Ni.Do Mozzarella Bar has cozy charm, and cheese. Lots and lots of freshly made cheese.
Ni.Do Mozzarella Bar has cozy charm, and cheese. Lots and lots of freshly made cheese.
Lesley Elliott

Ni.Do. Mozzarella Bar: Italian Done Easy on the Upper Eastside

Ni.Do. Mozzarella Bar opened quietly in MiMo last month -- no press release, no big party. It's just a quiet little café, buried in one of the area's gentrified strip malls, that happens to make its own mozzarella. It's a pretty space, offering a comfortable spot to rest for a few hours over freshly brewed espresso and torta del giorno. There are overstuffed couches for lounging and a long bar with rotating happy-hour specials on wines, beers, and prosecco-based cocktails daily from 4 to 8 p.m.

The sense of home is immediate, and a friendly Italian couple named Matteo and Giorgia will welcome you to linger. Giorgia was the owner of Gusto Vino & Caffè in South Beach, and partner Luca Taretto was the executive chef at Tiramesu. (He also worked in Milan for Claudio Cracco, which is a two-Michelin-star restaurant.) The menu is straightforward, Italian comfort style. Gnocchi alla Sorrentina ($13) has a light tomato sauce with fresh basil and globs of burata (and, yes, the cheese is made in-house). Layered eggplant parmigiana ($9.50), classic lasagna with bolognese sauce, and an herb-rubbed roasted half-chicken ($18) are all guileless replications of the original recipes.

There is also a small array of olive oils and pastas for sale, as well as salumi by the pound. The majority of offerings are made here -- including the pastas, breads, and desserts. "We have a laboratory that ships the original ingredients for us to make them and finish the product here," Giorgia says. We love Italian imports (pass the truffle oil, please).

Homemade bufala with marinated tomatoes and garlic ($11).
Homemade bufala with marinated tomatoes and garlic ($11).
Lesley Elliott
Smoked salmon salad with green beans and toasted almonds ($12) is one of seven salads on the menu, including quinoa with black beans and calamari with farro.
Smoked salmon salad with green beans and toasted almonds ($12) is one of seven salads on the menu, including quinoa with black beans and calamari with farro.
Lesley Elliott
Ni.Do's carbonara is made with penne, a few eggs yokes and crisp pancetta ($10.50).
Ni.Do's carbonara is made with penne, a few eggs yokes and crisp pancetta ($10.50).
Lesley Elliott
The torta of the day depends on the mood of the chef, this was a mixed berry version ($7).
The torta of the day depends on the mood of the chef, this was a mixed berry version ($7).
Lesley Elliott

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