Chef Harry Hatziparaskevas crafts traditional Greek cuisine that TimeOut New York lauds as “perfectly prepared.” These dishes include saganaki, mousaka, and arni youvetsi—lamb baked in a clay pot with orzo, tomato sauce, and feta. The dining room's mélange of brick walls and exposed ceiling beams mirrors the rustic charm of its food.
Umbertos Clam House piles on heaping portions of classic Italian seafood and pasta specialties along with savory steaks and chops, catering to patrons craving homemade family flavors. Divvy up a half-dozen cold-water oysters eager to ride throat rollycoasters while perusing possibilities such as homemade lobster ravioli, pork chops with vinegar peppers, or shrimp scampi over rice. Sip on homemade sangria or a variety of cocktails, specialty drinks, and wines while treating your ears to live music on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Whether you're dining with friends, a loved one, or flanked by imaginary monsters that won't ever leave, Umbertos provides a lively dining environment featuring high ceilings and nautical décor. See the online menu for more details and prices.
In 2011, the Michelin Guide recommended Vareli for its upscale and creative Mediterranean fare, crafted by chef and Gramercy Tavern veteran Amitzur Mor. Chef Mor uses sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible to inform Vareli’s ever-shifting local menu, which has featured such rich meats as Hudson-Valley duck and Pennsylvania lamb. Resident sommelier Richard Bill draws from his experience at Beacon and Ouest to complement each succulent entree with a wine list of 20 wines by the glass and 100 wines by the bottle. From Thursday to Saturday, Vareli’s kitchens remain open until 2 a.m., so patrons can sip vino and draft beer or rouse sleepwalking roommates with wafts from cheese and charcuterie boards late into the night.
On the ground floor of Vareli, a polished copper bar runs for 20 feet below a rustic arched ceiling, as wide stools belly up to the bar and to barrel-shaped plates. In the upstairs dining room, wide windows look out on treetops and burnished walls support velvety banquettes and lantern sconces. During the summer, couples close in on an intimate outdoor patio for fresh air from nearby Central Park, while colder days invite diners to gather around a cracking fireplace that the New York Times lauds for creating a cozy atmosphere.
Celebrating serving New York City for 20 years and led by executive chef Kenneth Johnson, who just recently showcased his talents in front of American television audiences during a victorious appearance on the Food Network's Chopped, the kitchen team at Pescatore infuses Old World cuisine with diverse flavors culled from around the globe to create a luscious menu of refined Italian cuisine. Parmigiano-topped bruschetta opens the menu, joining antipasti including roasted fingerling potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe. Meats and seafood stud the menu’s 11 pasta dishes, and chefs plate an elegant assortment of proteins including chicken, pork, and steak. Servers sweep over to tables and refill glasses with selections from the wine program, which encourages pairs to linger in the space's warm ambiance. Soft lighting spills from sconces and flickers from tabletop candles, and boldly swirled patterns mask accent walls with contemporary visages, disguising them from roving bands of wall thieves.
Inside his open kitchen at Il Tesoro Ristorante, owner and chef A.J. Black sears ahi tuna, grills Colorado baby lamb chops, and crowns fresh black linguine with seafood. Drawing on his training at the Italian Culinary Institute and inside the kitchens of the five-star Grand Hotel in Rome, Black combines Old-World Italian flavors with modern cooking techniques and plays matchmaker by serving plates of spaghetti for two composed of only one noodle.
The menu showcases fresh, seasonal ingredients and rotating daily specials, such as chef Black's signature risotto alla pescatora sautéed with clams, mussels, shrimp, and scallops and finished with cherry tomato sauce. The wine list collects Italian varietals carefully selected from both large and boutique wineries to pair with menu selections. Fresco paintings decorate the plastered walls with Tuscan scenery alongside antique artwork, intricate woodwork, and prospective diners with their noses pressed against the windows.