When Leonti first opened in November of 2018, it had a menu item no other restaurant in town did: canapés. Arriving on the table in a pageant of little dishes—preserves, pâtés, little vegetal nibbles, each more exquisite than the last—they spoke to the unapologetically old-school ideals of the restaurant, a place where waiters wear suits, crisp white linen sheaths every table, and those tables are set nicely apart, making them conducive to quiet conversations and important events (like proposals and graduation dinners). The ambiance, in fact, is near identical to that of the classic Philadelphia restaurant Vetri Cucina, which is no coincidence: Chef Adam Leonti worked there for many years before founding this NYC eatery. I’m sad to say that canapés have disappeared from the menu; today, you’ll need to order the antipasti to have the small plate experience. The rest of the menu, however, is stable—and quite impressive: breads and pastas made from grains milled on site, and what may be the best fried chicken in the city (it’s slowly roasted, then dipped in sourdough starter and flash fried, for pieces that are wonderfully moist with the crackliest skin imaginable). If you’re looking for a grown-up dining experience, one that soothes and excites, Leonti is your pick.
New York City
New York City› Restaurant
103 W. 77th St. (off Columbus)
Our Rating Neighborhood Upper West Side Hours Daily 5–10:30pm Transportation Subway: B, C to 81st St. or 1 to 79th St. Phone 212/362-3800 Prices Entrees $32–$42, larger shareable entrees $48-$65 Cuisine Type Italian Web site Leonti
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