Gina La Fornarina – I’ve Got The Gift

I have the gift.

The magic touch.

I always (well, 9.7 times out of 10) choose fabulous restaurants.

I don’t know how I do it, but somewhere between my lack of athletic ability and my unruly eyebrows, fate decided to give me one gift – the gift of restaurant picking. I can somehow sniff out the diamond in the rough, that oft-passed-over gem.

I guess that’s the only way that we ended up at Gina la Fornarina

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This small UWS restaurant is the sort of place where coworkers come for a light lunch and mommies with strollers sit their kids down with ipads while they enjoy a glass of wine and a decadent pizza. It is steeply priced, but the atmosphere is breezy and feminine,the menu is child and adult friendly, and it’s the only game of its kind within several blocks. It’s casual-nice, with efficient service and a full bar, without having to pay the premium price of a full-on foodie restaurant.

pix 018 Prosciutto and fontina panini

Very simple and very delicious. Buttery fontina cheese, soft and pleasantly salty prosciutto and the perfect panini bread -fluffy but thin, soft enough to eat but dense enough to stand up to the fillings. The meat fairly melts into the cheese and the effect is a surprisingly light sandwich. This isn’t huge or overstuffed, so you can indulge without feeling like you are going to need a new pants size after lunch. The salad alongside is fresh but underdressed – be sure to ask for additional dressing on the side.

pix 017 Four cheese and mushroom pizza

When I see a dish made with truffle oil on the menu, I’m bound to order it. This pizza is great! It has a thin, rather stiff crust that has a nice char and thick bubbles around the crust. The four cheese blend of mozzarella, fontina, Gorgonzola, and parmiginao is well balanced – nutty, creamy, stretchy, and just a little piquant form the Gorgonzola. The mushrooms are meaty and juicy and the truffle oil is merely the faintest hint of heady, umami scent…it really completes the dish without overpowering this.

pix 015 Gina la Fornarina is an ideal lunch or dinner spot. The breads are totally delicious and I would come back here for the pizza, sandwiches, or excellent wines by the glass anytime. You pay here, for convenience, for lovely surroundings, and for some good food. But, if you stick to food and not booze, it’s considerably cheaper. And more delicious than I would have thought, given the pink decor and cartoon-laden menu.

Thank heavens I stopped in here.

Thank heavens I’ve got the gift. 

Gina La Fornarina on Urbanspoon


  1. Such a lovely lunch date xx

  2. I was just here for a brunch and was very happy with the place. Wanted to do Le Pain in Midtown but couldn’t get served so found this place on the Upper West Side. I would go again in a heartbeat!