Guide to NYC’s Must-Try Italian Restaurants

With such a wealth of delicacies and home cooking, New Yorks Italian eateries are well worth your time
With such a wealth of delicacies and home cooking, New York's Italian eateries are well worth your time | © Guillem Lopez / Alamy Stock Photo
Helen Armitage

Italian food abounds in New York: Manhattan’s Little Italy is where the Feast of San Gennaro – an annual celebration of Italian American culture – takes place. You can sample Florentine cuisine in a renovated pharmacy at Brooklyn’s Locanda Vini e Olii, or feast on homemade pasta from Rosemary’s in Greenwich Village with its own rooftop garden. Here’s our guide to some of New York’s best Italian restaurants.

1. Locanda Vini e Olii

Restaurant, Italian

Locanda Vini e Olii is located in a restored pharmacy, which dates back more than 100 years. Locanda is run by general manager Michael Schall, experienced sommelier Rocco Spagnardi and executive chef Michele Baldacci, who was raised in Florence and has cooked at some of its best restaurants. Baldacci’s love of traditional, rustic Florentine cuisine shines through Locanda’s tempting menu with dishes like the lamb and potato tortelli with fresh spring peas and pancetta, and the grilled duck breast served with a fig and shallot marmalade and chickpeas.

2. Rosemary’s

Restaurant, Bakery, Italian

Rosemary’s is a delightful restaurant located in a former bakery in the heart of Greenwich Village with a stylish design featuring wooden rafters, exposed brick and terracotta tiling. Owned by restaurateur Carlos Suarez, the restaurant is named after his mother and inspired her Tuscan heritage; it even has its own rooftop garden which grows a number of herbs and other produce. Executive chef Wade Moises creates authentic Italian dishes inspired by seasonal produce harvested from Rosemary’s garden, which includes house-made pastas and foccacia. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Rosemary’s simple menu includes classics like minestrone soup and more modern inventions such as espresso-glazed pork ribs with apple radish slaw. For a hearty main try the skirt steak with guanciale sauce, fingerling potatoes and arugula.

3. Bocca Restaurant & Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Italian

Bocca Restaurant and Bar is a stylish venue featuring retro artworks and beautiful, cozy window-side table seating. With an emphasis on the cuisine of Rome, chef James Corona uses local produce sourced from neighboring Union Square Greenmarket and uses imported DOP (protected designation of origin) goods sourced direct from Italy. Bocca’s menu features a contemporary take on Italian cuisine with modern, global influences. Start with the appetizing roasted bone marrow and sea urchin with a citrus gremolata and crostini, or the house-made lobster cannelloni with a saffron emulsion. Tempting mains include a crispy skinned Skuna Bay salmon served with carrot puree, red chard and tarragon salsa verda, and the dessert menu includes classics like tiramisu and rustic apple tart.

4. Etcetera Etcetera

Restaurant, Italian

Close to the hustle and bustle of Broadway and the vibrant Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood, Etcetera Etcetera is a thoroughly modern Italian restaurant. It was established by restaurateur Daniele Kucera who grew up in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Etcetera Etcetera is perfect for post-theater dinners and boasts a contemporary, sleek and stylish interior. There’s also outdoor patio seating with views over buzzing West 44th Street for summer months. Guests rave about the restaurant’s homemade basil spaghetti with hearty chunks of crab and sweet roasted peppers and the grilled skirt steak served in a tangy lemon, parsley and garlic sauce.

5. Da Umberto

Restaurant, Italian

Da Umberto is a classy, refined restaurant which combines old European charm with an urbane and bustling setting. Antipasti and primi offerings include carpaccio, raw prime beef served with parmigiano and white truffle essence, and rigatoni in a sausage ragu with tomato and creamy ricotta cheese. Mains include the capricciosa, a dish of breaded chicken with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and a balsamic syrup. A different risotto is prepared each day at Da Umberto.

6. Palma

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood

Palma is a delightfully rustic restaurant with a picturesque courtyard garden. It feels more like a countryside cottage than a metropolitan restaurant and even has its own two-floor carriage house dating back to 1810 available for private dining parties. Lovers of seafood will appreciate Palma’s fish-focused organic menu with dishes like gamberoni, spaghetti with Maine lobster in a cherry tomato sauce, and grilled Italian sea bass served with spinach and roast potatoes. Finish with a tempting dessert like the buffalo ricotta cheesecake, chocolate lava cake or a choice of three gelato – vanilla, dark chocolate or salted caramel.

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