Emilio's Ballato, Italian restaurant, New York City, NYC, Little Italy
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

The 26 best Italian restaurants in NYC

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

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Advertising

New York City has an abundance of excellent Italian restaurants, and we still can’t get enough. Our red sauce staples, fancy white tablecloth throwbacks, buzzy newcomers, pizza parlors and slick high-concept ventures make it so that we can sample myriad regions’ cuisine almost every night of the week 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

Time Out Market New York
  • Italian
  • DUMBO

Throughout the years, SA Hospitality Group has opened Italian-inspired restaurants, serving home-style cooking that has attracted a slick New York scene. But Felice Pasta Bar in Time Out Market is the team’s first foray into all things Brooklyn. We can’t wait to dig into another round of its reliable Tuscan fare.

Best Italian restaurants in NYC

  • Italian
  • Flatiron

One of NYC’s best restaurants, Rezdôra was bestowed with all manner of accolades with it first opened in 2019, and the awards keep coming. Its $98 regional pasta tasting it a terrific introduction to preparations influenced by the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, but lovely à la carte selections are available at lunch and dinner, as well

  • Italian
  • Cobble Hill

This neighborhood favorite started as a cafe and grew into a hot dinner spot a few years ago. It still attracts crowds for its smattering of tables in spite of its absence of booze and bathrooms. 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. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • Nolita
  • price 2 of 4

Emilio's is a special place with intoxicating appeal and a kind of throwback romance that dates to 1956. Its distressed walls are tightly arranged with framed prints illiminated by pretty chandeliers and perfunctory sconces that seem to sum up the spot's duality. Expect a huge veal parm, sausage and broccoli rabe, plenty of pasta and a wait. Emilio’s Ballato does not take reservations. 

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

Some NYC restaurants with powerfully desirable beginnings settle into easygoing, everynight-type status after a few ‘best of’ seasons, but Via Carota’s still a hot one even after first opening in 2014—notably enough to maybe make you want to change your plans if you seem to spy an open table en route elsewhere. Its endurance is due to menu items like the overflowing insalata verde, hand-chopped steak and subtly stunning pasta plates. 

Advertising
  • 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. 

  • Pizza
  • Midwood
  • price 2 of 4

Studiously crafted Neapolitan pies—thin crust with a pleasing char and a subtle Parmesan zing—are among the city's best. Di Fara’s dough is consistently as fresh as it gets, the basil is hand-torn to order and ingredients have been meticulously sourced for since 1965. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Bamonte's is an NYC classic that every red sauce-lover should visit at least once. It first opened in 1900 and still retains a lot of old-world appeal; the platonic ideal of a vintage Brooklyn Italian restaurant with all the menu items to match. 

  • Italian
  • Clinton Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Casually polished Roman’s is breezily impressive in a “who, me?” kind of way that will make your dining companions think you know all the best spots even if this is your one and only go-to. And it’s worth that designation in any case, with a casually elegant interior and largely locally-sourced ingredients on its Italian-influenced menus. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • West Village

Wife and husband-operation Don Angie seemed to zip to buzz with it first opened in 2017. The popular spot still has more interest in reservations than availability; one of those places you’ll need to electronically camp out for bookings at 9am a week in advance. Once you’re in take a spin on the pinwheel lasagna that helped it earn its following.

  • Italian
  • Gowanus
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

New to Brooklyn, Café Mars is a fun “unusual Italian restaurant” with uncommon attention to detail and inviting hospitality. You’ll sip a little splash of something presented with fancy glassware, as a welcome drink and choose from unique starters like jell-olives, pastas like baked potato gnocchi and large plates like the great smoked pork rib Parm. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • The Bronx
  • price 2 of 4

Arthur Avenue’s Zero Otto Nove (there are others in Manhattan and Westchester) is as darling as can be in the Bronx’s Little Italy. The decor walks a tightrope between generally Italian-inspired and themed to truly charming effect whether you’re on a date or a great big family outing. There’s enough on the menu to satiate tastes in either case. 

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

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.

Advertising
  • Pizza
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

Brooklyn’s pizza legacies are legion and, even at 17 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 newer offshoot, Baby Luc’s, but keep in mind that the lines wind there, too. 

  • Italian
  • Noho
  • price 3 of 4

Now in its 29th year, Il Buco’s still in demand, with exceedingly rustic charm cloaking a space that could double as a film set. Reflect its flattering light over house-made pasta options like torchio with dusk sausage, asparagus and pecorino and tagliatelle with black truffle and Parmigiano. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • The Bronx
  • price 2 of 4
Roberto鈥檚
Roberto鈥檚

 

A capital of Little Italy in the Bronx, Roberto’s has been delighting and satisfying guests for triple decades. Its exterior sets the stage for homey vibes inside, where the lengthy menu includes oodles of noodles, plenty of seafood, steak, rabbit and eggplant parm. 

  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

I Sodi first opened with Tuscan-influenced menus in the West Village in 2008. Its status as an NYC favorite is evident in the wait for reservations, even as it relocated to a slightly larger space nearby this summer. Burrata, lasagna, chicken, chops and steak are all on the menu.

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

Whether notions of trendiness beckon you like an influencer to a photo moment or set off no-go alarm bells, it is notable that Dante is relevant 108 years after opening. The on-and-off ‘world’s best’ bar has spuntini like cheese plates and salumi misti, a tidy pasta variety and mains like branzino and chicken Parm at an address suffused with character. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Like a lot of ultimately rewarding pursuits, Noodle Pudding is not easy to achieve: It does not take credit cards or reservations for smaller parties. But if you gather your cash and prepare for the wait (or book for a group!), wonderful rice balls, carpaccio and pasta varieties await. 

  • Ridgewood
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Velma is one part neat neighborhood bar, with big booths and a pool table up front, and one part throwback red sauce spot, replete with wood paneling, checkered tablecloths and family photos in the back. Its martinis are tops, the wine is nice and its pasta, chicken Parm and pizzas are a treat. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

Perennial people-watching spot Bar Primi has had two stretches of sidewalk seats since before it was necessary. Tables are topped outside and in with plentiful pasta picks, plus chicken, fish, steak and low-commitment antipasti to pair with your tipples. 

  • Italian
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4
Vesta Trattoria and Winebar
Vesta Trattoria and Winebar

Astoria’s Vesta is as lovely a place to evoke a whole mood over a glass of wine alone at the bar as it is to make a date, romantic or otherwise. Order a couple of apps for one or share pizzas and pasta like the gnocchi with 鈥嬧roasted leg of lamb, eggplant, tomato ragu & ricotta and wild boar lasagna. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 3 of 4

Click over to Carbone’s reservation platform and it’s a sea of red as deep as Sunday gravy, so just imagine how difficult it was back before it even had online bookings. It’s still clearly as sparkly a commodity as ever, but, with some effort, you might be able to nab a table as they’re made available seven days in advance. You’ll need at least that much time to choose between the spicy rigatoni vodka, the veal parm and the lobster fra diavolo in Carbone’s cinematic dining room. 

  • Pizza
  • Nolita
  • price 2 of 4

Follow the red-and-white striped awning on Mulberry Street into Rubirosa’s family-run space downtown. Its as cute as a commemorative plate inside, but the dinnerware here is occupied by crowd pleasing lists of antipasti, fritti, handmade pasta, panini, all manner of pizza configurations and a few familiar red sauce mains. 

Advertising
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Even with room for 70 inside and two strips of sidewalk seats outside, Lilia still gets packed after six 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.

  • 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. 

Recommended
    More on coolest neighborhoods
      You may also like
      You may also like
      Advertising