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A shady walled space with yellow umbrella and many of the table occupied.
Cafe Spaghetti serves some of the year’s best pastas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

New York City’s 20 Top Italian Restaurants

The best places for saucy pasta, tender meatballs, and old-school charm

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Cafe Spaghetti serves some of the year’s best pastas.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

New York City excels at many things, but one of its finest achievements? Italian food. As the birthplace of red-sauce, Italian American cooking, there are plenty of top-notch options in the five boroughs, and these days, it can feel as is if all of Italy is represented here. From rustic Tuscan dishes to saucy Sicilian specialties, this list of sit-down restaurants captures the best of the best — both new and old — in New York City right now. For our guide to the city’s best pizza parlors, click on over.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Dominick's

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This unfussy gem located on the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue — otherwise known as the borough’s Little Italy — has been dishing out generous servings of well-sauced pasta for more than 50 years. It’s more food hall than restaurant, and the knowledgable servers are happy to guide diners through the massive menu. The stuffed artichoke is a highlight of the menu, as is the sizable sirloin steak served with a mound of fries.

A room filled with tables jammed together, teeming with people.
Dominick’s is more food hall than restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Roberto's

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Roberto’s modern Italian fare, served on a side street tucked away from the hubbub of the Bronx’s Little Italy, is a welcome contrast to the red sauced Italian American food common in the neighborhood. The wine list is more sophisticated, too, backed up by a menu that trumpets dishes like seasonal vegetables steamed “in cartoccio” — in a foil pouch — and a rabbit stewed with potatoes. Roberto Paciullo, a native of Salerno, Italy, is behind the villa-esque Roberto’s, where there’s not a meatball in sight.

A glistening heap of browned rabbit with greens and potatoes.
Roberto’s fabled braised rabbit.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Rezdôra

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Let’s face it, the menus of most upscale Italian restaurants have fairly predictable menus, and you can visit them confident that you’ll find, say, an al dente cacio e pepe or a decent veal milanese. When Rezdora set out to push the envelope on the classic Italian menu, it caused a sensation three years ago. The menu is anchored in Emilia-Romagna, and thus we have the gnocco frito of the region — thin cool slices of prosciutto matched with puffy warm fritters — and cappelletti verde, little pasta hats stuffed with leeks and spring peas that the menu rather poetically calls, “grandma walking through a forest in Emilia.”

The tagliolini al ragu, held up by a fork, at Rezdora
The tagliolini al ragu at Rezdôra.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Don Angie

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Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli have ushered in a new era for red sauce cooking at this West Village restaurant. The duo’s creative take on Italian American fare has included caramelle pasta with pickled cantaloupe and buffalo milk mozzarella in the past, and the garlic bread — sesame-seeded flatbread stuffed with stracchino and Parmesan — is a consistent hit. Conclude with a glass of the couple’s amaro, made in-house from sarsaparilla and tasting vaguely of root beer. Be sure to make a reservation: It’s no secret that this is one of Manhattan’s top Italian restaurants right now.

A green salad showered in cheese shavings with a fork placed to the side of the dish sits on a table.
Parmesan with a side of salad at Don Angie.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

L'Artusi

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Bi-level Italian spot L’Artusi has reigned as a reliable staple in the West Village for over a decade. And for good reason: It keeps crowds coming back with piles of spaghetti, twists of bolognese-slicked tagliatelle, and plate-sized spreads of shaved wagyu carpaccio splattered with a horseradish cream. Reservations still get snapped up well in advance, so plan ahead accordingly.

Via Carota

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Chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi’s Tuscan destination Via Carota is no longer the secret neighborhood spot it used to be — expect to wait an hour or more for dinner no matter the day, or try for a late-night glass of wine and a bowl of chewy cacio e pepe. For a larger meal, classics like the grilled chicken and tagliatelle with prosciutto will get the job done, but the stars of the show are often the restaurant’s vegetable dishes: The options change regularly, and it’s hard to go wrong.

