With dishes of thick, sage-seasoned veal chops and house-made pasta on its tables, it's no wonder that the dining room at Da Noi gets crowded. The Midtown spot is usually "packed with devotees of solid Northern Italian fare," according to New York Magazine, which also praised the "elegant" wood-paneled dining room.
Da Noi's chefs celebrate the subtleties of Northern Italian cuisine by tirelessly chopping fresh herbs, slicing scarlet-hued beef carpaccio, and saut?ing filets of fresh sole in white wine. Da Noi's handmade pasta dishes have turned many first-time diners into regulars, but other enthusiasts return again and again for pasta-free dishes such as grilled chicken livers dressed in a tangy balsamic dressing and served over fresh field greens.
The dessert menu rubs shoulders with the cocktail program at Da Noi, and the results are lavishly indulgent. Bartenders mix and muddle ingredients such as white chocolate and fresh blueberries with potent liqueurs, and decorate shaken martinis with whimsical garnishes. Glasses of silky house-made limoncello present a careful balance of sweet and tart flavors.
Known for its crispy thin-crust pizzas, which chefs make from scratch by hand, Roma Delight has served up traditional Italian fare for more than 25 years. Pastas, calzones, and hot sandwiches stuffed with fresh ingredients round out the authentic menu.
Offering authentic Italian fare in an elegant dining environment, Bistro Restaurant entices epicures with an eclectic assortment of lunch and dinner specialties. Start dinner with an appetizing mouth party of steamed Prince Edward Island mussels ($10), or opt for the arugula 'n’ grilled portobello salad topped with roasted red peppers and grape tomatoes ($9). Culinary traditionalists can chomp on a classic margarita pizza with basil and fresh mozzarella ($10 for a 12" pizza), and fire-eaters can savor spicy fra diavolo on fettuccine pescatore with shrimp, calamari, octopus, clams, and mussels ($26). For tongue-snuggling entrees, the gnocchi alla genovese embraces taste buds with the help of a basil pesto cream sauce ($16), and veal scaloppine snuggles next to roasted shallots and mushroom fortified wine sauce ($22).
La Strada's chef and owner, Anthony Santisi, keeps his extensive dinner and lunch menus brimming with classic Italian favorites. Appetizers such as the crispy fried calamari (served with sweet, medium, or hot sauce; $12) or stuffed artichoke ($11) make savory curtain-raisers for chef Anthony's star attraction, pork chops la strada ($24), which pairs well with the Chimney Rock Cabernet from the wine list. Alternately excellent entrees, including classic zuppa di pesce ($30), let your senses snorkel through the flavors of the sea, and La Strada's specialty homemade lasagna ($17) blankets tongues in a stack of saucy layers. Pasta dishes such as the rigatoni caprese pit fresh Italian plum tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh basil against each other in an arena of rigatoni pasta dusted with shredded fresh mozzarella cheese ($17). La Strada's special dessert of the day will finish the feast with a sweet surprise, assuming you haven't already figured out that your blind date is Batman.
For more than 20 years, Scot Cosentino and his culinary team have shared their love of Italian cuisine with guests at Goodfella's Old World Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta, a family-friendly bistro. They now have a second location known as Goodfella's Inferno Brick Oven Pizza, which has limited seating and focuses on takeout and delivery. At both locales, pizzas are made in the Old-World tradition—i.e., cooked in a real wood-fired brick oven as the chefs quote Dickens. The creations include Cosentino’s original vodka pizza and other handmade pies. For these gourmet pizzas, Goodfella's has taken home big prize money from the International Pizza Expo, winning its Pizza Challenge on more than one occasion. The chefs also prepare heaping helpings of Italian pastas and entrees such as eggplant parmigiana and baked ziti.
At The Original Primo Pizza & Grill, chefs whirl handmade dough and whole, peeled tomatoes into a variety of thin-crust pizzas. While the menu includes classic standbys such as the hawaiian pizza, customers can also create their own perfect pies from toppings such as garlic, mushrooms, pepperoni, and sausage. What really shines through, however, is the restaurant’s large selection of specialty pies: buffalo-chicken pizza is topped with chicken and zesty buffalo sauce; Nutella pizza with brown and powdered sugar; and the American-style pizza gets topped with steak, peppers, onions, american cheese, and a pervasive dislike of the metric system.
While pizza dominates the menu, diners can also explore traditional Italian entrees, including dinner specialties such as chicken scampi, veal milanese, and spaghetti with clam sauce.