For those who might be unfamiliar with Roman-style pizza, the New York Daily News provides an easy solution to the problem: “If you don’t know what a Roman pie tastes like, visit Emporio.” Here, chefs top “wafer-thin” crusts with cheeses imported directly from Italy, locally grown veggies, and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. A brick oven bakes the dough, melts the cheese, and fuses each pie with robust flavor. Chefs crack organic eggs to make their housemade pasta, including yellow-potato-and-ricotta gnocchi topped with wild mushrooms and artichoke ragu. They make sure to work hearty proteins into the equation, as well. No dish better represents this than the 32-ounce Black Angus rib eye, served with enough meat, fingerling potatoes, and shishito peppers for two to enjoy. Just like its menu, the restaurant itself exudes a rustic Italian feel. Huge skylights drench the dining room in natural light, illuminating the pumpkin-colored walls and exposed beams to make Emporio a cozy respite from the screaming-newborn-baby-filled city outside.
Most sources credit Lombardi’s with dishing out New York’s first pizza, spawning a civic tradition the 100-plus-year old eatery still leads. Though Lombardi’s prizes its rich past, its pizza remains fresh—coal-fired crusts alternate between soft and crispy textures, providing a solid foundation for fresh mozzarella and Marzano sauce.
The tasting menu at this never grows stale, since chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone develop a new version weekly. Two diners each night are treated to something even more special: the 20-course chef’s tasting menu, which [New York Magazine] says “encompass[es] the entire gastronomic history of NYC in twenty or so carefully considered bites.”
Travertine entertains puddle-jumping palates and celebrity appetites with a celebrated seasonal menu of upscale Italian-Mediterranean entrees and pasta dishes. The Travertine kitchen produces elegantly crafted signature dishes, such as beef carpaccio with spring radish, shaved piave, and unshaved hairy watercress aioli ($15), and the sea-faring mare paella featuring half a lobster, shrimp, calamari, Prince Edward mussels, and saffron rice ($28). The garganelli pasta, rated by Metromix as "one of the most memorable pasta dishes of 2009," features shiitake mushrooms, baby brussels sprouts and brown butter ($19). Peruse the sacchariferous dessert menu for delicious after-dinner items, such as the amaretto panna cotta with toasted almonds, raspberries, and orange-raisin sauce ($10), or explore the chef's daily selections of gelato and sorbetto ($7).
Crudo came in with a bang when it opened its NoLita restaurant doors in 2011, catching both the eyes of New York Magazine and the tastebuds of the New York Times. To garner this type of attention, Crudo's owners enlisted Chef Roberto Meduri to perfect the seafood-focused menu of authentic Southern Italian recipes. With fresh fish flown in "directly from Italy," as mentioned by Thrillist, Chef Meduri keeps Crudo's raw bar overflowing with oysters, lobster, and clams, and tops off traditional small plates (sfizi) with mussels and fried calamari. The chef also handcrafts heartier meals of paninis, pizzas, and homemade pasta including a classic roman version of carbonara. And to fuel any culinary journey, Crudo's team suggests a glass of wine, freshly made sangria, or a selection from their "saketini" list.
Thrillist also took note of Crudo's décor, which they said echoes a "…quaint coastal Italian home…accented by cherry wainscoating [and] sea life murals." Live music every evening complements the Italian summer-inspired atmosphere, as diners sway to jazz tunes, swing music, and Latin beats, and get serenaded by a violin-playing crab.
Much like an Italian piazza, an open square in the center of a town, Piazza 17 is a gathering spot where friends can meet for dinner or a glass of wine. The interior feels kind of like a rural Italian wine bar with tall wine racks lining redbrick walls and cheese plates served on rustic, wooden cutting boards. In the kitchen, chefs prepare two types of pizza. The first, a traditional round pizza, is meant for sharing, while the second, a large rectangular pizza, can be ordered by the slice or stuffed whole into a standard briefcase. Classic toppings on both include mozzarella, spicy soppressata, and mushrooms.