A bowl of thick spaghetti with grated cheese on top.
Tonarelli cacio e pepe at Via Carota.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Carbone

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If you’re looking for the evil version of red sauce, one where you know you’re going to get ripped off but might enjoy yourself anyway — in part because it’s fantastic people watching — go to Carbone. Is the caesar alla ZZ really a standout? Have you ever paid $89 for veal parm? Does it matter? Chances are, you’ll have a story to tell by the night’s end and possibly leftovers for tomorrow. 

Waiters attend to groups of diners sitting at outdoor tables on a tree-lined street. To the left, a neon illuminated sign “Wines Liquors Carbone” shines.
Carbone, photographed in the early days of the pandemic.
Gary He/Eater NY

Fiaschetteria Pistoia

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Petite Tuscan restaurant Fiaschetteria Pistoia makes up for its size with charm — the servers are brusque yet friendly, known to slam down a wooden crate of wine when asked for the list. Still, their recommendations for affordable bottles rarely miss, and everything from the salads and pork cheek to the cacio e pepe and spaghetti con bottarga are celebrations of the genre. For dessert, the creamy tiramisu is so ethereally light, it’s worth ordering even if full.

Bottles with price tags on a metal rack.
Fiaschetteria’s “wine list” comes in a milk delivery rack.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

If Spiaggia in Chicago is what put chef Missy Robbins on the map, Lilia in Williamsburg is what rocketed her to stardom. Lucky diners might encounter Robbins hovering over the flame-spitting wood grill, the device responsible for singing Lilia’s succulent lamb steaks. Others might stop short at the host stand, quoted a two-hour wait for walk-ins. Reservations book up far in advance, which is understandable for pastas this good, especially the sheep’s milk ricotta agnolotti, slathered in a heady saffron honey sauce.

A yellow pasta with garnishes sits in a shallow grey bowl.
Ricotta agnolotti in a pool of saffron honey sauce.
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater NY

Bamonte's

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Over a century in Williamsburg has made old-school, red-sauce Italian restaurant Bamonte’s a local legend. (Appearing in an episode of the Sopranos along the way didn’t hurt, either.) Opened in 1900, the restaurant is still owned by its founding family, who serves up classic Italian American dishes via servers in suits. Must orders include briny clams oreganata, spaghetti and meatballs, and the famous pork chops with pickled peppers. Don’t miss the ethereal cannoli, an off-menu dessert. 

A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s, and an old man sits on a bench in front.
A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pasta is the reason to come to Faro in Bushwick, the formerly Michelin-starred venue from owners Kevin and Debbie Adey. The menu changes frequently, but the options rarely disappoint. All of the pastas are made at the restaurant, including past dishes like its mushroom tortelli with truffle butter and its gnocchi with braised pork shank. Round out the meal at this warmly lit ideal date spot with a bottle of wine.

A mound of cavatelli on a white plate beside a gleaming fork and knife.
Faro’s cavatelli.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Ferdinando's Focacceria

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The city’s oldest Sicilian restaurant, dating to 1904, is Ferdinando’s Focacceria in Carroll Gardens. The “focacceria” part of the name doesn’t refer to the familiar southern Italian bread, but to a type of snack shop often found in the island’s capital of Palermo. The menu here, once limited to small sandwiches of cow spleen or chickpeas and composed plates of seafood and vegetables, now serves a full-blown Italian American bill of fare. Depend on baked clams, fried squid or shrimp, and tomato sauce-soaked rice balls, along with squid ink linguine that’s best washed down with a coffee soda.

A bowl of long strands of pasta with a red sauce.
Pasta con sarde at Ferdinando’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cafe Spaghetti

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This Cobble Hill newcomer in a remote part of the neighborhood dredges up all sorts of antique Italian American recipes for some of the year’s best pastas so far. Spiedini alla Romana, a warhorse of old-school red-sauce joints, is presented as a digestible toasted cheese sandwich with a light, lemony sauce, while the orecchiette comes topped with crumbled pork sausage and broccoli rabe, suggesting its southern Italian origin. A landscaped backyard on a summer day is one of the restaurant’s greatest assets.

