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Don Angie
Photograph: Ashley Sears

The 18 best Italian restaurants in NYC

Including red sauce joints, fine dining and weeknight pizza and pasta spots

Written by
Time Out contributors
,
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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New York City has an abundance of excellent Italian restaurants. Half the people in your group chat probably have favorites in your neighborhood and theirs, we are simply so spoiled for variety. Our red sauce staples, fancy white tablecloth throwbacks, buzzy newcomers, pizza parlors and slick high-concept ventures make it so that we can sample different Italian dishes every night for years and years and never run out of options. These are only the best to get you started, and keep you coming back. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best Italian restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Flatiron

One of the best restaurants in the city, Rezdôra was bestowed with all manner of accolades with it first opened in 2019 and the awards keep coming. Though we implore you to reserve the $95 regional pasta tasting (with the $55 wine pairing, as long as you’re here!), lobster, mushroom, crab and sausage pasta dishes inspired by the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy are lovely à la carte as well.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village

Dimly illuminated by candles and globe lights at night, this romantic corner trattoria turns out modern Italian-American plates in its cozy dining room. Its unique, pinwheel take on lasagna helped Don Angie earn its following, and the garganelli gigante is an order to look forward to while you sip Italian gin and Campari-based cocktails.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

You’d be forgiven for believing that a fondness for Via Carota is an NYC residency requirement, given its nightly wait times. Its soulful Italian plates—at once rustic, sophisticated and heart-swelling—are simple and sophisticated. Via Carota’s pastas are satisfying, too, and we also always enjoy the chopped steak and the cult-favorite high-piled salad.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 3 of 4

Click over to Carbone’s reservation platform and it’s a sea of red, so just imagine how difficult it was back before it even had online bookings. It’s still clearly as buzzy as ever, but, with some effort, you will be able to nab a table as they’re made available seven days in advance. The harder part is choosing between the spicy rigatoni vodka, the veal parm and the lobster Fra Diavolo in Carbone’s cinematic dining room. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Cobble Hill

This neighborhood favorite started as a cafe and grew into a hot dinner spot that caught fire by word of mouth a few years ago and still attracts crowds for its smattering of tables. Lillo’s lasagna ragu is better than grandmom used to make, its ideally textured and sauced meatballs are marvelous and its fettuccine with speck in Parmesan cream sauce is almost too rich to fully lodge in your memory. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Noho
  • price 3 of 4

The old-world charm of well-worn communal tables, dangling copper cookware and flickering lamps may help explain why a 26-year-old restaurant is still tough to get into on a Saturday night. Seasonal produce shapes the menu of executive chef Roger Martinez. Dunk the warm country bread in Umbrian, Ligurian and Sicilian olive oils produced exclusively for Il Buco. You’ll have no trouble finding a wine to match your meal; Il Buco’s list is one of the city’s best.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Park Slope
  • price 2 of 4

Aspiring restaurateurs in Park Slope should study this convivial Fifth Avenue staple before their own ribbon cutting ceremonies. Though it opened in 1998, Al di Là remains unsurpassed in the neighborhood. Excellent Northern Italian plates include the tagliatelle ragu, black spaghetti with octopus ragu and the braised rabbit. 

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Midwood
  • price 2 of 4

Studiously crafted Neapolitan pies—cracker-thin crust with a pleasing char and a subtle Parmesan zing—are widely considered among the city's best. Its dough is consistently as fresh as it gets, the basil is hand-torn to order and ingredients have been meticulously sourced for 56 years.

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Frankies 457 Spuntino
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 1 of 4

This casual spuntino was an instant classic when it debuted in Carroll Gardens in 2004. Of course, it's changed over the years, most notably by absorbing another now dearly departed neighborhood favorite, Prime Meats. Frankies’ wine list is a mile long, its cocktails are uniformly terrific, and we’ve recently enjoyed the cavatelli with hot sausage and browned sage butter and the chicken Parm.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Nolita
  • price 2 of 4

Pasquale Jones’ attainably-priced wine list and wood-fired pies, including the best in class clam variety with briny littlenecks, parsley and a garlicky cream, is a great spot to pop into any night of the week. It’s also (thank goodness!) a little easier to do so than at some of its contemporaries. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

Brooklyn’s pizza legacies are legion and, even at 15 years old, Lucali is a relatively new addition to the canon. (We have some pretty historic pies here!) We still see people start lining up for a chance at tables about an hour before it opens, and then wait for hours before they can finally sit down for BYOB and highly regarded, peak-form pizza. If you can’t abide that kind of time, you can always try your luck nearby at Lucali’s recently opened offshoot, Baby Luc’s, but keep in mind that the lines wind there, too. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

I Sodi’s homey, Tuscan-inspired menu favors simple dishes like a delicious cacio e pepe and a lemony artichoke salad with shaved Parmigiano. Its intimate space is as conducive to dining alone at the bar as it is to breaking bread with friends. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

This fine dining ode to the Italian coast by way of Midtown is ideally suited for expense account dinners when you’re aiming to impress. Neither too cool for the room nor uber-stuffy, it nicely splits the difference as a nice choice for whomever you might be sharing a meal with. Its seafood is key, so consider the lobster with burrata and eggplant, fusilli with octopus and bone marrow and the seared scallops.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

Come for the negronis and stay for the fun vibes and small plates. It's the simple, pleasure-seeking ideology that embodies Dante, the beloved MacDougal Street Italian café turned small plates restaurant and cocktail bar in 2015.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

Andrew Carmellini’s Bowery venture doesn’t just go small—he goes primi. Piccolini, antipasti and house-made pastas (ruffled-bell campanelle, ear-shaped orecchiette) all share menu real estate with grass-fed hanger steak, grilled branzino and lemon chicken.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Nolita
  • price 2 of 4

This family-run restaurant helped usher in Mulberry Street's red-sauce revival, offering simple, thin-crust pizzas and classic red-sauce fare. Rubirosa's crisp yet pliable pies have a delicate char and a small ring of crackerlike crust around the edges. We've yet to go wrong with the no-frills vodka rendition, which boasts a layer of creamy, booze-spiked tomato sauce and a gooey patchwork of fresh mozzarella.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Even with room for 70 inside and two strips of sidewalk seats outside, Lilia still gets packed after five years of serving its area’s finest pasta program. Its brick and wood-lined interior is casually elegant, and the open kitchen turns out hits like spaghetti with anchovies and a wood-fired leg of lamb with Roman spices.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

With its long marble bar, mere five tables and menu of choice Italian nibbles, Gottino isn't so much a restaurant as a very well-accoutred wine bar. Divided into salumi and cheese on one side, and prepared bites on the other, the menu provides multiple opportunities for memorable bites. Thick-cut cacciatorini luxuriates in a shallow pool of olive oil infused with oregano and garlic, while in another wee dish, sardines keep company with fennel, pine nuts and raisins.

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