The summer’s annual delight for the palate and wallet, New York City Restaurant Week, runs through August 17th. Reservations are currently being taken. One of the greatest things about New York City during the summer is the ability to try new restaurants or revisit some of your favorites at the special prices that are available during this time. For many, the event has become an annual calendar item. Many visit two, three or sometimes as many as a half dozen restaurants during the four-week culinary price reduction.
You will be able to try eateries ranging from trendy newcomers to top-notch hotel restaurants and enjoy some of the city’s best fine-dining. Each restaurant will offer a minimum of three choices for appetizers, three choices for entrées and at least two desserts. The three course, prix-fixe menu represents a savings of anywhere from 30% to 50% with lunches priced at $26 and dinner $42.
Out of the 381 restaurants that are participating in NYC Restaurant Week, 92 are Italian. There are world renowned restaurants such as La Masseria and Cipriani’s; fantastic restaurants that have taken part in the event for years include Grotta Azzurra in Little Italy and the height of chic Midtown Italian dining at the Armani Ristorante. Below is a list of participating restaurants that serve Italian cuisine:
10 Corso Como Café, Altesi Downtown, Altesi Ristorante, Anica Pesa, Armani Ristorante, Artie’s Steak & Seafood, Barano, Bar Italia, Bar Primi, Barbetta Restaurant, Becco, Bellini, Bocca Restaurant, Bocca Di Bacco – Chelsea, 54th St. and 45th St., Bread & Tulips, ‘Cesca, Casa Lever, Casa Nonna, Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano, Cipriani Dolci, Circo, Da Noi, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Etcetera Etcetera, Felice 15 Gold, Felice 64, Felice 83, Felidia, Feroce Ristorante, Giorgio’s of Gramercy, Gran Morsi, Grotta Azzurra, Hearth, I Trulli, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, Il Cantinori Restaurant, Il Mulino – Downtown, Tribeca, Uptown, Il Mulino Prime, Il Mulino Prime Gramercy, Il Postino, Joseph’s Restaurant, La Masseria, La Pecora Bianca – Midtown and NoMad, Lattanzi Cucina Italiana, Lavo, Leonelli Taberna, Leuca, Lido, The Leopard at des Artistes, Lincoln Ristorante, Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Lupa Osteria Romana, Maialino, Maiella, Mamo Restaurant, Manzo, Marta, Masseria dei Vini, Momofuku Nishi, Montebello Restaurant, Morandi, Naples 45, Nino’s Restaurant, Nonna Beppa, Obica Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina, Osteria 57, Osteria della Pace, Porsena, Rafele, Remi Restaurant, Rock Center Café, Rossini’s Restaurant, San Carlo Osteria Piemonte, Sant Ambroeus – West Village and Soho, Scarpetta, Serra by Birreria, Stella 34, Storico, Tarallucci e Vino (4 locations), Trattoria Italienne, ViceVersa Restaurant Vinateria, Zero Otto Nove and Zio Ristorante.
With so many restaurants to choose from, it may be quite difficult to determine what restaurants should top your wish list. To assist you in this task, we have highlighted some of New York’s most spectacular Italian restaurants for you to try.
**Our # 1 Pick **
La Masseria – An Italian Farmhouse in the middle of NYC
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In the region of Puglia, a masseria is a large working farm. These traditional farmhouses were the inspiration for La Masseria restaurant. Since its opening, the restaurant has garnered award after award, beginning with Esquire’s award as one of America’s best new restaurants in 2005. La Masseria has been honored by Wine Spectator every year since 2009 for having one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world and among its other awards, La Masseria received the Concierge Choice Award as Best Restaurant in New York City Theater District.
Over the past 15 years, the restaurant has taken on iconic status and remains as true to its origins today as when it first opened its doors. The menu’s classic dishes use the freshest natural ingredients from the land and sea, while the simple, authentic style of cooking that is an integral part of the masseria culture, remains the cornerstone of the restaurant’s extraordinary dining experience.
Just as the right ingredients are necessary in the preparation of any dish, the three owners of La Masseria bring their own special blend of talents and interests. Pino Coladonato, executive chef and co-owner, grew up on a farm in Puglia. Today, fava beans, chickpeas and lentils are still core elements in many of his entrées. For La Masseria, he has designed a superb menu that uses a wealth of traditional ingredients to evoke flavors and aromas of the traditional Italian farmhouse. “I remember the masseria food; it was simple, fresh and flavorful – it’s whatever the land or sea had to offer at that time. That’s what I want to offer people here; the best dishes that represent that authentic cuisine,” remarked Pino.
Peppe Iuele says of the guests of the restaurant, “I want them to feel comfortable, as if they are enjoying a delicious meal at a good friend’s house and I think we’ve successfully created that feeling here at La Masseria.”
