Spanish dishes. The restaurant, which also has a downtown location, is located directly across from Rockefeller Center, but doesn’t feel like a typical midtown restaurant.

Owner Manuel Moreno named the restaurant for his mother and modeled it after his family’s taverna. Growing up in Spain, his mother would cook extra meals for their neighbors and charge about 20% more than the cost of supplies. Her motto—“We believe that great food should be affordably priced and that nobody should get rich feeding thy neighbor”—is an ideal Manuel still believes and is apparent when you peruse Da Marcella’s menu.

I got to the restaurant early and ordered my favorite pasta dish: gnocchi. The potato dumplings were light and fluffy and the addition of shrimp and tomato sauce made it more unique than most gnocchi dishes I’ve tried. After Manuel arrived, we split an appetizer and their lasagna alla bolognese—his grandmother’s recipe. For dessert, we had generous slices of cheesecake and tiramisu.

When I complimented each portion of my meal, Manuel explained that he strives for consistency over unreachable perfection. Each “pinch” of salt is measured so that you get the same experience each time—instead of varied results like at other restaurants. So I can be assured that when I return to Da Marcella, I’ll have the same authentic and affordable dishes.

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