Although we most definitely can’t be considered ladies who lunch, the girls and I do enjoy our weekend brunch, especially if we are with friends. A couple of weekends ago, we were in the East Village, with some plans for the afternoon and some time to kill in between. Having three hungry little girls and two moms running on coffee only was not the best of ideas, so we decided to stop somewhere that could easily accommodate and feed a party of five.
We decided on Cacio e Vino, a Sicilian restaurant with pasta and pizza (always a crowd-pleaser with kids) and a nice brunch menu (and colorful drinks, always a plus for the adults).
We were promptly seated on a big round table by the window (which allowed us to play “I spy” in an attempt to have the little ones off electronic devices – we do try sometimes). The space is intimate and inviting, with exposed brick walls and tin ceilings, and a big window facing Second Avenue. The dining area is covered with rustic wood tables and chairs, so a foldable stroller would be the best bet if you come with a little one. The bar is to the right and behind it, you can see a pizzaiolo working the wood burning oven.
We ordered the Margherita pizza from the brunch menu and as one of the girls was into pasta with butter (as sophisticated as their palates can be, sometimes they come up with the most simple food choices), we ordered the closest brunch version of it: spaghettata palina, a creamy spaghetti dish with peas and prosciutto (a bit different from the Sicilian original, with sardines and anchovies, which the girls would have probably not enjoyed), and some colorful brunch cocktails.
The brunch pizza was decently sized. The crust was thin and crisp, and it had a good amount of cheese. The pasta was cooked al dente and the creamy sauce was delicious. Given that we were sharing all the dishes, we decided to order a large Margherita pizza, to realize that it was bigger than what we had expected. Yes, we finished it anyway (and got some sangria to go with it). Coffee was strong and although we were really tempted to order some of the desserts, we passed as we were running out of time.
There is one single bathroom in the back, to the right, past the bar and the pizza oven. It’s is tiny and without a changing table and it would be difficult to change a little one there, even for experienced caregivers.
Cacio e Vino seems to be more of an evening date place than a place for kids, but they were really accommodating to two moms with kids, and the girls really enjoyed the food. It was pretty quiet when we got there, but then, it was on the late side of brunch. I could see this place busy on the evenings. I think next time we go there we will have to try their arancini and their pasta cacio e pepe (a bit pricier than the brunch pasta, but the portion seemed to be bigger), which is partly cooked in a wheel of cheese… and who can go wrong with that?
Cacio e Vino
80 Second Avenue
New York, NY10003
Monday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Friday: 5:00pm – 12:00am
Saturday: 11:00am – 12:00am
Sunday: 11:00am – 11:00pm