Photograph: Roxana MarroquinEmporio
  • Restaurants | Italian
  • price 2 of 4
  • Nolita
  • Recommended



3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

To keep their new restaurant from being just another generic downtown trattoria, the folks behind Emporio—the new Roman offshoot of Aurora in Brooklyn and Soho—seem to have borrowed elements from some of the most popular Italian spots in Manhattan. The menu, with a focus on small plates, is as sprawling as ’inoteca’s, with gentle prices (and a thrifty young clientele) that recall Max on Avenue B. The vaulted skylit ceiling hints at Scarpetta, while the rough-hewn communal wood tables and blazing wood-burning oven are pure Peasant. Though all of those homages don’t add up to much of a restaurant, the stylistic mash-up seems to have earned the place plenty of fans. Packed to capacity barely a month after opening (despite a still absent liquor license), the deafening dining room features the sort of lousy acoustics that keep older diners away. Bubbly young waitresses deliver plates of fried stuff (such as mozzarella-stuffed zucchini blossoms in a golden batter), seared stuff (lukewarm calamari with bright salsa verde) and cold stuff (whipped bacalao with polenta batons) that turn out to be only slightly better than what you’d find at a so-so neighborhood spot. While entres, like a nicely seasoned rib-eye steak with glazed cipolini and a bitter-greens salad, are solid enough, the thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas—one fine specimen, featuring creamy stracchino, is topped after baking with baby arugula and prosciutto—are a far better bet. The dough, which is also used to make a delicious dessert calzone oozing Nutella and ricotta, achieves a commendable balance of firm and pliant. Still, with the city suddenly awash in top-notch Neapolitan pies, decent dough may not be enough to distinguish Emporio.


231 Mott St
New York
Cross street:
between Prince and Spring Sts
Subway: N, R, W to Prince St; 6 to Spring St
Average main course: $16. AmEx, MC, V
Opening hours:
Daily 5pm–2am
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