Photo Credit: Rebecca Fondren

Hops across the pond to Italy all but ceased during the pandemic. Although the European country is slowly reopening, New Yorkers need no longer travel to enjoy a taste of the best Italy has to offer thanks to Saint Theo’s, the buzzy new West Village spot from owner and developer Rob Goldman with restaurateur Kyle Hotchkiss Carone of American Bar.

The eatery’s name is a nod to Saint Theodore, the first patron saint of Venice, but patrons here are treated to a different sort of religious experience: a grand tour of Venetian and coastal Italian-influenced dishes created by Culinary Director Carolina Santos-Neves and Executive Chef Ashley Rath.

Inspiration for the menu came from the Italian coast and its beach clubs “where summer memories are of beautifully, simply prepared fishes and meats,” Carone says. The idea was to serve food the way Venetians do—a relaxed meal with wine at a small bar called a bacaro. “We set out to bring that to a New York setting that felt clubby but welcoming; fun and energetic but refined,” Carone explains.

Courtesy: Saint Theo’s

The culinary journey at Saint Theo’s kicks off with cicchetti, (“small snacks”), including fried beech and royal trumpet mushrooms with anchovy emulsion, hand-creamed cod, and breaded beef meatballs with a fig jus.

Appetizers follow and include beef carpaccio, and focaccia with prosciutto, but the seafood options, such as a tuna crudo served with pistachio, Castelvetrano olives, and preserved lemon, make an especially sensorial splash.

Entree selections are similarly seafood-rich, from Venetian-style cuttlefish in ink over polenta to a whole roasted branzino prepared with salsa verde, mint, and basil. No Italian menu, however, is complete without pasta—and Saint Theo’s delivers with simple yet elevated dishes made with Italian staples like ricotta and pesto.

Courtesy: Saint Theo’s

Strawberries and cream, olive cake, and other desserts complete the meal; inventive cocktails like Death in Venice, a mixture of mezcal, Calabrian-chili tincture, fresh sage, Aranciata Rossa, and lime, give the experience that extra edge.

Just as enjoyable to drink up is the atmosphere. Beveled mirrors, Venice Biennale exhibition posters, and framed Pirelli calendars line the walls, while Murano glass sconces dot the decorative tin ceiling. The vintage-meets-modern design is all tied together with designer Martin Brudnizki’s signature touches, including emerald walls and linen banquettes in avocado green. “It’s a hodgepodge of Italian inspiration and beauty,” Carone says.

Courtesy: Saint Theo’s
As with other Manhattan hot spots, the draw of Saint Theo’s isn’t just the food and decor. The establishment’s vibe has attracted the see-and-be-seen crowd dining out downtown—fashion designer Prabal Gurung, Gossip Girl-reboot actor Evan Mock, and other New York luminaries have already breezed through the doors—but everyone understands the true star here will always be the food.