Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

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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Rustic Food at Melani Pizzeria

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Summer’s already here, but it’s always in season to get some delicious pizza or pasta!

I personally love to eat pizza and pasta, and so I couldn’t be more excited to try some of the delicious-looking food at Melani. The pizzeria was easy enough to find, located at 170 Rivington St. just a few blocks away from Delancey Station. With the cooler air of early evening, the open space in the pizzeria was welcoming and relaxing. I found some people standing around a table outside, gobbling up their pizza; others sat inside with their friends, chatting while finishing up their own food. There’s enough room to sit indoors with a friend or two, so this is definitely a place you can visit with people. The doors were wide open, letting in the open summer air and last rays of sunlight.

Like most pizzerias, you order at the counter. Food can be eaten in at the pizzeria, or if you’re in a hurry, you can even take your food to go. (And they even offer delivery, if you’re at home and feeling like staying in!) I found a stack of menus at the counter, so I was able to scan through all my possible options.

Full Menu at Melani Pizzeria!

There’s definitely a wide range of food at Melani. From pizza options to pasta to hand made ravioli, all your desires can be met in a single place! The calzone here is made fresh to order, and there are also gluten-free options and salads available. You can couple your meal up with some garlic knots or rolls, and quench your thirst with a wide option of beverages.

I asked for several recommendations, and I was told that the lasagna pizza is a solid choice. As for pasta, penne or spaghetti bolognese was said to be delicious. Since I was feeling like a pasta kind of day, I chose the spaghetti and chicken with parmesan since it looked like an interesting combination.

I sat down while I waited, and the wait was rather short. All the workers were very kind and helpful, and let me know that my food was almost done. When I got my food, just the smell of the pasta made my stomach impatient.

Spaghetti and Chicken with Parmesan

A delicious, moist piece of chicken covered by parmesan cheese sits on a large portion of spaghetti. Its flavor mixes well with the spaghetti and sauce, and the parmesan enhances the whole meal. I first took a bite out of the chicken, and immediately, I was pleasantly surprised. It was flavor-filled and well-cooked, and although it looked somewhat crispy on the outside, the inside was tender and moist. Mixed with a bite of spaghetti, it was the perfect combination. I couldn’t help but finish the entire piece of chicken, but I could not possibly finish the large portion of spaghetti I was given. I brought it home for my parents to try instead.

With coupon discounts at The Campus Clipper, Melani Pizzeria is a great place to try as a student for a cheap price. As a pizza and pasta lover, I was intrigued by the mix of spaghetti and chicken rather than the classic spaghetti and meatballs, and I may even say that I enjoyed this combination more. Melani Pizzeria is a great place for inexpensive, large portions, so grab your friends and family and make a visit here!

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Nancy Ma, New York University ’15

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Appearances Deceive: Stromboli Pizzeria

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The view from the street

Looking historical and shabby, “Stromboli Pizzeria” located at 112 University Place does not attract new customers… until they actually try the pizza. How many times have you been told: appearances deceive? They have authentic pizza with variety of toppings and now new student discounts – two things that would definitely draw you to the place had you known about them.

What’s the student savings deal? How about $2.00/slice or $16/pie for a plain and $2.50/slice and $19/pie for one topping with your student ID? How about a fountain soda for 95c? Note that this includes tax as well. Knowing that the students are a category always willing to save money, the pizzeria’s management caters not only to their stomachs, but to their wallets as well.

How good is the pizza? The place was open since 1966, and the recipes haven’t changed, even though there is a new owner. The dough is soft and fresh, whether you choose white or whole wheat, the fresh mozzarella is yummy and ricotta is so tender that its texture seems to be close to that of whipped cream. Most pizzas are made with homemade marinara or tomato sauce, or, for pizza topped with ricotta, no sauce at all. Whole wheat pizzas come plain with cheese or topped with vegetables keeping the healthy trend. You can order mushrooms, spinach and broccoli and extra sauce if you’d like to make it juicier. Contrary to the popular opinion that whole wheat pizza is not as tasty as regular one, Stromboli’s whole wheat dough is just as delicious as white one, so if you, like me, switched from white to wheat bread long ago, this is the way to go.

Whole wheat pizza with mushrooms, spinach and broccoli

Interested in trying new flavors? Try Pizza Pesto, a slice with ricotta, fresh basil and homemade pesto sauce, juicy, cheesy and flavorful one, or Caprese with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and tomato sauce (most ingredients are fresh, so don’t be surprised). For good quick snack, try the house’s invention, “the wheel,” a small palm-size roll filled with mozzarella and ricotta. It comes vegetarian with spinach or, for carnivores, with ham and pepperoni, and it’s perfect to snack on if you are short of time or are not really hungry. You can eat it as it is or request some marinara sauce for dipping.

