By Ava Stryker-Robbins
There are many theories about the origin of pasta and how it became such a universal food. Some claim Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China in the 13th century, while others say the Etruscan civilization—ancient Italy—made some recognizable form of this carbohydrate as early as the 4th century BC.
Pasta comes in many different shapes. The conchiglie—shell-shaped pasta—at Arco Cafe is served with veal and beef meatballs. The consistency of the pasta combined with the fluffy, flavorful meatballs is heavenly. Each bite carries warmth, serenity, and joy. Daniele Fiori—the co-owner and founder of Acro Cafe—grew up eating conchiglie pasta, although he said in a phone interview with WSR that meatballs are “more often served as a side dish in Italy.”
The tomato sauce served with this dish is an integral part of the recipe–and Arco Cafe. It is made completely from scratch daily, with tomatoes imported from Italy. The pasta is handmade daily as well using flour from local farms. According to Fiori, the shell shape of the conchiglie was historically symbolic of prosperity. In modern times, however, the pasta is more attractive to younger age groups due to the “particular shape” and “funny nature.” Arco Cafe serves pasta in many different shapes in its various dishes, and also sells its fresh pasta by the pound for takeaway to cook at home.
Arco Cafe was opened in 2014 by Fiori and his sister Francesca, who immigrated to New York City from Sardinia to pursue their passion for food and cooking. Cooking was a very important activity in Fiori’s family; “I really grew up in the kitchen of my house…home cooking was an everyday thing, even on the busiest days.” Opening a restaurant had been something he “dreamed of since he was a kid.”
Fiori appreciates the support the Upper West Side has given Arco Cafe. “It has always been very strong,” he concluded. He feels that he is “part of a big family.”
The Conchiglie dish costs $19.90.
The Dish: Conchiglie
The Restaurant: Arco Cafe (886 Amsterdam Avenue at 103rd Street)
Read all our Here’s the Dish columns here.
thank you for this highlight! had not heard of this place, but will absolutely be dining here this weekend
Arco is wonderful. The food so fresh and delicious. Very consistently superior quality.
I believe Arco is one of the best restaurants on the Upper West Side! Check it out!
Love Arco. They also sell fresh pasta by the lb and it is amazing and a lot of fun to cook with.
I love Arco Cafe. Good lunch special and excellent food.
Arco is also a cozy and cheerful space, a lovely room indeed.
All true. Delicious food and good service in an unpretentious atmosphere, unlike so many UWS eateries.
So glad to see Arco Cafe featured! Such a great restaurant.
In addition to the great food and wonderful wines of Sardinia, the staff are lovely