New York is known for top-notch cuisine from hundreds of countries across the globe, but the Italian ones are arguably the most iconic. From classic red-sauce joints to elegant Michelin-starred dining palaces, these seven are some of the best restaurants in the city.
It’s easy to forget what season it is while inside this bright Renzo Piano-designed eatery. Floral furniture and a wood-slatted ceiling evoke the eternal summer of the Tuscan coast as do ice-cold cocktails like the bourbon-based Amalfi Gold. Like all of the Major food group restaurants though, the food is the main star. Some of the many highlights include cecina (large chickpea pancake) with toppings like perfectly fresh Nebrodini mushrooms, grilled branzino and swordfish, and heaping portions of pastas like lobster fettuccini.
820 Washington St
Bamonte’s opened in Williamsburg long before the neighborhood became a hipster mecca. It’s thrived for over a century by serving heaping portions of red sauce classics like spaghetti and meatballs and a variety of parms delivered by tuxedoed waiters amidst a retro-atmosphere that’s equal parts homey and elegant.
32 Withers St, Brooklyn
If Michael White is the king of inventive and ethereal pastas, then Marea is the castle in which he solidified his throne. Diners sink into plush leather chairs as they await dishes like fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. Located on Central Park South, it’s ideally located near many attractions like MoMA, Lincoln Center, the Plaza Hotel, and of course, the park itself.
240 Central Park South
The most authentic restaurant in Little Italy is actually not in Little Italy anymore. As the borders of the neighborhood shrunk, this red sauce gem from 1943 has found itself in Chinatown but oversized portions of homemade ravioli remain as appealing as ever. Weekday lunches are busiest as it’s popular with City Hall workers, but weekends remain blissfully uncrowded. Sidle up to a booth with a large group and settle in for a delicious meal that won’t break the bank.
93 Baxter St
The menu at Locanda Verde is so good and varied, you’ll want to bring a group to sample as much of it as possible. Chef/owner Andrew Carmellini serves elevated rustic Italian dishes in a woodsy chic atmosphere on the ground floor of Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel. Burrata with broccoli rabe pesto, wood fired carrots with wild fennel, and orrecchiette with duck sausage are just a few dishes on the delectably inventive menu.
377 Greenwich St
For special occasions, it’s hard to beat the grandiose formality of Del Posto. With a cascading marble staircase and live piano music, it’s easy to feel transported back a century. Dinner is a very pricey five courses but come for lunch and get three of the same dishes like garganelli with ragu bolognese or branzino with cured pork jowl for about a third of the price. Save room for desserts that riff on Italian classics like crostata with a strawberry faro tart with lemon basil and ricotta crema.
85 10th Ave
Old-school Sicilian meets modern Italian cuisine at Chef Nico Daniele’s modern eatery. Exposed brick walls and chic dim lighting set the scene for glorious gut-busters like deep-fried burrata served in a spicy caponatina and Flintstonian cuts of meat like lamp chops in a pistachio mint pesto. Dessert is equally interesting with dishes like limoncello cheesecake.
209 4th Ave, Brooklyn
By Christopher Kompanek