Thursday, September 23, 2010

☞ EAT: Details on New Manhattanville Bettolona

Harlem Bespoke was lucky enough to get some answers from the folks over at the recently opened Bettolona restaurant on Broadway and 124th Street:

HB: Who is the chef and is he Italian?
– Chef/owner Sebastiano Cappitta is originally from Sicily. He owns two other restaurants on the Upper West Side, Acqua at 718 Amsterdam and Bettola at 412 Amsterdam. (He opened his first restaurant on the UWS in 1991, it was called Isola). Regarding prices, Sebastiano wanted to create an affordable neighborhood place so he created a recession-friendly menu (nothing over $17).

HB: What is the origin of the restaurant's name?
– Sebastiano named the new restaurant Bettolona because it's larger than Bettola (the ending -ona in Italian denotes something larger in size). He's well known for his wood-fired ovens - he was the first to bring them to the Upper West Side way back in 1991 (at Isola, which was a hot restaurant then). Bettolona has a large brick oven to make pizza, as well as some of the pastas (e.g. the lasagna) and other dishes.

HB: Affordability is something readers bring up. Was that in mind?
– Sebastiano’s restaurants are about good value and quality product at fair prices (e.g. he’s used La Frieda’s meats and other high quality ingredients for years, without advertising the fact). He continues his philosophy at Bettolona, which was created as a neighborhood place, where people would pop in regularly for lunch, dinner or brunch. Nothing on the menu is more than $17, including the entrees.

HB: When will there be a liquor license in place?
- Bettolona is currently waiting for the liquor license, which hopefully will arrive soon. All the paperwork has been filed and it's at the SLA.

HB: Will there be Brunch service?
- Full brunch menu will debut soon. They are open every day for lunch (12-4pm) and dinner (4pm – 11pm & till midnight on Fri & Sat) and will have some brunch specials but the full brunch menu is coming soon as well.

Double click on the above photo of the menu for a larger view of what's being served up at Bettolona. This one looks like it's the real deal since there's a notable Italian chef at the helm and authentic brick oven pizza. Read our past post on the opening of Manhattanville's newest restaurant: LINK. Photos courtesy of Bettolona.


  1. My friends and I went on Tuesday night, and it was indeed the real deal. Really fantastic food. I had the gnocchi, which was expertly light. One of my friends had a really spectacular pizza with vegetables, probably the best dish at our table. We'll be back soon.

  2. Bettolona looks like a wonderful addition to West Harlem, this raises the bar for the neighborhood, is it a game changer or a sign of much more to come with Columbia transforming West Harlem, Ulysses, great interview.

  3. This place looks amazing. Once again, thanks for these updates on the neighborhood!

  4. looks great with very reasonable prices. i wonder what the proprietors of chocolat were thinking when they priced entrees in the mid $20 range. i walk by every evening and it's consistently empty.

  5. chocolat will surely go under -- amazing that someone thought they would make it anywhere in Manhattan with what they offer

  6. Whether on this blog or other Harlem blogs, zuni & jjones' comments above seemed to be echoed everywhere anytime someone brings up the restaurant Chocolat. I admit half of them are probably from me but it also makes me wonder if anyone over there actually reads these and if they've made a connection yet between the empty seats and the price gouging.

  7. I pass Chocolat every day and last week saw a few more customers than usual, but still not enough. Does anybody with a bit of business acumen actually know what their business model is? Surely with a soft opening you adjust your prices based on # of customers etc? From reviews that I have read on Yelp, you apparently get large portions, but for me that is usually a negative sign when it comes to quality of food.

  8. A note of warning on the menu - when I ate at Bettolona last week the owner said that this was a temporary menu and it would likely change significantly in the coming weeks.

    But yes, a welcome addition! And I agree, delicious (though I am hoping there are some more original, unique vegetarian dishes on the final menu!)