If you’re visiting NYC, be sure to check out the cheap eats Time Square offers and the historic bars throughout the city! But one must-try thing to add to your list is dining in an Italian restaurant! Yes, there are many NYC restaurants but NYC and Italian food are synonymous - like spaghetti and meatballs. Whether Italian food is your first love or you want to experience the distinct smells and tastes, one thing’s for sure, you must try Italian in NYC!
To break down your options and take the guesswork out for you, follow our list of the 20 best Italian Restaurants in NYC!
1. Carmine’s Italian Restaurant - Times Square. Carmine’s is iconic! For many visitors to New York City, a meal at Carmine’s is an absolute must. It is always busy, so reservations are highly recommended. Be prepared for rich, savory classic Italian American specialties, served in large family-style portions. Highlights of the menu include Meatballs, Penne a la Vodka, and Shrimp Scampi. Save room for Tiramisu!
2. Dominick's. A casual food hall-style experience awaits at Dominick’s. Located in The Bronx, on Arthur Avenue, known as Little Italy in this area, diners will feel right at home. The menu is long and can be overwhelming, but you cannot go wrong with any of the pasta dishes, Stuffed Artichoke, and Baked Clams. Not sure what to order? Simply ask your server and they are sure to help you find something you will love.
3. Roberto's. It is easy for many people to place New York City’s Italian restaurants into two broad categories: Italian-American and Authentic Italian. Roberto’s resides in the latter. Forget the predictable red sauce and cheese pasta dishes that dominate the Italian restaurant scene, and instead indulge in fresh specials that change daily. Escape to a villa-style interior tucked along a side street in The Bronx. While there are a few staples on the menu, like, Parmigiana Di Melanzane E Zucchine and Cavatelli Con Salsiccia E Broccoli Di Rapa, be sure to consider any daily specials that might be available.
4. Mercato. Dark woods and warm copper metallic accents fill the cozy dining area as houseware decorations on the walls and shelves making the rustic ambiance pair well with the warm, rich flavors. Here pasta is served in a variety of Italian American ways. Standouts include Fettuccine Ai Funghi and Linguine Ai Frutti Di Mare. The best thing about Mercato is that it makes Italian food approachable, cozy, and comforting.
5. Celeste. Pizza and pasta are the focus at Celeste. Here you’ll devour fresh flavors far beyond the same old standards you can find pretty much anywhere. The menu is full of flavorful fare like Tagliatelle with Shrimp, Cabbage, and Sheep’s Milk Cheese, Gorgonzola con Bel Paese E Salame Piccante Pizza, and Ravioli di Ricotta e Spinaci in Burro e Salvia.
6. Toscana 49. Even though you’ll find lots of rich and rustic items on the menu, Toscana 49 is a popular lunch spot. Business deals are made over delicious meals, just as visitors and couples sit in celebration of their time in NYC. Fresh salads and bright pasta dishes are great choices for lunch, while Grilled Salmon or Paglia E Fieno Con Panna make for a satisfying dinner. Save room for their raved-about desserts.
7. I Sodi. It is a rare treat for a New York City restaurant to offer an outdoor patio. At Sodi, you can relax in their outdoor patio when weather permits or enjoy the natural light that fills the dining room. Tuscan-style fare is the main staple of the menu. A rich wine paired with the Bresaola, a dish composed of dried Wagyu Beef, Arugula, Parmigiano and aged balsamic vinegar is a great indulgence during your visit to NYC.
8. Via Carota. Once a hidden local hotspot, the secret is out! Via Carota is the place to head for fresh fare that changes with the seasons. This 2019 James Beard Foundation winner offers a casual, yet sophisticated dining experience. Be sure to ask about or browse through the daily specials for fresh creations that are sure to make your meal memorable.
9. Manetta's. A wood-oven reigns proudly over the brick laden dining room. Large windows and an outdoor patio allow for warm sunlight to fill the seating area. Diners savor Italian classics as well as Greek-inspired entrees like Ribeye Steak in Barolo sauce, Grilled Lamb chops with Almond Mint Pesto, and Baked Branzino.
