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Inspector Picks: 6 Favorite New York City Italian Restaurants

February 11, 2022
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.

Antica Ristorante

8 Stone St.
AAA Inspector: When it comes to "go-to" places near Wall Street this one is a neat double play. Great food and warm service, situated inside the Doubletree hotel.
This small, busy eatery has a splendid menu of traditional Northern specialties like the delectable veal piccata or Milanese, but the cooks also can turn out a stellar red sauce with ravioli or seafood. The tables are tightly packed together and the front door is just off the hotel entrance, but don't let that deter you. The service is excellent and what waits for you inside this cozy spot is top-notch.
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110 Waverly Pl.
AAA Inspector: Dinner in this vibrant and warmly inviting Greenwich Village townhouse is a chance to reconnect with why I absolutely love New York City.
This long-time Village favorite receives accolades for showcasing innovative new Italian cuisine using only the freshest of global products in designing a top-echelon menu. Garganelli with black truffle pesto and spaghettoni with lobster are menu highlights, as are a splendid Australian rack of lamb, and wonderfully grilled whole branzino. The pasta-tasting menus are worth their weight in calories and there are weekly specialty menus which pair ever so well with high-quality wines.
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Casa Lever

390 Park Ave.
AAA Inspector: This is among the most prime spots to grab an outdoor table and feel the energy of Park Avenue's smooth and stylish financial elite.
On the first floor of New York's first glass skyscraper, this iconic restaurant has a cool reserved feel on the surface. But once inside it’s a top-spot for Manhattan’s Park Avenue elite to entertain, network and experience a Milan culinary magic and great service. Expect Northern Italian grown-up food here, smartly seasoned with upmarket garnishes. Truffles are on the menu; exquisitely made pasta, fresh North Atlantic seafood; the veal chop is impeccable. The terrace is a prime Midtown setting. A highly upscale and refined breakfast is served, as many of the captains of finance work nearby. Service throughout the restaurant is impeccably professional and this elevates the overall experience to another level altogether.
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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 sublime and charming experience.
The Great Recession brought down the historic original ‘Cafe des Artistes” found here, but the dining room re-emerged with a new name - and with the angelic wall murals of frolicking nymphs remaining proudly intact. Refined service in a renewed, comfortable interior brings across a menu of both updated Italian favorites and seasonal selections. One of the very most romantic small restaurants in town, the atmosphere is spirited yet sophisticated, which is no easy feat after over 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 very pleasant meal on the sunny terrace overlooking Lincoln Center is a purely magic New York-experience.
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 mostly Italian dishes revolves around meat and fish, antipasti and house-made pasta. Platings exhibit a subtle restraint, which falls in line with the exquisitely modern surroundings.
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Courtesy of Patsy's Italian Restaurant

Patsy's Italian Restaurant

236 W. 56th St.
AAA Inspector: NOT FOUND
Open since 1944 and having catered to celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Madonna, David Letterman, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey, there is a wise-guy New York variant of Hollywood’s Tinseltown luster which lives on here. Patsy's offers traditional Neopolitan-style fare as well as signature dishes, including: stuffed calamari with garlic sauce, spicy lobster fra diavolo and a very satisfying stuffed pork chop. The main Broadway theaters are nearby and the servers are tuxedoed: need we say more. The third-generation owner and chef is often found in the dining room interacting with his guests and asking if there is something off the menu that he can make special for you. Classic Broadway actors’ and actresses’ photos adorn the walls, while their contemporaries within today’s theater-world settle in at the cosy tables.
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