Enzo Ruggiero’s passion extends beyond food to wine, always seeking the perfect pairing. “I have traveled throughout southern Italy to find vineyards producing a collection of lesser-known wines, like a Falanghina from Campania,” Enzo says. To describe the wine list of La Masseria as extensive is an understatement.
The goal of the interior design was to create a warm, inviting dining atmosphere reminiscent of a true masseria, which is both rustic and imbued with old world charm. Artful displays of antique farm tools are mixed with photographs from Italy for an outstanding blend of rural Italian style and nostalgia. It is the perfect setting for La Masseria’s exceptional cuisine.
The restaurant’s manager, Giorgio Manzio, is from Salerno, Italy. He is like the maestro of an orchestra, ensuring that each patron is greeted and made to feel like family. His passion is evident to all and strikes the perfect balance between warmth and intensity. You are immediately made to feel that your dining experience will be special and memorable. And at La Masseria, it always is. Please ask for Giorgio and tell him the Italian Tribune sent you.
La Masseria is located at 235 West 48th Street in New York City. For reservations call 212-582-2111. Visit their website at www.lamasserianyc.com.
Masseria dei Vini is the newest venture by restaurateurs Pino Coladonato, Peppe Iuele and Enzo Ruggiero. They have collaborated again with interior design expert Libby Langdon to bring a modern and updated version of the traditional Puglian masseria. Executive Chef Pino Coladonato has created a menu that blends traditional with modern. The menu features beautiful offerings from Puglia, many of which incorporate fish, shellfish and a plethora of fresh homemade pastas. The menu also offers gourmet Neapolitan-style pizza prepared in a Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven. As is stated in the restaurant’s name, wine is a key feature of the dining experience and Masseria dei Vini offers an array of wine by the glass program, in addition to its extensive selection of Italian bottles of wine. Masseria dei Vini is located at 887 9th Avenue (between 57th and 58th Streets) in Manhattan. Call 212-315-2888 for reservations.
After a hundred years in Little Italy, Grotta Azzurra, located at 177 Mulberry Street, has a history as a host that spans from welcoming Caruso to Sinatra and beyond. Under the ownership of Frank Castellana, the restaurant is renowned for the same enthusiastic hospitality that is extended to the first-time guests and regulars alike. Everyone becomes happy as they dine on the homemade pasta specialties and exceptional entrées, such as the Veal Milanese and osso buco. Reserve today by calling 212-925-8775.
On the right night you might see the owner, actor Chazz Palminteri holding court at his restaurant. This warm Midtown establishment has an old-world feel with a traditional menu and a classic elegant decor of dark-wood with mosaic tiles and comfortable nail and leather seats. Its excellent service, fantastic food and overall charm puts this restaurant on any list for NYC Restaurant Week. Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant is located at 30 West 46th Street. Call 212-355-5540 for reservations.
Lupa Osteria Romana, 170 Thompson Street, features artisanal Italian meats and cheeses and house-made products like tuna in olive oil and guanciale. The kitchen uses the freshest ingredients – skillfully substituting and supplementing those that are out of season or unavailable in NYC to produce traditionally Roman dishes with an element of New York flair. 212-982-5089.
San Carlo Osteria Piemonte features food from the Piedmont region of Italy in New York and you will find it in abundance on the menu. Wonderful meat antipasti, northern Italian sauces and rich main courses are offered. The restaurant is also known for selections of the best wine from the region. Located at 90 Thompson Street, call 212-625-1212 for reservations.
Osteria della Pace is one of the newer restaurants located in 4 World Trade Center, 101 Liberty Street. This upscale southern Italian restaurant prepares in house made pastas, meats and large plates for the table to share, complemented by a lively selection of wines and cocktails. The space is stylish with leather banquettes, marble tables and tile floors, as well as decorative ceramic plates. For reservations call 646-677-8580.
Restaurant Week in NYC is a real treat and a great value for diners, so make those reservations and indulge your culinary senses!
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A three-course dinner at the best restaurants in New York for $42? It sounds too good to be true, but that is what makes NYC Restaurant Week one of the best times to visit New York. You can’t resist great food at bargain prices!
Restaurant Week New York City Insider Tips
The three-course, prix-fixe meals for $29 (lunch) and $42 (dinner) does not include beverages, tip or tax.
Most restaurants do not participate on Saturdays.
Review the menu in advance, as there are fewer choices on the RW menu than normal. If you have eating restrictions, you may be limited.
Monday to Wednesday reservations tend to be easier to get than those for Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
When making a reservation, be sure to mention you are booking for Restaurant Week.
When being seated, ask for the Restaurant Week menu if it is not offered.