Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Isabella Italian: The East Village Spot for Homemade Italian on a Student Budget

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Isabella Italian offers fresh, homemade, and, best of all, affordable Italian food in a charming space on St. Mark’s Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. The menu features top-notch pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and other classic Italian entrees. 

Isabella was originally scheduled to open in March of 2020. Owner Daniel (Danny) Rivera had to wait over a year to debut his solo venture, but the team at Isabella has managed to persevere and is now fully operating. The restaurant is clearly a personal project for Danny; you can see the care he has for the place, from the details of each dish to the name​​—Isabella is named after Danny’s 2-year-old daughter. Danny is also a partner of David’s Café next door (one of my favorite brunch spots), so you often see staff crossing back and forth between the two restaurants.

I visited Isabella on a Thursday evening, feeling extra hungry after spending the day wandering through the rainy East Village streets. It’s the perfect spot to catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time while nurturing a glass of wine and debating which pasta to order. I had a glass of the Pinot Noir, while my friend had a glass of the Pinot Grigio. I don’t normally order wine, but I’m glad I did. The Pinot Noir was lovely, perfectly complementing the cozy space.

Isabella is secretly a great spot for students. Unlike many other Italian restaurants in the area, Isabella won’t charge you $25 for a small bowl of pasta that will leave you wishing you could ask for seconds. You can get just about any pasta you like for under $15, and the portions won’t disappoint. All the pasta is from the Greenwich Village establishment Raffetto’s, probably THE fresh pasta destination in NYC. My friend and I agonized over the menu, but we eventually settled on two pasta dishes. I had the Cacio & Peppe, a bucatini gloriously drowned in butter and cheese, topped with ground pepper. My friend had the Rigatoni Medici. She is allergic to dairy, so she had the dish with their standard tomato sauce instead of the tomato cream sauce. In addition to the sauce, the rigatoni comes with peas, chicken, chopped tomato, and shallots. My friend generously shared a few bites with me, and it tasted like the homemade sauce my late Italian grandpa used to make on Sundays. Just delightful. 

Isabella also offers a variety of pizzas. Many of the pizzas feature a buffalo mozzarella—a richer, creamier, and more flavorful alternative to cow’s milk mozzarella. However, with my friend’s dairy allergy, we had the Marinara pizza, which, although cheeseless, features that delicious homemade tomato sauce and basil pesto. I devoured the pizza with such eagerness that I honestly didn’t even miss the cheese.

So students – make your reservations as soon as possible for this affordable, high-quality Italian restaurant. Whether it’s your birthday dinner or a first day, Isabella Italian will not disappoint. Students receive 10% off anytime with our coupon and student ID. 


By: Marisa Bianco

Marisa graduated from NYU in May 2020, summa cum laude, with degrees in International Relations and Spanish. She grew up in Nebraska, but she is currently living in Córdoba, Spain, where she works as an English teacher. You can find her eating tapas in the Spanish sun while likely stressing about finding her life’s purpose.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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