New Yorkers love Italian food! From casual trattorias to iconic red sauce institutions, NYC is filled with places that serve authentic Italian fare. Below are our picks of our favorites in each borough of the city.
Warm and rustic, this Upper East Side spot transports diners back to Europe. Start your meal with sheep’s ricotta cheese with black truffle honey bruschetta as an appetizer, followed by pasta dishes like Ragu Tagliolini for mains.
Carroll Gardens pizza spot Mark Iacono has been creating his delicious pizza since he was twelve, using his classic brick oven to produce 19-inch cheese pies (Cheese, White & Everything), calzones & signature sauce that may cause you to drink out of a bowl – not forgetting its BYOB policy for even greater meal enjoyment!
Thin, blistered crust is precisely what one would expect from a legendary pizza place: cracker-thin with just the right combination of crispiness and charring that leaves your lips puckered with flavor after every bite. It has just enough salty sweetness balanced with acidity to balance out rich cheeses and vegetables, while giant bunches of basil add aromatic freshness that rounds off this masterpiece of culinary perfection.
This cozy 30-seat restaurant doesn’t accept reservations; when arriving early, you’ll be met by a line stretching from its velvet rope out onto its brownstone stoop in front. Be prepared to wait an hour or more if necessary – trust us, it will be worth it!
Michael White’s upscale-casual Italian restaurant recreates the casual and rustic cuisine of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy. The menu offers cured meats, handcrafted pasta, and an extensive array of grilled dishes. Chef White excels at turning rustic cuisine into refined comfort food; his menu does not disappoint!
Bread basket: Outstanding The bread basket features delicious ciabatta with its soft, salty crust and delightful salty center, while antipasti such as the ricotta-fig bruschetta are equally enjoyable, along with carciofi (fried artichokes). Spaghettini with lobster is excellent for those seeking simple yet elegant dining, while its counterpart – squid ink pasta with shrimp is something not to be missed!
Check out some hearty dishes to add variety, such as the plump cappelletti filled with truffled ricotta and prosciutto in a pool of butter ($24). Fusilli with umami Neopolitan pork shoulder ragu and quenelle robiola cheese is an outstanding dish; don’t forget to ask about their extensive wine list when selecting your container! Don’t forget a glass of Lambrusco, too – they have something suitable!
Osteria Morini offers a cozy environment, though it may feel quite cramped on busy nights. But its blocky farm-style tables and wood rafters in the ceiling add an authentic old-world atmosphere that gives it character and makes this restaurant one of the best osterias.
Wine List and Service Excellence The wine list at this restaurant is extensive, and the staff is highly knowledgeable. There are multiple wines by the glass available, and bottles may even be purchased to take home; prices are incredibly reasonable while the quality of the product remains exceptional. Friendly Service The restaurant welcomes children as guests on date nights or gatherings of friends, with menu items such as risotto and gnocchi being highlights of your experience here.
Gaia Italian Cafe
This charming and affordable Italian cafe will open this week at 226 East Third Street (Aves B and C), serving lunch only until owner Gaia Bagnasacco and chef Kevin Espinal settle into their new surroundings. Eventually, they hope to offer dinner service as well.
Gaia Italian Cafe’s owner, Bagnasacco, exudes charm as she works tirelessly for those she serves. Baking her bread and pastries and infusing each dish with traditional Mediterranean flavors is the a hallmark of quality cuisine – yet prices at the counter where orders can be placed rarely exceed $15!
Bagnasacco was astounded to find Americans eating quickly, often alone and with little regard for quality or flavor. She set out to show them the value of community-focused dining by opening up her eponymous spot in New York.
She and her longtime sous chef have found the ideal storefront on East Third Street to call home: intimate yet serene with excellent acoustics and lighting for conversational settings, offering everything from small plates to entrees at highly competitive prices.
Don’t let Gaia fool you; her food may be fantastic, but don’t mistakenly believe all are welcome here. Her uncompromising rules can sometimes prove challenging to guests. She may become short with customers who do not understand her approach and dismiss criticism about being rude; nevertheless, Gaia knows they’re doing excellent work, and that’s all that matters to her.
West Village trattoria Casa Mia offers seasonal specials, homemade pasta, simple decor at reasonable prices, an impressive wine list, and satisfying portions. Service is outstanding, and its specialty spinach gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce is delightful, making this an ideal place for dining with groups.
Osterias are casual family-owned restaurants serving regional fare. While these establishments may be small and crowded, their food is authentic and affordable – perfect for quick dinners in the city. Their staff is attentive, with friendly waiters offering classic pasta dishes to seafood and meat specialties alongside cocktails and desserts.
The combination of sourdough bread with olive oil was delightful. The heirloom tomatoes had an ideal balance between sweetness and tartness, as was the fish fritto misto. Pear, caprese, and apple salads were equally enjoyable, though some may find them too sweet for my tastes.
Attracts a large local crowd. It was decorated with wood farm tables and candles on exposed brick walls. Menu changes frequently, with pasta staples and seafood specials being ever-popular choices. Service is friendly and attentive while prices are fair; waiters know their wine selection well, helping select one to complement each meal. Gnocchi and Tagliatelle dishes stand out, along with delicious chocolate mousse and panna cotta dessert offerings, making this restaurant an excellent option if searching near me for Italian dining experiences in NYC.
Marea combines two seemingly disparate worlds: high-end Italian seafood and housemade pasta in an elegant Central Park South setting. Though its interior tends to lean formal, its service remains relaxed and friendly–even when filled with power crowds such as tall silver-haired men in blue blazers mingle with young revelers wearing button-downs with the kind of swagger one might expect from people just exiting an expense account dinner or private equity meet-and-greet event.
Menu options include Italian cuisine, Japanese seafood, and Nantucket-sourced chicken. One of the top pasta dishes at Fusilli with Octopus and Bone Marrow is one of its kind: tender octopus in an irresistibly flavorful red wine-spiked sauce makes this trip worthwhile alone!
Try the Ricci crostini, a delicious combination of burrata cheese and grilled octopus that’s simple yet irresistibly satisfying. Other appetizers, like the article antipasto with lobster and glowing green basil seeds, don’t quite reach that same delight.
Marea has adjusted its menu during the pandemic by moving towards an a la carte option instead of their $128 dinner set menu option, yet still provides large half portions of noodles and pasta dishes that make their pricing seem more reasonable compared to similar competing venues that have not cut prices as drastically as Marea has done.
Marea is known for its delicious seafood, pasta dishes, and sophisticated steakhouse cuisine. Perfect for romantic dates or casual lunch gatherings – their staff is exceptionally professional yet friendly, and the food is fresh and delectable, making for an exceptional dining experience – not cheap, but certainly worth every penny.