JThe feel of dining at a cozy Italian restaurant in Soho is now available at Manalapan. La Lupa is the end of a 2.5 year journey for the three co-owners of the company. After searching endlessly for the perfect location, they finally found an available space in their hometown.
“It was the last place we thought it would be,” says co-owner Dan Fishman. Reminiscent of intimate New York-style restaurants, La Lupa only seats 35 people at a time; which means that reservations are highly recommended. They accept walk-ins, but guests are advised to arrive early and expect a short wait.
More Best of NJ
Fine Italian cuisine in a relaxed setting
Dan describes the food as “a modern take on regional Italian” at La Lupa. Meanwhile, the interior design exudes a “rustic vibe” with an urban, city feel. For example, the lighting gets dim and the music gets louder after 7:00 p.m., much like restaurants in New York. “It’s a casual setting, but the food is fine,” adds Dan. Frequent guests will notice that the team is constantly adding plants, lighting, and fresh flowers to enhance the space.
La Lupa’s menu changes every three to four weeks and showcases seasonal flavors and ingredients. For example, during ramp season (a kind of wild onion) they make ramp pasta. Likewise, current favorites include clam pie and Tuscan-style fried chicken entrees. The handmade pasta is also a highlight, as it is freshly made on site. But Dan raves about the 36-ounce, 48-day dry-aged ribeye made on a charcoal grill from Japan. “You’ve never tasted anything like this,” he said.
La Lupa also prepares its own desserts on site. In particular, popular choices are cookie pan with vanilla ice cream and banana creme brulee. Click here to see the full menu.
About the owners
Brothers Michael and Giorgio Ceciarelli have worked in restaurants most of their lives, as their father owns Solotrattoria in Freehold. (Where Dan also worked). Giorgio, executive chef of La Lupa, previously worked at the Pasquale Jones restaurant in New York; in addition to positions at Il Nido in Marlboro. Meanwhile, head chef Brandon Carter spent the previous three years as head chef at Butcher’s Block.
Visit La Lupa at 123 NJ-33 East in Manalapan. (Click here to see them on Google Maps.) Learn more: Click here to visit their website | Follow them on Instagram | Click here to call them.
Click here to find the latest restaurants open in New Jersey.
La Lupa FAQs
Yes, they accept reservations.
Yes, they have gluten free options.
La Lupa offers vegetarian options yes.
They don’t offer takeout, no.
No, they do not offer delivery.
No, they are BYOB.
They don’t have a kids menu, no.
All photos: © La Lupa