UPPER EAST SIDE — A new Italian restaurant opening this week aims to transport its customers to the Italian countryside by re-creating the region's beauty inside its walls.
Donna Margherita Pizzeria and Wine Bar at 1304A Second Ave., between East 68th and 69th streets, will place patrons under a large mural depicting daisies in an Italian field when it opens on Thursday, the restaurant said in a release.
The eatery, which includes a second-floor balcony overlooking the main dining room, will display other regional touches, like a parked vintage Vespa and a brick pizza oven to emphasize the authenticity of its menu, the restaurant said.
Donna Margherita will serve dishes like lasagne Della Nonna (a traditional meat lasagna), penne arrabbiata o al pomodoro (penne in a spicy tomato sauce) and melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant parmigiana), as well as a plethora of pizzas baked in the brick oven.
Executive Chef Rosanna Di Michele, who grew up working at her parents' pizzeria in Vasto, Italy, plans to serve pies like a hearty rustica (featuring mozzarella, sausage, red peppers, olives and basil), vedova bianca (with mozzarella, ricotta, radichio and walnuts), and the signature Donna Margherita (with buffalo mozzarella, tomato "filetto" and pecorino).
Di Michele came to New York in 2011 after years working as a private chef and ambassador of the Abruzzo region's culinary traditions, the release said. She also worked several culinary events with Whole Foods, the Italian Consulate General of New York, DiPalo Fine Foods in Little Italy, the Marymount School, the City University of New York and festivals on Arthur Avenue.
The eatery will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m., with takeout, delivery and catering available.