This neighborhood favorite started out as a cafe and became a popular place to dine a few years ago. It still draws crowds for its few tables, despite the absence of drinks and bathrooms. Lillo's lasagna ragout is better than the one grandma made, their meatballs with an ideal texture and sauce are wonderful and their fettuccine with a touch of Parmesan cream sauce are almost too rich to stay in the memory. Aspiring restaurateurs in Park Slope should study this pleasant Fifth Avenue staple before their own opening ceremony.
Although it opened its doors in 1998, Al Di Là is still second to none in the neighborhood. Excellent Northern Italian dishes include ragù noodles, black spaghetti with octopus ragout and braised rabbit. Bamonte's is a New York classic that every red sauce lover should visit at least once. It opened its doors for the first time in 1900 and still retains a great old world appeal; the platonic ideal of a vintage Italian restaurant in Brooklyn with all the dishes on the menu at its height.
Now in its 28th edition, Il Buco is as in demand as ever, with an extremely rustic charm that hides a space that could also function as a film set. It reflects its flattering light on homemade pasta options, such as torchio with sausage at dusk, asparagus and pecorino, and noodles with black truffle and parmesan. Whether the notions of fashion attract you, like an influencer, to a photographic moment or sound forbidden alarms, it's remarkable that Dante is relevant 107 years after its premiere. The “best in the world” intermittent bar offers cheese dishes such as Spuntini and Salumi Misti, a variety of delicious pasta, and main courses such as branzino and chicken parmesana, in a place full of character.
Even with space for 70 people inside and two strips of sidewalk seating outside, Lilia is still packing after six years serving the best pasta program in the area. Its brick and wood interior is informally elegant, and the open kitchen offers hits such as spaghetti with anchovies and a wood-fired leg of lamb with Roman spices. Fortunately, however, this isn't a competition and both Italian and Italian-American restaurants coexist in this city with cuisines that constantly inspire each other. While Bamonte's, in Williamsburg, may be your favorite destination when you want a creamy vodka penne, if you're looking for more regional specialties, you might want to look for restaurants that offer a stronger dining experience centered on Italy.
Here are the best Italian restaurants in New York. After initially starting as a pop-up store, the physical location of Forsythia, on the Lower East Side, opened last November. Here, the executive chef and owner, Jacob Siwak, and his business partner, Brian Maxwell, specialize in Roman comfort food and the place prides itself on its refined Italian flavors. The offer includes a variety of handmade pasta and seasonal ingredients typical of central Italy, such as the tonnareli alla gricia (with guanciale, pecorino Romano and black pepper) and the polpetta dal Santo Palato, a braised and then fried rib meatball served with mashed potatoes and leek.
In addition to the outdoor dining room and an intimate dining room with seating for 20 people, guests are encouraged to enjoy the multi-purpose pasta room, which serves as a workplace for their pasta chef during the day and an extension of their evening seating at night. Ai Fiori, in the city center, combines the atmosphere of a Milanese place where lunches are served with the elegant fish-based menu of a haute cuisine restaurant on the Amalfi Coast. It's an unexpected combination, but it works, and just as the elegant restaurants of Milan and Amalfi aren't limited by the borders of Italy when it comes to luxury, this destination also strays away from Italian ingredients when it means enhancing a dish like raw fluke with the addition of sturgeon caviar. Pasta and risotto offerings, on the other hand, can be garnished with a flurry of white or black truffles, if the season allows.
And while fish is the main attraction here, there's also a selection of meat dishes to choose from, such as the pan-roasted veal chop with plum mustard. After years in haute cuisine, including five at Spiaggia in Chicago, followed by a stay at the award-winning A Voce and A Voce in Manhattan, James Beard Award-nominated chef Missy Robbins has launched her own with Lilia, a bright and spacious restaurant in Williamsburg. With handmade pasta and wood-cooked meats and seafood, the Robbins menu covers Italy from north to south and is based on the powerful flavors of the northern regions, with agnolotti stuffed with cheese with sheep's milk with saffron, dried tomato and honey, while transmitting the country's coastal flavors through black sea bass with green sauce and charcoal roasted potatoes. During the day, when the restaurant is closed, visit the adjacent Lilia Caffe, which serves coffee, sandwiches and sweets throughout the day.
Chef Stefano Secchi brings the northern Emilia Romagna region to New York with Rezêra, a rustic restaurant that offers regional and seasonal dishes. The restaurant specializes in homemade pasta with dishes that range from classic flavors such as ragù tagliolini to more complex ones, such as the “nuovo dolcetto scherzetto” with stuffed zucchini, whole wheat butter, sage and amaretti. There is also an entire section dedicated to appetizer-type cheeses, where products such as truffle burrata and fresh buffalo mozzarella appear. The restaurant also offers a regional pasta tasting menu with a vegetarian option.
With a focus on its Italian roots, the Italian-American vision of the menu includes Italian classics such as vitello tonnato (spicy veal tartar and tuna carpaccio) and basic American dishes such as pasta cacciatore (braised chicken with mezcal, nduja and Sicilian olives). From rustic Tuscan dishes to tasty Sicilian specialties, this list of restaurants with seating service brings together the best of the best, both the new and the old, in New York City right now. Although New York is full of Italian restaurants (stay away from them, Olive Garden), thanks to the distance and time they spend away from home, the food they serve is clearly Italian-American, since it has evolved from its origins to become a completely new cuisine. Roberto's modern Italian food, served on a side street away from the hustle and bustle of Little Italy in the Bronx, is a pleasant contrast to the Italian-American food with red sauce that is common in the neighborhood.