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A Taste of Italy in the Big Apple: Classic Italian Restaurants in Manhattan Uncovered

Classic Italian Restaurants in Manhattan

    Iconic Italian Restaurants in Manhattan

    Manhattan is a haven for those seeking the best in Italian cuisine. Whether you’re craving a timeless favorite or an authentic dining experience, this city has it all.

    Timeless Favorites

    When it comes to classic Italian restaurants in Manhattan, some names have stood the test of time and continue to deliver exceptional meals.

    • Felice Pasta Bar at Time Out Market: This gem is the first Italian-inspired restaurant opened by SA Hospitality Group in Brooklyn. It offers reliable Tuscan fare that keeps diners coming back.
    • Rezdôra: A Taste of Emilia-Romagna: Opened in 2019, Rezdôra is one of NYC’s finest Italian spots. They offer a $98 regional pasta tasting menu influenced by the Emilia-Romagna region, along with à la carte selections.
    • Lillo: Neighborhood Charm: Known for its cozy atmosphere and mouth-watering dishes like lasagna ragu, sauced meatballs, and fettuccine with speck in Parmesan cream sauce.
    • Emilio’s Ballato: A Taste of Tradition: Established in 1956, Emilio’s Ballato offers a romantic setting and traditional dishes like veal parm and pasta.
    • Via Carota: A Culinary Journey: Opened in 2014, Via Carota is famous for its insalata verde, hand-chopped steak, and exquisite pasta dishes.

    Authentic Dining Experiences

    For those seeking genuine Italian dining, Manhattan offers several spots that promise a truly authentic culinary experience.

    • Felice Pasta Bar at Time Out Market: Located in Brooklyn, this restaurant provides an authentic taste of Tuscany, perfect for those who appreciate genuine Italian fare.
    • Rezdôra: A Taste of Emilia-Romagna: This restaurant brings the rich flavors of the Emilia-Romagna region to NYC, offering both a tasting menu and a la carte choices.
    • Lillo: Neighborhood Charm: Lillo captures the essence of neighborhood dining with its hearty Italian dishes and welcoming atmosphere.
    • Emilio’s Ballato: A Taste of Tradition: Step back in time at Emilio’s Ballato, where the ambiance and traditional menu items create a nostalgic dining experience (Time Out).
    • Via Carota: A Culinary Journey: Via Carota offers a genuine Italian dining experience with its thoughtfully prepared dishes and inviting setting (Time Out).

    For those looking to explore more dining options, check out our guides on romantic Italian restaurants in Manhattan and traditional Italian dining in Manhattan. Happy dining!

    Classic Italian Restaurants to Explore

    When it comes to classic Italian restaurants in Manhattan, there are several must-visit spots that offer authentic and memorable dining experiences. Here are some of my personal favorites:

    Felice Pasta Bar at Time Out Market

    Felice Pasta Bar, nestled in the bustling Time Out Market in Brooklyn, is the first Italian-inspired venture by SA Hospitality Group. This charming spot serves reliable Tuscan fare that will transport you straight to Italy. From rich pasta dishes to perfectly cooked meats, Felice Pasta Bar is a must-visit for anyone seeking authentic Italian flavors.

    DishPrice (approx.)
    Tagliatelle Bolognese$18
    Pappardelle al Cinghiale$20
    Gnocchi al Pesto$17

    For more dining options, check out famous Italian restaurants in Manhattan.

    Rezdôra: A Taste of Emilia-Romagna

    Rezdôra, which opened its doors in 2019, has quickly become one of New York City’s best Italian restaurants. Influenced by the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Rezdôra offers a $98 regional pasta tasting menu that features some of the most exquisite pasta dishes you’ll ever taste. They also have an à la carte menu for those who prefer to pick and choose.

    DishPrice (approx.)
    Regional Pasta Tasting Menu$98
    Gramigna with Sausage Ragu$22
    Cacio e Pepe$20

    For those looking for a romantic setting, check out our list of romantic Italian restaurants in Manhattan.

    Lillo: Neighborhood Charm

    Lillo is a beloved neighborhood gem that offers hearty, comforting Italian dishes. Their menu includes lasagna ragu, sauced meatballs, and fettuccine with speck in Parmesan cream sauce. The cozy atmosphere and delicious food make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

    DishPrice (approx.)
    Lasagna Ragu$16
    Sauced Meatballs$14
    Fettuccine with Speck$18

    Explore more hidden gems by visiting our guide to Italian trattorias in Manhattan.

    Emilio’s Ballato: A Taste of Tradition

    Established in 1956, Emilio’s Ballato is a Manhattan institution known for its romantic atmosphere and traditional Italian dishes. Specialties include veal parm and various pasta dishes that have remained consistent in quality over the years.

    DishPrice (approx.)
    Veal Parm$25
    Spaghetti Carbonara$20
    Eggplant Parmesan$18

    For more on traditional Italian dining, check out our article on traditional Italian dining in Manhattan.

    Via Carota: A Culinary Journey

    Since opening in 2014, Via Carota has become a popular destination for its delectable Italian cuisine. Known for its insalata verde, hand-chopped steak, and delightful pasta dishes, Via Carota offers a culinary journey that is sure to impress.

