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100 Best Italian Restaurants

New York has been working on the world's greatest collection of Italian restaurants for more than a century. In 1900 immigrants from Nola—near Napoli—paused long enough while dancing the giglio to found Bamonte's, a quintessential Williamsburg institution that is still ladling marinara. At about the same time Giovanni Lombardi invented pizza as we know it on Spring Street, and it spread to every corner of the globe so ineluctably that McDonald's can only look on in envy. Not to be outdone by Neapolitans, Sicilians founded Ferdinando's in Red Hook in 1904 and commenced turning out the chickpea-fritter sandwiches that are still the heart of the menu.

Nobody doesn't like Italian food, and our range of choices has never been better. Flocks of Italian wine bars have appeared downtown offering the choicest vintages, as uptown joints like Cesca and L'Impero charge haute cuisine prices for what used to be peasant fare. Regional trattorias from Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzi, Venice, Apulia, Tuscany, and Rome compete for downtown patrons, as workers and students still relish their two-slice lunches on nearly every corner. And how many millions of spaghetti-feet are sucked down each year in the city? We'll probably never know.

From humble hero shops up to restaurants of the trattoria level, this list represents my ranking of New York's greatest Italian dining establishments. Culled from an estimated 2,500 Italian eateries citywide, every place on my list possesses excellence in one form or another. In creating it, I paid particular attention to the unsung heroes of the local food chain, the pizza parlors. One afternoon, huffing and puffing on my bike, I visited 17 in upper Manhattan, hoping to find a place as unpretentiously good as DiFara's (#13). I think I almost did: George's (#64). How can a lowly neighborhood pizzeria be better than a destination bistro that gooses its linguine with porcini and truffles? Try a lasagna slice at San Cono (#5) or the tripe and peas at Lodomini's (#9) and find out!

imageNew York has been working on the world's greatest collection of Italian restaurants for more than a century. In 1900 immigrants from Nola—near Napoli—paused long enough while dancing the giglio to found Bamonte's, a quintessential Williamsburg institution that is still ladling marinara. At about the same time Giovanni Lombardi invented pizza as we know it on Spring Street, and it spread to every corner of the globe so ineluctably that McDonald's can only look on in envy. Not to be outdone by Neapolitans, Sicilians founded Ferdinando's in Red Hook in 1904 and commenced turning out the chickpea-fritter sandwiches that are still the heart of the menu.

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Nobody doesn't like Italian food, and our range of choices has never been better. Flocks of Italian wine bars have appeared downtown offering the choicest vintages, as uptown joints like Cesca and L'Impero charge haute cuisine prices for what used to be peasant fare. Regional trattorias from Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzi, Venice, Apulia, Tuscany, and Rome compete for downtown patrons, as workers and students still relish their two-slice lunches on nearly every corner. And how many millions of spaghetti-feet are sucked down each year in the city? We'll probably never know.

From humble hero shops up to restaurants of the trattoria level, this list represents my ranking of New York's greatest Italian dining establishments. Culled from an estimated 2,500 Italian eateries citywide, every place on my list possesses excellence in one form or another. In creating it, I paid particular attention to the unsung heroes of the local food chain, the pizza parlors. One afternoon, huffing and puffing on my bike, I visited 17 in upper Manhattan, hoping to find a place as unpretentiously good as DiFara's (#13). I think I almost did: George's (#64). How can a lowly neighborhood pizzeria be better than a destination bistro that gooses its linguine with porcini and truffles? Try a lasagna slice at San Cono (#5) or the tripe and peas at Lodomini's (#9) and find out!

View the top 100 Italian Restaurants!

 
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