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.
Though it's a relatively new spot, YN's history is already accumulating on the ceiling, which is covered in corks from wine bottles well spent. What you see on the ceiling isn't necessarily what you'll get, though, as the wine list is constantly changing. According to Time Out New York, about 25 wines by the glass and 25 by the bottle pair with a selection of "cheese and charcuterie from nearby Di Palo's Fine Foods." Guests can sidle up to the cozy wine bar for a glass or two, or settle into a table in the back.
While the front section of Prince St. Café is a laid-back coffee shop with baked goods and free WiFi, venture to the back and you’ll find a proper dining area where guests dig into artfully plated salads, pastas, and sandwiches. Using fresh ingredients, Chef Gary creates gourmet menu items such as duck confit salad, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, and sirloin burgers piled high with premium ingredients. And like a dentist who specializes in vampires, the breakfast menu is available all day and night, and includes items such as frittatas and banana-stuffed french toast.
Combing provincial and urban elements, Nolita eatery Plan B embraces the eclectic spirit of both Barcelona and the Basque region. Executive Chef Jhonathan Rupchand leads the team as they design an inventive menu of shareable tapas that New York Magazine praised as, "more exciting than most." The chefs draw inspiration from the regions' centuries-old peasant cooking; however, they use modern sensibilities and techniques to refine and elevate these rustic flavors.
Garden-fresh produce from local markets appears alongside imported Spanish cheeses and cured meats. As diners savor the bold combinations of saffron and striped bass or roasted cornish hen with absinthe-spiked cream, they can also indulge in a drink menu that was designed in tandem with the cuisine. Northern Spanish beers and wines appear prominently in the selection, as do cocktails mixed using everything from gin and prickly pear to jalape?o-infused tequila and pomegranate.
Much like the menu, Plan B's decor manages to embrace a rustic vibe and an urban aesthetic at the same time. Wall panels made from olive branches, a leather banquette lined with horsehide, and chicken-wire cabinets filled with wine bottles all establish the restaurant's provincial roots. However, a custom-designed mural of graffiti art and stencil work manages to evoke the gritty, urban essence of a Barcelona streetscape.
Eight Mile Creek unfurls across two floors, transporting New York diners down under with an exotic spread of Australian pub-style cuisine and imported spirits. Splashed in the flickering glow of candlelight, bronze-tiled walls establish the restaurant's rustic feel, as guests browse menus stocked with grilled-kangaroo skewers, burgers, and elegant entrees such as racks of Aussie lamb. On the first floor, live music further inflates casual airs with energized tunes, and themed holiday parties offer visitors an alternative to stuffy office banquets and get-togethers with socially awkward snowmen. During summer months, Aussie beers and New Zealand wines accompany warm breezes on an outdoor patio, where a wooden deck and an exposed-brick walls combine to create a tranquil dining experience.
Widely believed to be New York’s––and possibly America's––oldest pizzeria, Lombardi’s has been dishing up pies for 100-plus years. Originally founded in 1905, the eatery still makes each and every pizza in a coal-fired oven the way founder Gennaro Lombardi did, resulting in a crust with crispy, slightly blackened edges that segue into a soft, doughy core. That crust takes center stage in Lombardi's famous clam pie, staying super-crisp thanks to a noticeable lack of tomato sauce and cheese, opting instead for a fresh medley of clams, garlic, olive oil, herbs, and pecorino romano. Not that the regular cheese pie is anything to sneeze at; as Gennaro's grandson Jerry––now the owner––told a reporter for The Pizza Hall of Fame, the shop's mozzarella is made fresh everyday right in New York City. That commitment to freshness also translates into meatballs that are homemade in-house and red peppers that are roasted daily thanks to comedic insults hurled by the kitchen's other vegetables.