I traveled to New York City with a friend for a week around July 4th 2014 and we had reservations to Rafele (discovered it on Trip Advisor and other similar sites). Our experience at Rafele was terrific! The reservation was at 6:30 and the crowd was still somewhat light but it was also on a Tuesday. The atmosphere is nice but casual. I wore nice jeans and a button down shirt and that was about right I think.
I ordered the Pettole Ragu which is a pasta with roasted lamb. The portion was really good for me...usually pasta dishes have so much food that you could never eat it all. This was just enough for me to be full. I also liked that the sauce had a subtle flavor to it. Again, many Italian dishes at restaurants I find have really strong flavors. This was just perfect! My friend also ordered a pasta dish, the Ravioli Di Spinaci and she really enjoyed her meal as well.
We split a cheesecake dessert afterward and let me tell you this really hit the spot! One of the best cheesecakes I've eaten. It was not the typical hard, ice cold type but instead was more of a cool temperature and softer than most cheesecakes. Very simple too...no drizzling chocolate or anything like that on top. It was great.
Overall, Rafele really made the evening start off well. We stayed for a week in New York and even though there was a couple other good places, Rafele was our favorite on the trip. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and I would encourage anyone to try this place out.