Three pasta dishes blanketed in red and white sauces are arranged on a plate.
Pastas in the backyard of Cafe Spaghetti.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Frankies 457 Spuntino

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A picturesque backyard and a neighborhood vibe are the cherries on top at Frankies 457 Spuntino, which launched a small empire of restaurants on well-executed Italian American classics. The restaurant is as well-known for its sandwiches — the meatball parm and the eggplant marinara are both worth trying — along with its pastas, particularly the cavatelli with hot sausage and browned sage butter. Wines are affordable, and it’s a great restaurant for groups. Reservations are recommended, but it’s usually possible to snag a seat at the wine bar, where the restaurant’s full menu is served.

The warm, orange-hued space of Fausto features a menu from chef and owner Erin Shambura that rotates regularly based on the nearby Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket — though the crowd-favorite pasta, an orecchiette with pork and wilted greens, is usually available. Many of the dishes lean simple, like a little gem salad or a bone-in pork chop with garlic scapes. The staff is friendly, and Fausto is good both for eating solo at the bar with pasta and a glass of wine or for dinner when family’s in town.

A white ceramic bowl filled with thick chitarra noodles and mushrooms, topped with a round egg yolk
Spaghetti alla chitarra from Fausto.
Serena Dai/Eater

Al Di La Trattoria

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The dark, cozy space of Al Di La has been a Park Slope favorite since 1998, both as a dining destination for Anna Klinger’s northern Italian pastas and as a go-to for locals around dinner. Go for the spaghetti neri all chitarra (black spaghetti with octopus confit, basil, and hot chile peppers) and tagliatelle if it’s a first-time visit, but know that there’s plenty else to explore. Listen for the specials, and prepare to wait for a table at peak hours.

A restaurant with a yellow audience and patrons seen through windows in the night.
Al Di La is a convivial nighttime spot.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Michael’s of Brooklyn

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If date night calls for a big plate of pasta with piquant red sauce, Michael’s is the place. Founded in 1964 with a facade of rusticated stone, the dining room is warm and comfortable, with a pianist who sometimes plays Sinatra classics and other pop songs on a grand piano on a raised platform above the bar. Linguine with red clam sauce is particularly clam-heavy, the massive veal chop is unparalleled in the borough, and a plate of fresh mozzarella with grilled red peppers can be found on most tables.

Linguine with red clam sauce is swimming in sauce with a sprig of parsley on the side of the bowl.
Linguine with red clam sauce at Michael’s of Brooklyn.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Joe's of Avenue U

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Joe’s is the city’s quintessential Sicilian spot, straight out of the 1950s and located on the cramped streets of Gravesend, Brooklyn. Look at the glass case filled with vegetable and seafood dishes near the entrance, noting which ones appeal, then sit down in a dining room decorated with a delightful mural that depicts an island landscape with century-old themes. Don’t miss the chickpea fritters called panelle, the pasta con sarde loaded with sardines and sweetened with fennel, or the well-oiled octopus salad.

A pile of oiled octopus tentacles points in all directions.
A pile of tentacles at Joe’s of Avenue U.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Randazzo's Clam Bar

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This Sheepshead Bay establishment has been a neighborhood staple for decades, serving a variety of seafood dishes and pasta in a crowded dining room a stone’s throw from the waterfront. The restaurant is known for its red sauce, which can be ordered at varying heat levels and comes served atop various seafood dishes, including its standout fried calamari. The seafood diavolo, as well as the raw oysters and clam, are also not to be missed.

