Fine Dining Italian Restaurants Nyc – There is an almost symbiotic relationship between New York City and Italian food. Some people jokingly refer to The Big Apple, or La Gran Mela, as Italy’s twenty-first state. After all, you can’t throw a meatball in town without hitting a sign that says “Trattoria” or “Ristorante.”
Also, there is a great amount of variety. In addition to pan-Italian fare, there are Italian-American eateries, as well as regional restaurants serving the cuisine of Rome, Sicily, Sardinia, Venice, and Naples. There are fine dining versions, creative takes, and even salt-of-the-earth, no-frills versions of Italian fare.
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Because of this ubiquity, however, it also means that the city has many mediocre Italian restaurants. How to sort through them and get your gluten value without forking over a princely sum for bad food? The following eight spots, the best Italian restaurants in NYC, are good enough to make you shout “mamma mia” with delight.
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This Park Slope restaurant has anchored the corner of Fifth Avenue and Carroll Street since 1998. The phrase “al di la” in Italian means “the great outdoors,” and let’s hope it doesn’t live up to its name anytime soon. .
The restaurant focuses mostly on the cuisine of the Veneto, an under-appreciated region for food in northeastern Italy. You’ll also appreciate the Veneto after sticking your fork into a rich ragu with tagliatelle, black spaghetti with octopus confit and/or braised rabbit (served with creamy polenta).
About a decade ago, New York City diners fell hard for Roman cuisine—and that love hasn’t stopped since. Enter Camillo, a restaurant with its heart in the Eternal City and its feet in Brooklyn’s Prospect Lefferts Garden.
While Camilo’s specializes in pinsa, a Roman pizza that’s lighter and crisper than your average pie, don’t let that stop you from trying other dishes as well. The pastas are excellent, including a bowl of pappardelle filled with well-done carbonara and rich oxtail.
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The name comes from Count Camillo Negroni, whose name is now synonymous with that potent Italian cocktail. The restaurant – surprise, surprise – has a long list of variations on the Negroni.
Chef Ryan Hardy, who is also in the kitchen at his other two acclaimed Italian restaurants in NYC, Legacy Records and Pascuale Jones, cooks one of the best versions of the Roman pasta dish cacio e pepe this side of the Atlantic.
Located on the border of Soho and the West Village, Charlie Bird’s atmosphere is cool and casual, and hip-hop often blares through the speakers (Hardy was once a private chef for Jay-Z and Beyonce). There’s even a splurge-worthy ribeye for two — Hardy cut his teeth at the elegant restaurant inside Little Nell in Aspen and thus knows a thing or two about cooking big cuts of meat.
Restaurateur Danny Meyer’s attempt to inject some spirit into the heavily anesthetized Hudson Yards area is a welcome relief. Thank God they are here! The chef is Hilary Sterling, who sharpened her knife with Bobby Flay and Missy Robbins.
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The emphasis here is on open fire cooking. The pasta dishes here are excellent—the Roman rigatoni alla gricia, something you don’t often see outside of the Eternal City, is outstanding. But order anything cooked over that flame and your palate will be very happy: splurge on a whole wood-fired trout or bistecca alla Fiorentina.
I Sodi is the classic village restaurant that people dream of stumbling upon. Most people turn right on Christopher Street through the faint, obscure frosted-glass facade mid-block. Inside are white tablecloth tables and long bars.
Tuscan-born chef Rita Sodi, who also owns popular West Village spots Via Carotta, The Commerce Inn, and Bar Picellino, excels here with pasta dishes. Perfectly made cacio e pepe, butter-and-sage ravioli, and the legendary lasagna, which has so many layers it could be a geological specimen, are dishes that will draw you here again and again.
Owned and operated by three women (two in the kitchen, one front of house), King’s on the corner of Sixth Avenue and King Street serves up great Italian delights, usually in the form of pasta.
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The menu changes according to seasonal ingredients and the wishes of the chefs. There are only a handful of offerings, but expect your palate to be pampered by flavor-packed pastas like Malfatti dumplings stuffed with cheese and sage or long thick strands of pasta wrapped around a nut and chili sauce.
This Williamsburg gem was opened in 2016 by chef Missy Robbins, who has frequented Obama’s Spiaggia in Chicago, as well as Michelin inspectors from A Voss in Manhattan. It’s been the place to get your gluten fix since day one, and nabbing a table was as easy as getting a seat at Harlem’s Rav. And it’s almost still difficult. Lilia offers delicacies like her famous cacio e pepe fritters, luscious grilled lamb and grilled sardines.
But Lilia Cognosenti dives into the pasta dishes: tangy rigatoni diavola, saffron-spiked sheep’s milk-stuffed agnolotti, and malfadini with pink peppercorns. The dishes do what Italian food (should do best): stay deceptively simple with deep flavor strata.
Chef Stefano Cecchi worked in the kitchen alongside Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana in Modena, considered by some to be the best Italian restaurant on the planet. It’s no surprise that Secchi churns out mind-blowing pasta dishes at his first New York eatery at E. 20th Street and Broadway.
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The focus in Rezdôra is the region of Emilia-Romagna. Here you will find intensely flavored pasta dishes with whimsical names (“Grandma’s Walk through the Forest in Emilia”). There’s a short list of secondi or main courses, such as saliva-inducing steak, called “Cow Grazing in Emilia-Romagna.”
If you can’t tell, we’re very serious about our Italian food here in New York. If you want to get in on the action, come on our Greenwich Village Food Tour, where we visit some of our favorite Italian spots throughout the city!
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, the BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He is the author of three books, including “An Irredent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strange Relics in Italy’s Odest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here. New York, apart from its fame and glory, is also known as the ‘Italian American Capital’ for the Italian communities living here, which has led to some of the best Italian restaurants NYC has to offer!
Here’s a curated list, in no particular order, of the best Italian restaurants in NYC that you can’t afford to miss!!
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Launched in 2019, Rezdora takes one of the top spots for the best Italian restaurants in NYC. Widely popular for their pasta, the gnocco fritto is to die for. With roots established in Emilia-Romagna, the legacy continues in NYC today. Located at 27 E 20th Street, Rezdora operates every evening from 5pm to 10:30pm Tuesday through Friday with extended hours from 12pm to 2:30pm, and opens for weekend mornings at 11:30am. This is a 2021 Michelin star restaurant that you must visit while in town.
Another Michelin star restaurant on the list that ranks for the best Italian restaurants in NYC, Don Angie is known for its unique lasagna preparation that activates all your senses. Located at 103 Greenwich Avenue, Don Angie has been featured many places including Condé Nast Traveler and The New York Times. Some other must-try items on the menu here include stuffed garlic flatbread, pink snapper crudo, chrysanthemum salad, stracchino gnocchi pasta and buffalo milk caramel. One of the best places for some amazingly plated Instagram worthy food, it’s impossible to get a table here without a prior reservation, so make sure you book ahead!
A popular Italian restaurant that doesn’t take reservations, be around the block to show up and put your name down by 5pm for a table at a reasonable hour, otherwise the wait here can reach 3 hours! Drawing inspiration from a 17th-century villa in the hills near Florence, Via Carota celebrates old-world Italian culture and traditions, and lifestyle and decor – all through food. The Cacio E Pepe offered by Via Carota is outrageously delicious, and considered the best in town! Drop by any day from 11am to 11pm at 51 Grove Street to enjoy this slice of heaven on your plate.
Want to take your shot at meeting some celeb stars? Visit Carbone at 181 Thompson Street, and you might just run into the Kardashians or the Biebers! The spicy rigatoni carbone is a must-try staple and is definitely one on the list for the best.
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