If you not a pizza lover, you can go for a hero or calzone, or get delicious garlic knots made of soft pizza dough with fresh garlic on top. Don’t forget to satisfy your thirst with a Snapple, a special-priced fountain soda, a cane sugar Coca-Cola or Ginger Ale from Boylan. If you are craving unusual flavors, try a Key Lime, Cherries’n’Cream or Cream Soda from Stewart’s.

So don’t be afraid of appearances, as Stromboli is going through a renovation, and soon the pizzeria’s exterior with match the quality of the food, appealing to both your physical and visual taste.

"The wheel"

Ekaterina Lalo

For more articles written by me, check out my blog: www.nycvalues.blogspot.com

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In the City that Always Eats

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

For a city that never sleeps, New York City is where you can find food at every corner. Whether you find food at a street vendor, a sidewalk cafe, an upscale restaurant, or the latest popular burger joint, you will inevitably be faced with daily decisions of which of the thousands of restaurants you will travel to for something delicious, something budget friendly, or something to give you endurance for a long night of studying. As a student in the big apple, these choices may seem overwhelming, and tempt you into turning the $1 pizza store across from your dorm into your go-to place for all meals. In today’s technology age, there are so many great resources for finding great deals and budget conscious ways to keep you from being a starving college student, that you can surely have a diverse culinary experience while in New York.

Before resorting to the internet to start frantically searching for great lunch deals and hot date spots, use your eyes to spot places you may want to dine. You will quickly learn that living in New York City means you can always “window shop” for clothes, food, jewelry, and anything else you may need. As you use your feet to get around, instead of a car, you have the opportunity to gaze into the restaurants you have heard so much about already, and get a real-life sense of what your dining experience may be like. And, walk around with a pen and a notepad. Some of the best restaurant and food deals are not advertised on their websites – they are advertised on chalkboards right outside of the restaurant! Take note, and add it to the to-do list.

Soon, I will share more specific details on how to dine out on the town in this fabulous city that always eats. But for now, I encourage you to be aware of your surroundings, and take note when you see a slice of pizza that is extra cheesy, a quaint neighborhood cafe, or a bustling hot spot. There are 365 days a year, and 4 years of college. Just think of all the great eating you can do!

-Kerry H

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Di Fara

Monday, May 10th, 2010

It’s the first blog post and introductions are in order. My name is Sabina, and I’m an upcoming sophomore at NYU. I’ll be writing this summer about some of the restaurants New York has to offer, as well as some of the interesting events students can afford to attend in the city. I hope to cover a little of everything—from museums to taco stands, baklava to free concerts, community gardens to pierogis. I am always open to suggestions, so feel free to send some in via email or respond to anything I post. I’m starting off with one of the best-known culinary spots in New York—the famous Di Fara Pizza of Brooklyn.
This past Sunday I finally gathered the right group of people and enough motivation to head out to the famous pizzeria, claimed by many to be the home of the best slices the East Coast has to offer. It’s a 40-minute schlep on the Q to Avenue J from my nearby 14th Street Union Square stop, but after such hype I decided to brave the unusually cold Sunday weather and make the trek. Luckily I went with some friends who had been before, and therefore insisted we leave by 11. We arrived at 11:45 and were the third party in line.
Without the people waiting outside, the small pizzeria would fail to stand out against the low-key corner of Midwood, a neighborhood spotted with Jewish bakeries and a few bagel stops. Once inside, however, the characteristics that distinguish the small restaurant became apparent. For one, lines can start forming 1-2 hours before opening. The counter-space was crowded with no semblance of a line, and there were not nearly enough chairs or tables to accommodate the eager customers. Although the lack of comfort can infuriate some restaurant enthusiasts, I’ve always been drawn to a small establishment willing to retain its old atmosphere. As a friend noted, the cheap napkins indicated where priorities lied.
Only one man, Domenico DeMarco, handles the pizzas, which are made of ingredients shipped exclusively from Italy and Israel. While his son was on hand to take orders, Domenico was the only one drizzling on the olive oil or pulling the bubbling dough from the oven to check if it was done. Other special touches included the three types of cheeses hand-grated directly onto the hot crust, and the basil leaves clipped straight off the stems. We bought two pies (it is far more expensive to order by the slice) and waited about 20 minutes for them after ordering.
I’m not a huge pizza enthusiast, but Di Fara’s slices were certainly the best I’ve had in New York. After we brought the hot pies to the table, no one spoke as they made their way through their three slices. The biggest pizza connoisseur of us all had four.
Part of the fun of making your way down to Di Fara’s is to watch Domenico handle his ingredients. If you’re not down for waiting, or want to be sure you’ll get a table, the ride on the Q might not be worth it. Many worry the small restaurant has turned into a tourist-trap (there were a couple of overbearing camera wielders), but if you can’t stand the customers, take a pizza to go and find a nice spot outside. The fresh ingredients alone are worth it.

-Sabina A

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