A gingham place mat is topped with a plate teeming with fried calamari, with a white paper napkin with a silver fork on the left, and a small dish with marinara sauce to the right.
A mound of fried calamari from Randazzo’s.
Randazzo’s

Lobster House Joe's

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Located along Staten Island’s seaboard not far from the Atlantic beaches, Lobster House Joe’s is one of the borough’s premiere Italian seafood restaurants. The double dining room is casual and nautically themed, and you can’t go wrong with one of the perfectly steamed lobsters available in a range of sizes. The place also excels at seafood salads, linguine with any kind of red sauced seafood, chowders and bisques, and anything involving clams — from raw to incorporated into pastas to stuffed and baked. There’s a newer branch on the opposite side of the island on the Arthur Kill.

A bright red lobster with its nose in a bowl of butter.
A lobster awaits its fate at Lobster House Joe’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dominick's

A room filled with tables jammed together, teeming with people.
Dominick’s is more food hall than restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This unfussy gem located on the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue — otherwise known as the borough’s Little Italy — has been dishing out generous servings of well-sauced pasta for more than 50 years. It’s more food hall than restaurant, and the knowledgable servers are happy to guide diners through the massive menu. The stuffed artichoke is a highlight of the menu, as is the sizable sirloin steak served with a mound of fries.

A room filled with tables jammed together, teeming with people.
Dominick’s is more food hall than restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Roberto's

A glistening heap of browned rabbit with greens and potatoes.
Roberto’s fabled braised rabbit.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Roberto’s modern Italian fare, served on a side street tucked away from the hubbub of the Bronx’s Little Italy, is a welcome contrast to the red sauced Italian American food common in the neighborhood. The wine list is more sophisticated, too, backed up by a menu that trumpets dishes like seasonal vegetables steamed “in cartoccio” — in a foil pouch — and a rabbit stewed with potatoes. Roberto Paciullo, a native of Salerno, Italy, is behind the villa-esque Roberto’s, where there’s not a meatball in sight.

A glistening heap of browned rabbit with greens and potatoes.
Roberto’s fabled braised rabbit.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Rezdôra

The tagliolini al ragu, held up by a fork, at Rezdora
The tagliolini al ragu at Rezdôra.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Let’s face it, the menus of most upscale Italian restaurants have fairly predictable menus, and you can visit them confident that you’ll find, say, an al dente cacio e pepe or a decent veal milanese. When Rezdora set out to push the envelope on the classic Italian menu, it caused a sensation three years ago. The menu is anchored in Emilia-Romagna, and thus we have the gnocco frito of the region — thin cool slices of prosciutto matched with puffy warm fritters — and cappelletti verde, little pasta hats stuffed with leeks and spring peas that the menu rather poetically calls, “grandma walking through a forest in Emilia.”

The tagliolini al ragu, held up by a fork, at Rezdora
The tagliolini al ragu at Rezdôra.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Don Angie

A green salad showered in cheese shavings with a fork placed to the side of the dish sits on a table.
Parmesan with a side of salad at Don Angie.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli have ushered in a new era for red sauce cooking at this West Village restaurant. The duo’s creative take on Italian American fare has included caramelle pasta with pickled cantaloupe and buffalo milk mozzarella in the past, and the garlic bread — sesame-seeded flatbread stuffed with stracchino and Parmesan — is a consistent hit. Conclude with a glass of the couple’s amaro, made in-house from sarsaparilla and tasting vaguely of root beer. Be sure to make a reservation: It’s no secret that this is one of Manhattan’s top Italian restaurants right now.

A green salad showered in cheese shavings with a fork placed to the side of the dish sits on a table.
Parmesan with a side of salad at Don Angie.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

L'Artusi

Bi-level Italian spot L’Artusi has reigned as a reliable staple in the West Village for over a decade. And for good reason: It keeps crowds coming back with piles of spaghetti, twists of bolognese-slicked tagliatelle, and plate-sized spreads of shaved wagyu carpaccio splattered with a horseradish cream. Reservations still get snapped up well in advance, so plan ahead accordingly.

