Best new Italian: Scarpetta

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OTHER NOMINEES: Convivio, L'Artusi, Sorella

Scott Conant's comeback was one of last year's sunnier culinary stories. After a hiatus from NYC, the former Alto and L'Impero chef reclaimed his corona. At Scarpetta, he revives his classics (creamy truffled polenta with a stewy wild mushroom fricassee) and fashions new ones (strands of black maccheroni curled around mussels and silky uni)—don't ever say you're not sentimental. Scarpetta 355 W 14th St at Ninth Ave (212-691-0555)

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