July 28, 2014 user

Restaurant Villagio on the Park swings for a home run at Mickey Mantle’s old digs

Villagio On The Park is looking to hit one out of the park after moving into the former home of Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant And Bar and giving it a radical Italian makeover, complete with an exotic new name, a modern new image and exciting new fare.

And, in what can only be seen as a fitting tribute to the Yankee legend, owners Alex Kalas and Thomas Billante have opened their elegant new Italian restaurant by the popular demand of a legion of  New Yorkers who have become avid fans of their many other restaurants, most of them in Miami.

“The many New Yorkers who have been to our restaurants in Miami have had wonderful dining experiences,” says Alex. “Now they can be on their home turf and enjoy our authentic, fresh taste of Italy in one of New York City’s finest neighborhoods.

Alex and Thomas have transformed the site of Mickey’s famous old establishment on Central Park South into a refined space that features al fresco dining with direct views of Central Park.

Villagio On the Park was designed by Jeffrey Beers International, which also designed the New York restaurants db Moderne, Villard Michel Richard and Towne.

It boasts a modern aesthetic built on marble and wood, with rustic pizza paddles lining the walls. And the dazzling lighting designed by Brian Atter consists of hundreds of illuminated crystals that hang from the ceiling and reflect off one another to cast a ubiquitous glow.

Under the helm of Executive Chef Paul Johnston, Villagio On the Park makes its own pastas and imports many of the essential ingredients from overseas, such as Portuguese octopus and calamari from Europe.

Signature dishes include a gondoletta stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a truffle mushroom cream sauce, and zucchini flowers, which are harvested in Palm Beach, and filled with smoked mozzarella and prosciutto.

Pizzas are baked in the wood-burning oven, and gluten-free options are on the menu.  And all desserts, such as apple pie al la mode, tiramisu, panna cotta, chocolate soufflé and crème brulee, are created on the premises.

Visit Villagio on the Park at 40 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019. 

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