Even after only being open since October, Dell'Anima, the brainchild of some Babbo and Del Posto alums, is already tough to get into. Sure, it's partially because it's a small space, with seating for just over forty, but it's also due to the cozy, warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and for the delicious rustic Italian fare.

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Grab yourself one of the six seats in the open kitchen and watch Chef Gabriel Thompson and his team at work, creating dishes like a perfectly tender grilled octopus with radicchio and lemony rice beans, spicy chicken “al diavolo,” and seared tuna perched atop pan-roasted artichokes, and a hearty braised boar, prepared in a "medieval" style with star anise and cocoa in the mix, with a creamy polenta. The pastas are all hand prepared daily in-house -- whatever isn't used during service becomes the staff meal. They are wrapped in individual portions and prepared to order -- a tagliatelle is bathed with a hearty bolognese, while a squid ink pasta is topped with a calamari ragu.

If you're looking for a wine suggestion, Joe Campanale, the General Manager, is more than happy to help you choose from the unique Italian wine list. His sommelier background means that although you might want a sparking wine to go with the grilled sweetbreads, you won't find your typical prosecco on the list, but instead you'll be treated to a white lambrusco (we didn't even know this existed before our first visit).

Dell'Anima is open seven days per week and offers aperitivo, or bar snacks starting at 4 PM, to go along with house cocktails designed by Dale Degroff. They're open late, until 2 a.m. in case you find it too busy during traditional dinner hours. Dell’Anima, 38 Eighth Avenue near Jane Street, Greenwich Village; (212) 366-6633