Here’s the Dish: Polpette 71’s Homemade Tiramisu

Loosely translated from Italian, tiramisu means “pick me up.”

By William Beel

In a town and maybe even a culture that insists the tiramisu is “the best in town,” for my money, the best in New York City is at Polpette 71. Sure they are known for their meatballs, which are excellent, as the names of the restaurant (polpette means meatball in Italian) and its proprietor, Nicky Meatballs, imply. But the tiramisu is hard to pass up even when I’m stuffed with said meatballs and other great dishes. Nailing the right levels of creaminess, sponginess, and cocoa-powder dryness is no easy feat and is probably why so many Italian restaurateurs insist they have perfected this dessert beyond the imaginings of every other wishful-thinking chef in town. But nail it Nicky has.

Formerly known as Bello Giardino by the same owner, Polpette 71 has a beautiful garden, indeed, in the back. While I’m a huge fan of the outdoor seating that has come with COVID, sitting outside in the bello giardino is a welcome refuge from the street and reminder of outdoor dining from a simpler time. It’s a lovely spot in which to dine or simply enjoy an afternoon coffee and tiramisu.

Friendly staff and ownership, a welcoming feel, and terrific food and tiramisu provide another reminder of how good we have it on the Upper West Side.

Polpette71 by Nicky Meatballs
71 West 71st Street (off Columbus)
Featured dish: Tiramisu ($8)
Monday-Sunday, 4 pm-10 pm

A heartfelt thank you to William Beel. You can’t imagine our delight when we received his email, “Hi WSR, answering your call!” And so, Here’s the Dish sees another Wednesday. Follow William’s courageous and civic-minded lead. Send a review of your favorite local dish with a photograph to It’s good for your neighbors and the restaurants you love.

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COLUMNS, FOOD | 11 comments | permalink
    1. jeff says:

      we still mourn the loss of polpette amsterdam, great food, wine and happy hour, the epitome of an uws neighborhood restaurant.

      thanks for your wonderful review!

      • Michael G says:

        Also miss the Amsterdam Polpette. I would go every week for Meatball Mondays and Moretti La Rossa on draft. The servers were so friendly. Perfect neighborhood spot.

    2. Steevie says:

      When I first saw the picture of the tiramisu, I wondered what ancient architectural ruin I was looking at.

    3. jimbo says:

      Carmine’s still the best in my book.

    4. Sandy says:

      Great review William. My husband and I love Polpette. I highly recommend the Red Snapper Livornese. It’s not on the menu but they make it on request. We’ll try the Tiramisu next time!

    5. Mike D says:

      There is a not a bad dish on (or off) the menu. Though they are known and named for the meatballs, I steer towards vegetarian, and the penne alla vodka, pasta primavera and pesto are all amazing. Love Polpette and the staff

    6. Louise says:

      Any chance they would share the recipe?

    7. Chuck says:

      Love Polpette, Nicky, Lu, and entire staff. Always made to feel welcome and food is always great. My husband and I had our wedding there in a Sunday six years ago in the garden. Such a great neighborhood place we frequent regularly.

    8. Harriet says:

      My friend comes into the city to have his hair cut once a month and we share a tri colore salad and black linguini with seafood.

      By sharing , we leave room to enjoy a serving of the delicious tiramisu

      See you Friday, Nick

    9. UWSpoptart says:

      My favorite Tiramisu is at Osteria Cotta. I’ve never had this one though, so I’ll have to try it out!