A romantic Italian dinner at A Voce Columbus

Chef Missy Robbins’s second A Voce restaurant takes over the room previously occupied by Café Gray. Reconfigured to allow window seating overlooking Columbus Circle, the former Rockwell-designed space now includes an elevated bar (where you can also dine) next to a windowed kitchen which no longer blocks the park view.

In the starkness of the white dining room, nothing detracts from Robbins’s inventive Italian cuisine, except, perhaps, the striking wine refrigerators which form a wall backdrop and frame the corridors. Garlicky whipped ricotta accompanies focaccia to start. Antipasti may include grilled calamari with shelling beans, zucchini and Calabrian chili vinaigrette. Pancetta is an artistic presentation of pork belly topped with crushed pistachios and sliced figs, graced with balsamic.

A Robbins signature pasta, spaghetti alla chitarra, masterfully blends silky sea urchin, crab and leeks with a tantalizing hint of lemon. Seafood selections vary according to what is fresh at the market and demonstrate an elegance of preparation, such as the swordfish, fennel, olives and panelle.

And, as if to further prove that simplicity is what perfection is all about, the dessert granitas create a closing experience akin to eating pure snow. An extensive wine list features selections from the U.S., Italy and France.

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