    DishPrice (approx.)
    Insalata Verde$15
    Hand-Chopped Steak$30
    Pappardelle alla Bolognese$22

    Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these classic Italian restaurants in Manhattan provide an authentic taste of Italy that is hard to beat.

    Modern Takes on Italian Cuisine

    Exploring the culinary scene of Manhattan, I discovered some fantastic modern takes on Italian cuisine. These establishments blend traditional flavors with contemporary twists, creating unforgettable dining experiences.

    Roberto’s: Modern Fare in the Bronx

    Located in the Bronx, Roberto’s offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that features seasonal vegetables steamed “in cartoccio” and rabbit stewed with potatoes. The wine list is equally impressive, featuring selections that perfectly complement the dishes. It’s a must-visit for those looking to experience modern Italian fare with a touch of sophistication (Eater NY).

    Fresco by Scotto: Amalfi Coast Vibes

    Fresco by Scotto, a family-run spot in Midtown, offers a crowd-pleasing Italian-American menu set against an Amalfi Coast-inspired decor. This restaurant is a favorite among celebrities and politicians. As the night progresses, you might even find yourself dancing tableside to a DJ’s tunes. It’s the perfect place for a lively, yet elegant dining experience (Eater NY). For more options, check out our list of romantic italian restaurants in manhattan.

    Rezdôra’s Innovative Menu

    Rezdôra is renowned for its innovative take on classic Italian cuisine, with a menu rooted in the flavors of Emilia-Romagna. Highlights include gnocco frito with thinly sliced prosciutto and cappelletti verde, pasta hats stuffed with leeks and peas. Each dish is a testament to the creativity and culinary expertise that defines Rezdôra (Eater NY). For traditional dining experiences, visit our page on traditional italian dining in manhattan.

    Don Angie: Creative Italian-American Flavors

    In the West Village, Don Angie offers a unique take on Italian-American cuisine. Dishes like caramelle pasta with pickled cantaloupe and buffalo milk mozzarella showcase the restaurant’s creative flair. The garlic bread and house-made amaro are also must-tries. Given its popularity, reservations are highly recommended. For more iconic spots, see our guide to famous italian restaurants in manhattan.

    By exploring these modern takes on Italian cuisine, you can experience the rich culinary traditions of Italy through a contemporary lens. Each of these restaurants offers a unique and memorable dining experience that is sure to delight any food lover.

    Exploring NYC’s Oldest Pizzerias

    In my quest to uncover the classic Italian restaurants in Manhattan, I stumbled upon some of the oldest and most storied pizzerias in New York City. These establishments offer a glimpse into the rich history of Italian cuisine in the city, serving up delicious slices with a side of nostalgia. Here’s a closer look at some of the most iconic pizzerias in NYC.

    Lombardi’s: A Pizza Legacy

    Lombardi’s holds the distinction of being America’s oldest pizzeria. It started as a grocery store in 1897 before transitioning into a full-service Italian restaurant. The pizzeria faced a setback in the 1980s when it had to stop serving pizza due to issues with its coal-fired ovens. However, it made a triumphant return in 1994 at a new location with a working coal oven. You can read more about Lombardi’s storied past on our traditional Italian dining in Manhattan page.

    Year OpenedLocationNotable Fact
    1897ManhattanOldest pizzeria in America

    Totonno’s: Classic Coney Island Pizza

    Totonno’s, a beloved Coney Island institution, opened its doors in 1924. Known for its fresh fior di latte mozzarella and unique method of laying the cheese directly on the dough, Totonno’s has a loyal following. The pizzeria temporarily closed in 2011 but reopened in 2013 after renovations due to water damage from Hurricane Sandy.

    Year OpenedLocationNotable Fact
    1924Coney IslandKnown for fresh fior di latte mozzarella

    John’s of Bleecker Street: The Whole Pie Tradition

    John’s of Bleecker Street, established in 1929, is famous for its policy of only selling whole pies, never slices. Despite expanding to other locations over the years, the original Bleecker Street location remains a favorite. It temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic but has since reopened (Red Sauce America). For more about John’s and other romantic Italian restaurants in Manhattan, visit our dedicated page.

    Year OpenedLocationNotable Fact
    1929ManhattanOnly sells whole pies

    Patsy’s Pizzeria: Slices of History

    Patsy’s Pizzeria, founded by Pasquale “Patsy” Lancieri in East Harlem in 1933, is credited with inventing the concept of selling pizza by the slice. The restaurant faced numerous challenges after Patsy’s death in 1975 and was eventually sold in 1991, leading to legal disputes over the use of the Patsy’s name.

    Year OpenedLocationNotable Fact
    1933East HarlemIntroduced pizza by the slice

    Grimaldi’s: The Brick Oven Legacy

    Grimaldi’s, founded by Patsy Grimaldi in Brooklyn in 1990, has become a legendary name in the world of pizza. Known for its brick oven pizzas, Grimaldi’s faced legal disputes with the original Patsy’s Pizzeria but emerged victorious. The chain has since opened multiple locations, including the semi-original location of Patsy’s Pizzeria in 2019. For creative takes on Italian-American flavors, check out our Italian trattorias in Manhattan page.

    Year OpenedLocationNotable Fact
    1990BrooklynKnown for brick oven pizzas

    Exploring these historic pizzerias offers a taste of New York City’s rich culinary history and a chance to savor some of the best classic Italian flavors.