Must-Try

The 8 Hottest New Italian Restaurants in NYC

By Kelly Dobkin  |  September 3, 2014
Credit: Alice Gao

Italian cuisine remains the most popular type of food in NYC year after year. Why? It's delicious and soulful yet minimalist; highlighting high-quality ingredients on each plate without overcomplicated additions. Still, these days, New Yorkers expect more than just a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs from their Italian restaurants. With more and more chefs exploring cuisine from the country's various regions (not to mention the Italian-American throwback trend), the diversity of Italian food available has never been greater. This fall, you can expect a few more new eateries to come your way, including Village spot Via Carota from chef couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi (coming later in September) and the untitled High Line project from the Torrisi gang (look for it in early October). But for now, check out eight of the hottest new Italian restaurants in town.

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  • Credit: Clay Williams

    Marta

    Danny Meyer and Maialino's Nick Anderer are behind this Roman-inspired pizzeria, which also focuses on the Italian tradition of cooking alle brace, or over embers. This new Italian eatery opens this week in the Martha Washington Hotel with open-kitchen counter seating for a glimpse of the pizza-making action.

    Must-try dish: Any of the pizzas, polpettine de tagliatelle (fried pasta meatballs), trout saltimbocca

    Insider tip: The restaurant will be open continuously throughout the day as part of the hotel, so check it out for brunch too.

    29 E. 29th St.; 212-651-3800

  • Credit: Jacque Burke

    Bar Primi

    This Downtown Italian eatery from chef Andrew Carmellini, Luke Ostrom, Josh Pickard and Sal Lamboglia in the former Peels space is years in the making for Carmellini, who had long dreamed of opening a simple, pasta-focused restaurant. He even trademarked the name Bar Primi seven years back. Now Carmellini and Lamboglia's plates of simple homemade pasta like bucatini, cavatelli and fiore de carciofi are making this one of the most coveted tables in town. 

    Must-try dish: Fiore di carciofi with smoked bacon, pecorino 

    Insider tip: The spot is now open for brunch and offers sidewalk seating.

    325 Bowery; 212-220-9100

  • Corkbuzz Chelsea Market

    Master Sommelier Laura Maniec recently expanded her Corkbuzz Wine Studio concept westward, opening an outpost inside Chelsea Market and installing chef Missy Robbins (formerly of A Voce) in the kitchen. The combo of unique and rare vintages sourced from around the country and Italian-inspired small plates by Robbins make it a must-try.

    Must-try dish: Gnocco fritto with salami; spicy clams in Calabrian chile butter

    Insider tip: Early evening when the market thins out is the best time to snag a seat.

    75 Ninth Ave. (Center of Chelsea Market); 646-237-4847

  • Barchetta

    Chef and seafood expert Dave Pasternack of Esca and LDV Hospitality's John Meadow run this casual seafood trattoria in West Chelsea. Italian for "little boat," Barchetta's concept focuses on super-fresh ingredients including local seafood prepared with an Italian twist.

    Must-try dish: Crudo flights, fettucine with lobster pasta

    Insider tip: The menu changes frequently due to what's freshest, so make sure to get tips from your server on what to order.

    461 W. 23rd St.; 212-255-7400

  • Petaluma

    ​This 28-year old UES Italian eatery recently got a facelift and a new chef and menu to boot. Former Yardbird (Miami) chef CJ Bivona is now at the helm and is breathing new life into the kitchen by drawing from his tried and true family recipes. 

    Must-try dish: Udon carbonara, any of the pizzas, fried pasta

    Insider tip: Outdoor seating and a private party space are now available as well.

    1356 First Ave.; 212-772-8800

  • Credit: Contrada

    Contrada

    ​The space that once housed Calliope in the East Village retooled earlier this spring and reopened as this trendy neighborhood Italian with outdoor seating. Expect handmade pastas, crudos and large plates of steak, seafood and more.

    Must-try dish: Bavette steak, agnolotti dal plin, roasted prawns

    Insider tip: There's a daily happy hour from 4-7 PM offering small bites for under $6 and discounted wine.

    84 E. Fourth St.; 212-260-8484

  • Torino

    This new Italian trattoria from restaurateur David Sasson (BarbouniaMarseille) and consulting chef Carlo Bigi (Il PrincipeSant Ambroeus), recently opened in Midtown, serving a mix of dishes from both Northern and Southern Italy in an expansive space.

    Must-try dish: Fried pizzas, terrina di polpo

    Insider tip: Snag at seat at the curvy bar in front of the open kitchen for the best view of the action.

    1700 Broadway; 212-757-2233

  • Pasta Shop

    This Bushwick Italian near the Jefferson L train stop lets you eat pasta like you would your ramen — all at counter-bar seating. The Roman owner has imported ingredients from both Tuscany and locally from Long Island to create classics like bucatini all'Amatriciana and cacio e pepe as well as a few appetizers.

    Must-try dish: Pici al funghi, tagliatelle al ragu, any of the meatballs (including ones made from eggplant)

    Insider tip: The spot is BYO, so make sure you drop by the wine shop first.

    234 Starr St., Brooklyn; 718-708-5610