10. Barolo East. Northern Italian cuisine satisfies diners who come from all over to enjoy Barolo East. A warm, inviting dining room with brick walls and a few contemporary details await. Any of Barolo East’s dishes that feature their Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella is a guaranteed hit. While seafood and house-made pasta are popular, the beef and veal entrees stand out from the rest of the menu.
11. Maialino. Looking for a unique approach to Italian cooking? Look to Maialino for Roman-inspired dishes that are hard to find anywhere else. Carbonara Pasta with egg is always a winner as are Bucatini All'amatriciana, Devil’s Chicken, and Braised Suckling Pig which are sure to make memorable meals. To top it all off, you will love the bright, sunny, and inviting dining room setting where meals are served to sit back, relax and dig in!
12. Don Angie. A light, airy, and fresh approach to Italian food is offered at Don Angie. A bright dining room and small outdoor patio welcome in natural light. The menu is full of simple classic dishes that are approached with a modern twist. Highlights include Sopressini and Smoked Mussels, Veal “Da Pepi”, and Buffalo Milk Caramelle. Be sure to start your dining experience with a round of spectacular hand-crafted cocktails like Nonna’s Little Nip or Pinky Ring.
13. Casa Nonna. As you might imagine, with a name like Casa Nonna (Grandmother’s House), you’ll find a warm and inviting atmosphere here. Comforting staples of Italian home cooking are the hallmark of this cozy restaurant near the Theater District. Favorites of the menu include Frutti Di Mare, Pici Alla Toscana, and Torta Di Cioccolato that will leave you wanting more.
14. Bistango. Popular for its gluten-free options, Bistango offers something for everyone. A dark-hued dining room with brick walls creates a refined atmosphere. Savory pasta dishes like Butternut Squash Ravioli and Rigatoni with Meat Sauce are just as popular as light options such as Grilled Octopus and Arugula Salad.
15. Briciola Wine Bar. Briciola is a rustic Italian wine bar specializing in Italian tapas or "Cicchetti.” Savor some of the finest Italian wines available anywhere in NYC. Pair with rustic cuisine like Grilled Lamb Chops or Piadina Skirt Steak & Egg and toast to a wonderful evening in the Big Apple.
16. John's of Bleecker St. It is not easy to pick an Italian restaurant that reigns supreme in the realm of pizza but John’s is an absolute stand out. Founded in 1929 by John Sasso - who worked under the baker who founded New York City’s style of pizza, there is an alluring history here. Pizza is the absolute must, the perfect balance of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, your choice of toppings, and a pillowy crust with a touch of char. Doesn’t that sound blissful?
17. Uva. Beige brick walls and decor that feels like a cozy home’s dining room sets the backdrop at Uva. Comforting classics like Mezzelune Alla Boscaiola, Pappardelle Al Ragu Di Vitello, and Antipasto Misto are also sure to please in the picturesque backyard-style patio setting. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a glass of Italian wine to end the meal!
18. Café Altro Paradiso. Like in many Italian dining rooms, expect to see a brick-laden dining room with bright and sunny interior colors that create an authentic Italian dining experience. And the menu - you’ll enjoy contemporary takes on classic dishes like the Crudo, Carpaccio, and rich pasta dishes. There are tons of dessert places in NYC but the sweet treats here are a must and brunch is definitely worthy of serious consideration!
19. D.O.C. Wine Bar. Savor wines and Sardinian fare at this rustic wine bar. The menu is full of authentic delights like Pane Carasau, a traditional bread from the Sardinian region, topped with olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. And of course, no wine bar can be complete without a selection of cheeses and meats in D.O.C. Wine Bar’s case from Sardinia. Fresh salads and hearty pasta are also must-trys on the menu!
20. Lilia. Some of the dreamiest pasta dishes you can find in all of NYC are here at Lilia. The bright, crisp white interior is a great complement to the vibrant, colorful food that takes center stage. If you want to delight in rich, creamy pastas like Mafaldine Pasta with Pink Peppercorns or Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Agnolotti, you’ll need to plan ahead and get a reservation well in advance.
Final Words on Italian Restaurants in NYC
Italian food reigns supreme as one of the favorite cuisines to enjoy in NYC. Locals and visitors alike love to experience Italian cooking so be sure to plan ahead and reserve your table as they fill up fast!