Posts Tagged ‘pizzeria’

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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