A Memorable Birthday Dinner at Grotta Azzurra

Grotta Azzurra
177 Mulberry Street New York, NY 100013

Guess who turned 26 last week? This girl did.

I celebrated my birthday quite a number of times this year but for the celebration with my friends, I decided to revisit a restaurant I had already been to for my birthday before because it was one of the only restaurants Will and I called that would take 15-17 guests and had no problem with us having our dinner at 8PM.

Grotta Azzurra is a family-style and spacious Italian restaurant in the heart of Little Italy in NYC. Our dinner took place in their wine cellar room and it was a nice, casual  atmosphere. We literally sat outside of the wine cellar room which felt nice.

This was my drink for the night. I don’t drink much alcohol, but I sure do love a refreshing cocktail once in a while. I’ve actually never had a mojito before, but anything with mint I love. 

I thought it was adorable that the mojito was served in a mason jar and I really liked the mojito. I found it to be very refreshing, light, and minty. 

Fried Calamari
We ordered four plates of fried calamari for each section of the group to share. I didn't really like the fried calamari at Grotta Azzura because clearly there was no seasoning in the batter they used to fry the calamari in. It tasted so bland and unseasoned and it’s only when you dip it into the marinara sauce was there a little taste to it.

Ravioli of the day - Duck Ravioli
Will ordered the ravioli of the day which happened to be duck ravioli. It seemed that he was a little nervous at first about it because wasn't sure if it would taste good. 

I was surprised at the amount of ravioli he got. I tried a piece of his duck ravioli and it was absolutely yum! The duck was really moist and the ravioli was cooked perfectly.

My friend Diane ordered the cannelloni which is a pre-rolled tubular shaped pasta, stuffed with ground meat, spinach and onions. She enjoyed it, but after having one cannelloni she became full.

Linguini with clams and white wine clam sauce
I ordered one of my favorite Italian dishes – linguine with clams in white wine clam sauce. There was a lot of linguine in my dish.The clams were tender and bathed with a flavorful white wine clam sauce. 

I really liked the clams. It was a simple dish with the right amount of seasoning and flavors. No complaints.

Fra Diavlo
A friend of mine ordered the Fra Diavlo which is a signature dish of Grotta Azzura since 1908. It's basically seafood heaven scattered with linguine and a spicy red sauce. It's seafood heaven because you've got whole lobster, clams, and mussels.

It looks amazing, but too bad I don't think I would be able to try it because my friend said it's spicy and I am somewhat allergic to spicy foods and a tad bit of lobster.

complimentary cheesecake
I guess our waiter forgot there was a birthday cake for me because he brought out a piece of New York Cheesecake and all of my friends and Will sang "Happy Birthday" to me. Will had to tell our waiter that we brought our own cake to cut. 

Strawberry Cheesecake from Junior's 
So guess what? He brought the cake out and well I had two “Happy Birthday” songs. I felt lucky. After the singing and clapping, our waiter took my strawberry cheesecake away and I didn't even get to do the first cut. How rude!

My lovely friends, myself, and Will
All in all, I had a great birthday dinner at Grotta Azzurra and a great time with my friends. I got to see old friends, new friends, and my besties. It was a memorable and fun night and the food was good.

Thank you for making it fun, awesome, and memorable everyone!


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