Best Italian Restaurants in NYC

March 13, 2018
by Zagat Staff

There’s a lot of Italian food in New York, but not all of it is worth your time. When you’re looking for the best of the best - whether you’re planning a special occasion or just want to eat some great pasta - consult this guide.

Italian · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

"Excellence abounds" at Michael White’s Italian "star" on Central Park South, where the "adventurous" seafood and "heavenly" housemade pastas "never fail to wow" ; the "impeccable" service matches the "sleek" , "convivial" setting – as well as the "power broker" prices (lunchtime set menus are a comparative "steal" ).
Trattoria L'incontro
Italian · Astoria · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.5

This "special-occasion" Italian is a borough "institution" thanks to its "huge" menu of "divine" "traditional" dishes, plus a specials list "longer than the Sunday Times" ( "rattled off" by "patient" waiters); "multigenerational families" fill the "old-school" surrounds, where chef Rocco Sacramone can often be found "greeting each table."
Italian · Gramercy Park · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

"Danny Meyer does things right, as usual" at this "love song to Rome" overlooking Gramercy Park, where "sublime" farm-to-table Italian fare and "stellar wines" come in "delightful" , "buzzing" digs via a "welcoming" pro staff; scoring a reservation can be "challenging" (though the "bustling" front bar welcomes "drop-ins" ), and while prices run "high" , at least "the tip is included."
Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca
Italian · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

"Still a bastion of fine Italian dining" , this Village "star" continues to "impress" with "phenomenal" pastas and other "exceptional" dishes delivered by a "polished" team in "warm" (if "boisterous" ) carriage house digs; yes, it’s "a pain to get a table" and tabs run "high" , but to most the "always-spot-on" experience is "well worth it."
Ai Fiori
Italian · West 30s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

A "Michael White triumph" on the second floor of the Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel, this "classy" Italian delivers Riviera-inspired dishes, including "sublime" pastas, via a "polished, unobtrusive" crew; the "glamorous" setting feels "so magical" , you almost don’t mind the "astronomical" tab, especially if it’s a "special occasion."
I Sodi
Italian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

"Incredible pastas" and other "truly authentic" Tuscan dishes are "made with love" at this "quaint" West Villager, where the "well-put-together wine list" and "superb" Negronis boost the "neighborly" vibes; since it’s "always busy" , the "only drawback" is a "squished" space where it’s "tough to get a table."
Italian · East 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

Lidia Bastianich "does it right" at this "grown-up" Midtowner providing "exquisite" Italian cuisine, including "delicate" pastas, via a "gracious" staff in "elegant" townhouse surrounds; it’s "nothing but a delight" , at least until the check comes – though you really "can’t lose" with the "bargain" lunch prix fixe.
al di la Trattoria
Italian · Park Slope · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

"Not much changes" yet it "always feels special" at this Park Slope "classic" that earns "Brooklynite love" with its "superb" Venetian fare, "decent prices" and "lively" , "warm" vibe; yes, the "no-rez policy" and inevitable "wait" are a "drag" , but getting into the "wine bar annex" is "easier" – or there's always a "more civilized" , rarely crowded lunch.
Emilio's Ballato
Italian · NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

The "food sings" at this "back-in-the-day" NoLita "red-sauce" joint that "looks like an Italian farmhouse hallway" and is "one of the last of a breed" (it's been around since 1956); owner Emilio is "always there" , and his presence "makes the evening complete."
Piccola Venezia
Italian · Astoria · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.4

The "classic" Northern Italian cooking is "superb" and "they’ll make whatever you want" at this Astoria "oldie but goodie" that’s kept "regulars returning" "for generations" ; if "the decor needs a redo" , that’s "easy to overlook" given "fabulous" service from a staff out of "central casting."
Via Carota
Italian · West Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

Jody Williams (Buvette) and Rita Sodi (I Sodi) put out "distinctive" , "dream" -worthy dishes (including "super-creative" vegetables) at this West Village Italian, where the rustic setting will transport you "miles from the city" ; "excellent" cocktails add to the "magic" – just "go early" as it’s often "packed" and doesn’t take reservations.
Locanda Verde
Italian · TriBeCa · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.1

"Energetic" is the word on chef Andrew Carmellini’s "grand-slam" TriBeCa Italian offering a "delectable" , all-day menu to a "swinging" clientele basking in its "trendiness factor" ; despite an "overcrowded" , somewhat "frantic" scene at prime times, reservations can still be "hard to get."
il Buco
Italian · NoHo · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

"Marvelous" "cucina rustica" pairs with a "well-crafted" wine list in "intimate farmhouse-inspired" surrounds that’ll "transport" you to a "Tuscan home" at this NoHo Med-Italian; if it gets "loud" , the downstairs wine cellar is a "beautiful" alternative, though it’s "not cheap" no matter where you sit.
il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
Italian · NoHo · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

"Unpretentious" but with a "pure NY vibe" , this Il Buco spin-off is a "go-to" for "simple yet refined" Italian-Med fare – "especially the pastas" and "ridiculously good" short ribs – in a "homey" NoHo setup with a front market area/coffee bar; communal seats and somewhat "pricey" tabs aside, it’s "comfortable" for just about "every occasion."