Birra Antoniana and Ribalta Restaurant

J enna Gladfelter

Part of my life plan is to marry an Italian man someday. Why? The food, mostly. I love the pasta, the bread, the cheese, the wine – I could go on and on. But until my prince charming comes, I'll let Italian restaurants like Ribalta handle my meals.  
Alexandra and I made our way down to Union Square to give Ribalta's Neapolitan pizza and the Italian craft beer, Birra Antoniana, a try.  

First impressions: We loved the high ceilings, the chic black, white, and brown décor with red accents, and the marble countertops. It can be rare to find a restaurant in Manhattan that doesn't feel like you're sitting on top of the table next to you, but this place somehow achieves that light and spacious feeling.  

The food: The meatballs were the first thing we tried, and frankly, they had me hook, line and sinker right then and there. And then the main event: the pizza. I could drone on and on, but if I had to pick my favorite, I'd say the Margherita Rosa. The ingredients tasted so fresh and paired so well with (drumroll please...) 

The BEER: Because, really, it's all about the beer. Ribalta hosted a U.S. launch of Birra Anotoniana, an Italian craft beer . Over the next few months, they plan to introduce the brews in major cities along the East Coast, but of course NYC was the first stop. The featured beer of the evening was the Marechiaro, a crisp Italian lager specifically created as a perfect pair for pizza. And boy, did they nail it. But there were also three other beers available: Pasubio (hoppy), Altinate (similar to an IPA), and Vienna (rich and malty). Although I typically go for the lighter beers, I found myself favoring the Vienna. But either way, you can’t really go wrong with any of the four, especially with the pizza pairing.  

In summary: GO! The location is convenient, and the ambience is great for either a date night or just catching up with an old friend. The menu offers variety of small plates that are perfect to share, but also includes your traditional pasta and pizza dishes. Regardless of what you're in the mood for, we can almost guarantee one of the four new craft beers will compliment your meal perfectly. So if you're in the mood for a tried-and-true classic like Italian food and alcohol, but want somewhere with aesthetics and fresher ingredients, get yourself to Ribalta. 

Jenna was born and raised in farm-country Pennsylvania. After attending college in Virginia and grad school in Maryland, she worked her way back up the East Coast to New York City. Her first job out of school was working with adults with developmental disabilities which she found to be incredibly rewarding.. Now she finds herself advocating for the rights of senior citizens in NYC.

Inspired by books penned by strong, comedic women such as Tina Fey, Carrie Fisher, and Jenny Lawson, she hopes to one day write a book herself. Among her family and friends, she's known for her Julie Andrews obsession, leaving umbrellas everywhere, and knowing useless pieces of trivia. In her spare time, she loves to try new restaurants, binge-watch Netflix, wander through botanical gardens, and eat insane amounts of popcorn.