Via Carota

A bowl of thick spaghetti with grated cheese on top.
Tonarelli cacio e pepe at Via Carota.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi’s Tuscan destination Via Carota is no longer the secret neighborhood spot it used to be — expect to wait an hour or more for dinner no matter the day, or try for a late-night glass of wine and a bowl of chewy cacio e pepe. For a larger meal, classics like the grilled chicken and tagliatelle with prosciutto will get the job done, but the stars of the show are often the restaurant’s vegetable dishes: The options change regularly, and it’s hard to go wrong.

A bowl of thick spaghetti with grated cheese on top.
Tonarelli cacio e pepe at Via Carota.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Carbone

Waiters attend to groups of diners sitting at outdoor tables on a tree-lined street. To the left, a neon illuminated sign “Wines Liquors Carbone” shines.
Carbone, photographed in the early days of the pandemic.
Gary He/Eater NY

If you’re looking for the evil version of red sauce, one where you know you’re going to get ripped off but might enjoy yourself anyway — in part because it’s fantastic people watching — go to Carbone. Is the caesar alla ZZ really a standout? Have you ever paid $89 for veal parm? Does it matter? Chances are, you’ll have a story to tell by the night’s end and possibly leftovers for tomorrow. 

Waiters attend to groups of diners sitting at outdoor tables on a tree-lined street. To the left, a neon illuminated sign “Wines Liquors Carbone” shines.
Carbone, photographed in the early days of the pandemic.
Gary He/Eater NY

Fiaschetteria Pistoia

Bottles with price tags on a metal rack.
Fiaschetteria’s “wine list” comes in a milk delivery rack.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Petite Tuscan restaurant Fiaschetteria Pistoia makes up for its size with charm — the servers are brusque yet friendly, known to slam down a wooden crate of wine when asked for the list. Still, their recommendations for affordable bottles rarely miss, and everything from the salads and pork cheek to the cacio e pepe and spaghetti con bottarga are celebrations of the genre. For dessert, the creamy tiramisu is so ethereally light, it’s worth ordering even if full.

Bottles with price tags on a metal rack.
Fiaschetteria’s “wine list” comes in a milk delivery rack.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lilia

A yellow pasta with garnishes sits in a shallow grey bowl.
Ricotta agnolotti in a pool of saffron honey sauce.
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater NY

If Spiaggia in Chicago is what put chef Missy Robbins on the map, Lilia in Williamsburg is what rocketed her to stardom. Lucky diners might encounter Robbins hovering over the flame-spitting wood grill, the device responsible for singing Lilia’s succulent lamb steaks. Others might stop short at the host stand, quoted a two-hour wait for walk-ins. Reservations book up far in advance, which is understandable for pastas this good, especially the sheep’s milk ricotta agnolotti, slathered in a heady saffron honey sauce.

A yellow pasta with garnishes sits in a shallow grey bowl.
Ricotta agnolotti in a pool of saffron honey sauce.
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater NY

Bamonte's

A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s, and an old man sits on a bench in front.
A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Over a century in Williamsburg has made old-school, red-sauce Italian restaurant Bamonte’s a local legend. (Appearing in an episode of the Sopranos along the way didn’t hurt, either.) Opened in 1900, the restaurant is still owned by its founding family, who serves up classic Italian American dishes via servers in suits. Must orders include briny clams oreganata, spaghetti and meatballs, and the famous pork chops with pickled peppers. Don’t miss the ethereal cannoli, an off-menu dessert. 

A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s, and an old man sits on a bench in front.
A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Faro

A mound of cavatelli on a white plate beside a gleaming fork and knife.
Faro’s cavatelli.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Pasta is the reason to come to Faro in Bushwick, the formerly Michelin-starred venue from owners Kevin and Debbie Adey. The menu changes frequently, but the options rarely disappoint. All of the pastas are made at the restaurant, including past dishes like its mushroom tortelli with truffle butter and its gnocchi with braised pork shank. Round out the meal at this warmly lit ideal date spot with a bottle of wine.

A mound of cavatelli on a white plate beside a gleaming fork and knife.
Faro’s cavatelli.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Ferdinando's Focacceria