Italian cuisine

Parma Nuova: Keeping Italian Cuisine Alive on the Upper East Side | Carlos L.

Courtesy of Parma Nuova

Parma Nuova is a new casual fine-dining Italian restaurant from owner-manager Giorgio Manzio, who has partnered with the La Masseria group; Giuseppe “Peppe” Iuele, Vincenzo “Enzo” Ruggiero and Executive Chef Giuseppe “Pino” Coladonato. Together they took over the Parma space, an Upper East Side mainstay that opened in 1977. Parma Nuova, meaning the new Parma, retains La Masseria’s fine dining service, putting the emphasis on the flavors of Parma, Italy, in a more relaxed environment.

Rather than recreating the original Parma, Giorgio chose to use flavors that emphasize the staples of the city of Parma in a modern interpretation using local staples like Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and handmade pasta.

The restaurant’s interior has been completely redesigned by Libby Langdon and features vintage Italian posters and black and white photographs transporting diners to the city of Parma. The front of the dining room has elegant French doors that can be opened to accommodate outside seating, and to the rear is a wine wall that gives guests a taste of the carefully curated wine list organized from Parma Nuova.

Courtesy of Parma Nuova

Upon entering Parma Nuova, my guest and I were greeted by Giorgio, who was extremely welcoming. As we walked to our seats, I couldn’t help but notice the wine wall and how the restaurant had a sort of modern look with a traditional twist. Once we were seated and had plenty of time to soak up the ambience, Giorgio asked if we’d like to start with a drink. I had a Gin and Tonic and my partner had an Old Fashioned. Although both drinks are quite simple, you can really taste the quality.

Giorgio did the honor of selecting our dishes for us, ensuring we got the best of Parma Nuova. For our appetizers, Giorgio brought us the I Cucuzielli Fritti Alla Chef Pino (Chef Pino Style Crispy Fried Zucchini). It was basically fried zucchini if ​​you need a visual and it was some of the best zucchini I’ve had in my life. They were a really light bite; not too crispy with the taste of fresh zucchini showing through without being overpowering. The dish gave me a taste of the quality I would get from Parma Nuova.

Giorgio Manzio, owner-manager of Parma NuovaCourtesy of Parma Nuova

Then there was the Burratina Con Melanzane, Peperoni Arrosto E Pomodori Secchi (creamy mozzarella cheese in the center served with roasted peppers, marinated eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes). First of all, the creaminess of the burrata mixed with the veggies underneath was the perfect combination and that’s one of those things I’d love to think about. It was easily one of the best dishes of the night and we finished it so quickly that Giorgio couldn’t help but smile as he walked past our table.

After such a delicious course we yearned for more and Giorgio did not disappoint. Shortly after, it came with our next dish, the Tonnarelli Cacio & Pepe “Alla Parma (fresh homemade spaghetti with parmesan cheese and a cracked peppercorn sauce). We absolutely loved this dish; the spaghetti was perhaps some of the freshest you can get in Manhattan and the parmesan cheese was almost like a cheese bowl like structure that housed the spaghetti.This allowed you to taste every ingredient in the dish with every bite.Solid dish, highly recommended.

Courtesy of Parma Nuova

For our main course, we enjoyed the Trancio Di Salmone Con Salsa Alla Mostarda (grilled salmon fillet, with grilled zucchini and mustard sauce). I may sound redundant at this point, but this dish was truly sensational. The salmon was cooked to perfection and the mustard sauce was not overpowering; the zucchini also really helped bring the dish together.

Courtesy of Parma Nuova

For dessert, Giorgio insisted we try the Torta Di Ricotta Alla Vaniglia (Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake). Considering he hadn’t cheated on us during the entire meal, of course it was delicious! The top layer had a bit of texture but nothing too difficult to cut, there was a bit of raspberry jam (I think) on one side and vanilla ice cream on the other which blended well. The cheesecake topping is just amazing. It’s a really hard mix to describe but something you won’t forget for a long time.

Parma Nuova is a truly one-of-a-kind place. You definitely won’t find places like this in Manhattan, that’s for sure! There is also a family atmosphere in this place. Each of our courses was spaced out and overall the dinner lasted about 2 1/2 hours. I ended up missing a fashion show that night, but the hospitality of Parma Nuova and Giorgio was worth it. If you’re on the Upper East Side, do yourself a favor and stop by the Italian restaurant. Say hi to Giorgio for me while you’re at it!