Home / Informed Traveler / Inspector Picks: 6 Favorite New York City Italian Restaurants

Inspector Picks: 6 Favorite New York City Italian Restaurants

May 21, 2021
Craving Italian food on your New York City vacation? You are in the right place. AAA inspectors hand-picked these restaurants, from Lower Manhattan to the Upper East and West sides, for your dining pleasure. Enjoy traditional pastas and pizzas, creative seasonal dishes, luscious desserts and the perfect wines to pair with your meals. New York City is a haven for foodies.

Amarone Ristorante

686 9th Ave.
AAA Inspector 592: As authentic as it is modern, I like this trattoria for the fact that tourists and locals blend so easily. That is no easy trick in Hell's Kitchen.
Popular with the locals and tourists alike, this comfortably homey restaurant serves a very nice variety of seafood, chicken and veal dishes. Their pasta is fresh and flavorful, to go with a good selection of wines, as the restaurant's cellar is particularly noteworthy. Amarone is a richly robust Italian red and the menu lists a princely selection of Amarones to fit a connoisseur's palette. The theaters and many hotels are nearby, so pre- and post-show dinners are common here. To be properly enjoyed Amarone needs to be opened well in advance before drinking. Dinner at this comfortable restaurant can pleasantly linger for some hours.
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775 Washington St.
AAA Inspector 592: In summer this has got to be one of the very bery best people watching spots downtown - with great Italian food thrown in its a real winner!
West Coast celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman has captured the imagination of diners at this relaxed Greenwich Village eatery. The menu ranges from Italian comfort food, like signature pollo al forno, hanger steak with bok choy or duck breast with nectarine, to assorted fresh fish and some seriously delicious pasta and pizzas. The fiery brick oven and open kitchen give a bird's-eye view of the artisans at work. Housed in a former industrial garage space, the dining room has overhead sliding doors on tracks that open in warm weather to create a pleasant street-side setting.
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Felidia/Kelly Campbell


243 E. 58th St.
AAA Inspector 592: The older crowd hit Le Cirque nearby, but young movers and shakers feel very comfy here with a celebrity chef who brings Italian home spun flavor.
This well-acclaimed restaurant is the flagship of popular TV chef Lidia Bastianich. Saffron-colored walls soothe the soul and prepare guests for satisfying regional Italian dishes. The service is refined yet engaging. Pasta is made in-house daily and many vegetables and herbs are picked from the owner's garden. The extensive wine list represents several regions of Italy and offers a variety of well-priced selections.
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Courtesy of The Leopard at des Artistes

The Leopard at des Artistes

1 W. 67th St.
AAA Inspector 592: Dining by the iconic Howard Chandler Christy painted wall-murals of heavenly nymphs at this famed small eatery is an exalted yet charming experience.
The Great Recession brought down the original café found here, but it re-emerged with a new name and owners with the angelic wall murals of frolicking nymphs remaining proudly intact. Refined service in a renewed, comfortable interior set the stage for a menu of both traditional Southern Italian favorites and seasonal selections. One of the most romantic small restaurants in town, the atmosphere is spirited yet sophisticated, which is no easy feat after 100 years. Attached to a historic artist's residence building next to Central Park, the address is a favorite of Woody Allen, who has used the eatery as a location in his films. It is not uncommon to see some other familiar faces from cinema and the business or political world eating at this storied spot.
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AAA/Inspector 592

Lincoln Ristorante

142 W. 65th St.
AAA Inspector 592: Having a meal on the grass lawn atop the roof overlooking Lincoln Center is a memorable experience, to say the least.
Located within the Lincoln Center complex, dining here places you in a strikingly beautiful glass-walled restaurant at the epicenter of New York City's cultural hub. A menu of creative Italian dishes revolves around fresh fish, veal, antipasti and house-made pasta. Health conscious platings exhibit a subtle restraint, which falls perfectly in line with the exquisitely modern surroundings and open kitchen concept. À la carte and prix fixe menus are offered.
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Courtesy of Quality Italian

Quality Italian

57 W. 57th St.
AAA Inspector 592: When the fashionistas of 57th Street break bread this is a favored location. Modern but with its rustic charms, the room can get loud and animated.
This place has all the bones of a top-notch steakhouse—huge, dry-aged steaks, chops and all the trimmings—in addition to some great Italian dishes. The menu features veal piccata pappardelle, veal chop Milanese, grilled branzino and fresh, tasty crudos like the blackened scallop carpaccio with Calabrian chiles. The comfortable, retro-industrial chic, second-floor dining room includes views of 57th Street's bustling crossroads. This is a fashion-crowd fave.
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