Italian cuisine is among my favorites. For me, any day is a pasta day (or a pizza day). In New York City, there are plenty of options – but unfortunately, a lot of people (mostly tourists) only have two references in this category: Olive Garden and Carmines. Oh, guys, seriously? You are in New York! New Yorkers do not go to those restaurants – and that alone could be reason enough to explore other options. In addition, there are cheaper and better Italian restaurants than these – and much more authentic. Whoever follows my blog for a long time knows that I always say and repeat: avoid chain restaurants in New York. The city is a melting pot, with charming and renowned restaurants. I have been to many Italian restaurants in the city and today I share with you my favorites!
Pisticci – One of the best pasta that I’ve had in New York City is the one from Pisticci. It is fresh, housemade and delicious – our friends also approved it! Besides the delicious flavor, the generous size, the charming atmosphere, and great service, prices are good – pasta options are btw $13-$17. Pisticci is also a Green Certified Restaurant. The Fettuccine with mushrooms is delicious (and you should also try Lady Liberty drink and Coconut Cake as dessert). It is located in Upper Manhattan and if you need an excuse to get the subway Uptown, just check out my posts with some suggestions of places to visit in the area (like Columbia University).
Address: 125 La Salle Street
Lupa – One of the highlights is the Pasta Tasting Menu, with five fresh, housemade pasta dishes. The tasting costs $49.90 per person. If you do not want the tasting menu, worth remembering that the restaurant also has several choices of dishes with pasta priced from $13. You can check out the full menu here. I think it’s a great restaurant choice for a romantic dinner or to celebrate some special occasion. Remember that Lupa also opens for lunch! And I highly recommend making a reservation – also through the website.
Address: 170 Thompson Street.
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Porsena – For those looking for a more intimate experience, I recommend Porsena! It is a very cozy Italian restaurant, with music and lots of candlelight. In the menu, the highlight is pasta – duh, of course! There are several types and there is also risotto. Porsena prices are also good – average prices is $20 and $8 for desserts. It is very well located, not far from Union Square. I suggest order Sedani al Norcino with ricotta, garlic, and black pepper and also Anelloni pasta with lamb sausage, mustard seeds, a little spicy. A delight! I have been there twice and did not make reservations, but it’s good to ensure, right?. It opens only for dinner.
Address: 21 E 7th Street.
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Morini – this restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner. Sophisticated atmosphere, great staff. And the best: delicious pasta and great sizes! Complimentary bread is delicious! Also, from Sunday to Thursday, from 8:30 p.m., Morini has Pasta Night, where pasta costs only $12 (just the right column on the pasta menu, you’ll see, ask about Pasta Night!). The Tagliatelle Bolognese is simply fantastic! At other times, the pasta cost between $22 and $32. Highly recommend making a reservation as well.
Address: 1167 Madison Avenue.
UPDATE: Morini is closed! You can visit the other location in Soho and Pasta Night happens every Monday starting at 9 pm.
I couldn’t help myself and also suggest some places for pizzas! There are several spots for pizzas in the city, however, I will recommend two that are authentic Italians and my favorites:
San Matteo Pizza & Espresso bar –recommended by Zagat and Michelin guides, San Matteo is a very typical place with Italian customers and Italian management. The menu features pizzas from $11, which are enough for two people. The dough is delicious! I love the one with cheese, truffles, and prosciutto. Another highlight is the “pizza con Nutella” ($14), warm, with lots of Nutella. San Matteo also has traditional appetizers, such as a cheese plate and burrata. Open daily for dinner and also for lunch on weekends.
Locations: 1739, 2nd Avenue / 1559 2nd Avenue.
Kesté – Kesté offers the authentic tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making and its owned by world-renowned Maestro Roberto Caporuscio. If you wanna have an idea, the many accolades for Kesté include “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine, “Best Pizza” in the State of NY by Food Network Magazine, amongst the top 25 “Best Pizza Places in the US” by Food and Wine Magazine and 5 of “The Most Authentic Pizzas Outside Italy” (the only one in the US) by Mr Porter. Kesté Pizza & Vino offers over 70 types of Neapolitan pizzas, all original creations by Mastro Pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio, signifying his knowledge of the history, the authentic tradition and the evolution of Neapolitan pizza. In his unique offering, Mastro Caporuscio also added 7 different types of fried pizza and 18 types of gluten-free pizzas. You can check the menus on the website. Prices are also great – pizzas start at $10, on average. And I couldn’t forget to tell you about Nutella Pizza: just try it! Kesté doesn’t take reservations.
Locations: 271 Bleecker St (West Village, lunch and dinner) 77 Fulton St (lunch and dinner) and 232 N 12th St (dinner).
Do you like these suggestions? I was checking lists of best Italian restaurants in the city from famous websites and all that I listed here were on those lists! I think I have good taste, right?
Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!