Food & Drink

The 14 Best Italian Restaurants in NYC

Published On 01/20/2015 Published On 01/20/2015

Because [wild hand gestures] why not [wild hand gestures], here's a look [wild hand gestures] at the 14 best [wild hand gestures] Italian spots [wild hand gestures] in [wild hand gestures] all [wild hand gestures] of [wild hand gestures] NYC. 

Del Posto

Del Posto

Chelsea
The shining star of the Italian eats scene, this glamorous modern Italian spot from Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Chef Mark Ladner scored four stars from the NY Times and introduced people to the legendary 100 layer lasagne. If you have the money, you need to go here.

Frankies Spuntino

Frankies Spuntino

Carroll Gardens
One of the quintessential restaurants of the early 2000s Brooklyn dining scene, this neighborhood spot from two guys named Frank (Castronovo and Falcinelli) whips up seasonally driven fare like linguini with blue crab sauce, chili, and basil; sweet potato and sage ravioli in Parmesan broth; and all manner of crostini.
 

Marea

Marea

Midtown West
Another spot on the cha-cha-cha-ching end of the spectrum, this seafood-centered Michael White creation is beautiful in a glitzy Midtown way, and wins you over with carefully presented crudo, oysters, pastas (get the fusilli with red wine-braised octopus and bone marrow), and seasonal entrees from the sea, including a steamed wild bass with Gigante beans, pine nuts, clams, and saffron brodo.

Enoteca Maria

Enoteca Maria

St. George
This Staten Island place is only open from Wednesday-Sunday, and each night they’ve got a different Italian Grandmother in the kitchen cooking up what she does best -- this is unquestionably amazing.
 

Frank

Frank

East Village
A small, comfortable, charm-soaked spot in the East Village with more than 750 wines on hand, 16-year-old Frank still delivers quality eats like Uncle Micheal's Spiced Meatloaf (yep) with gravy (uh huh) and pancetta (there we go), and daily specials like black linguini with frutti di mare.

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Noho
Good for any time of the day, this spot rocks everything from amazing breakfast sandwiches, to quick coffee, to composed plates, all in a setting that feels like the set of a rustic Italian cooking show.
 

Franny’s

Franny's

Park Slope
The operation moved to a bigger spot to help accommodate the demand for its top-notch pizza, which you should definitely get, but don’t sleep on the rest of the menu either. Salt cod croquettes, and slow cooked leeks with grilled salame lead off before you dive into that pizza and maybe some pasta or polenta with shrimp, shelling beans, and chilies.

Flickr/Matthew Mendoza

Babbo

West Village
Batali’s flagship spot, this charming carriage house-turned-restaurant, does just about everything right -- it’s tough to get a spot, but you can occasionally wander in and grab a seat at the bar without a reservation and enjoy a bowl of chianti-stained pappardelle with wild boar ragu or fennel-dusted sweetbreads.
 

Chris Crowley

Tra Di Noi

Belmont
Although you won’t find anything much worth making a night of in Little Italy anymore, the better Little Italy in the Bronx still has plenty for you, including this excellent red sauce joint with red checkered linens that set the scene for great seafood and out-of-control lasagna Bolognese.

Flickr/Howard Walfish

Roberta's

Bushwick
Hipster scene maker or not, this place is damn good, the pizza is amazing, as is everything else they’re working up, like the orecchiette with pig tail ragu, ’nduja, and Pecorino Pepato; duck prosciutto; and spaghetti alla chitarra with broccoli rabe and Bianco Sardo.
 

Trattoria L’incontro

Astoria
This classic and classy Queens spot is known for having an incredible amount of daily specials and slick service, delivering fresh pastas (get the Tagliarini L'Incontro: fresh spaghetti w/ asparagus and peas, wrapped in prosciutto), seafood, and all manner of other standards done the right way.
 

al di la Trattoria Brooklyn

al di la Trattoria

Park Slope
Show up early or expect to wait in line at this rustic Northern Italian spot, largely because it's one of the best spots in the country for Italian food. Strap in for hits like the braised rabbit with creamy polenta and black olives, saltimbocca alla Romana, or tagliatelle al ragu.

L’Artusi

L'Artusi

West Village
The bi-level stunner never disappoints with a great wine list (take a peek into the wine room upstairs/drink some wine in the wine room upstairs), including large-format magnums and the like, along with excellent modern Italian fare like potato gnocchi with chanterelles and quail a la plancha with sweet potato, pancetta, currants, and sage.
 

Esca

ESCA

Hell’s Kitchen
Another in the Batali/Bastianich empire, this seafood-centric beauty (with a great outdoor garden in the summer) delivers with fantastic wines, interesting aperitivo, some amazingly fresh and varied crudo, pasta like the briny, creamy maccheroni alla chitarra with sea urchin and crabmeat, and main attractions like the salt baked cod cracked out of its salty tomb tableside.

Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Andrew Zimmer is Thrillist’s former NYC Editor and in a perfect world he would have pasta every damn day. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Del Posto 85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

Brought to you by infamous restaurateurs and chefs Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, and Mark Ladner, Del Posto is arguably one of the best Italian fine-dining spots in the city. The elegant interior features lots of black, red, and gold decor, as well as a candle-lit marble staircase in the center of the room, and the menu is a gold-mine, featuring delicious house-made pastas, salads, and beautiful cuts of meat.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Frankies 457 Spuntino 457 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (Carroll Gardens)

Headed up by two chefs named Frank (Falcinelli and Castronovo), Frankies 457 Spuntino in Carroll Gardens is a modern take on the old-school neighborhood Italian joint. Dishes are served family-style in a homey setting, and the outdoor garden area of the restaurant sets the tone for the menu: handmade pastas are Frankies' speciality, but instead of traditional heavy sauces and creams, the dishes are verdant, light, and delicate.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Marea 240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10023 (Midtown West)

Michael White’s seafood-centric destination off Central Park aims to impress with its elegant interior and high-end Italian ingredients. The house-made pastas will have you coming back for more, like the fusilli with red wine-braised octopus and bone marrow, an elevated homage to surf-n-turf with baby octopus braised in red wine and buttery Pat LaFrieda marrow.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Enoteca Maria 27 Hyatt St, Staten Island, NY 10301 (Staten Island)

Enoteca Maria, a true Staten Island trattoria, is only open from Wednesday-Sunday with a different Italian woman in the kitchen every night. The concept is incredibly unique and the food unquestionably delicious and authentic. Each day brings a new menu from a new region of Italy, and an excellent selection of wines to pair with your meal (all from small-batch producers in Italy). This is one dining experience you simply can't replicate anywhere else in the city.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Frank Restaurant 88 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

In 1998, Frank opened with the aim of bringing both authentic and affordable Italian grub to NYC. With rave reviews, it's grown over the years into a 60-seat resto with an insanely extensive wine list (read: over 750 Italian wines), outdoor patio, wine cellar, and the same simple eats that've had customers returning for years.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria 53 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012 (Noho)

At the sister restaurant of the famed Il Buco, you'll find a five-course, rustic Italian family-style menu that includes such options as chestnut agnolotti, baccala, and roasted pears. But you're really here for the lunch offerings, including the notorious porchetta panino, stuffed with hefty slices of pork and scented with rosemary. Be sure to check out the market, too, which functions as a salumeria, panetteria, formaggeria, and gelateria.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Franny's 348 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Franny's, a family-style restaurant, serves up pizzas made from sustainable, local ingredients that are Neapolitan in their balance and simplicity. The pies are cooked in two enormous wood-burning ovens that produce a perfect char on the crust, and all toppings are considered on a seasonal basis & added with a minimalistic touch. Appetizers and pasta dishes sprinkle the menu, but the pizzas are what Franny's has gained such a strong reputation for. Order one at the bar or from one of the cozy wooden tables in the dining area.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Babbo 110 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant is a charming former carriage house in the West Village serving high-end Italian fare with an elevated, chef-inspired twist on classic dishes. The pasta here is certainly worth the hype, like the pillowy potato gnocchi, cuddled in shreds of tender oxtail that’s been sautéed in a robust red wine and tomato-based ragu.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Trattoria Tra Di Noi 622 E 187th St, Bronx, NY 10458 (Bronx)

This Arthur Ave spot has all the makings of a classic Italian-American joint, from the red table cloths, to the friendly staff, to the perfect lasagna bolognese. Chef Marco, the mastermind behind Tra Di Noi, was born in Italy and has over 50 years of professional culinary experience. His primary focus is classic Italian dishes with fresh ingredients, beautiful presentation, and tons of flavor.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Roberta's Pizza 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)

Don’t be dissuaded by the gritty, graffiti-splattered cinder-block facade, Roberta’s is among New York’s most celebrated pizzerias, having made an international footprint (sauce print?) with visiting Europeans and local Bushwick loft-dwellers alike who endure long waits on nights and weekends for a table. Inside the red front door, you'll find a warm dining room and open kitchen where blistering discs of dough are pulled out of an Italian-made wood-burning oven and given names like Speckenwolf (mozzarella, crispy speck, cremini mushroom, red onion, oregano) and Millennium Falco (parmesan, pork sausage, red onion). The final product is Neapolitan-like in taste and structure, and since you probably won't have any leftovers, do yourself one last favor and buy a loaf of bread from the on-site bakery on your way out.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Trattoria L'incontro 21-76 31st St, Astoria, NY 11105 (Astoria)

Known by locals and outer-boroughers alike as Queens' best Italian, this destination restaurant is famous for its mega-list of specials piped through your waiter’s earpiece. The move is, unsurprisingly, to order one of the daily specials, but if none of those excite, equally delicious are the regular menu's fresh pasta dishes, like the Tagliarini L'Incontro: fresh spaghetti with asparagus and peas, wrapped in prosciutto.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. al di la Trattoria 248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Chef Anna Klinger's Al Di La Trattoria is a rustic ode to all things farm-to-table. Open since 1998, Al Di La has been a favorite of local Park Slopians thanks to its cozy atmosphere and family-friendly menu. Specializing in the cuisine of Venice and Northern Italy, this warm neighborhood spot doles out dishes using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, and also hosts a robust, eco-minded wine list (you can sample the goods while you dine in, or at the Al Di La Vino wine bar next door).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. L'Artusi 228 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

This bi-level stunner never disappoints, thanks to a great wine list (take a peek into the wine room upstairs/drink some wine in the wine room upstairs), including large-format magnums and the like, along with excellent modern Italian fare like potato gnocchi with chanterelles and quail a la plancha with sweet potato, pancetta, currants, and sage.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Esca 402 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

Another in the Batali/Bastianich empire, this seafood-centric beauty (with a great outdoor garden in the summer) delivers with fantastic wines, interesting aperitivo, some amazingly fresh and varied crudo, pasta like the briny, creamy Maccheroni alla chittarra with sea urchin and crabmeat, and main attractions like the salt baked cod cracked out of its salty tomb tableside.

Clickbait