New York State is home to the largest population of Italians in the United States and North America. Thanks to this, The Big Apple and New York State as a whole are home to some of the best Italian restaurants outside Italy. From cosy family-style eateries to swanky white table-clothed restaurants, these Italian gems come in every shape and size. When visiting the Northeast state, it can be hard to decide where to go first and what to eat. We took the guesswork out for you and compiled a list of the best Italian restaurants in New York.
Get your Italian food fix of ribbony handmade pasta, freckled crust pizza, charred octopus and bold red wine at any of these New York State favourites.
Best Italian Restaurants in New York State
Norma is the ultimate eatery for authentic, nostalgic Italian fare in a setting that screams old world. The setting and warm feel of Norma Gastronomia Siciliana is the obvious pull, but the food is what really makes it shine. Whether you’re looking for a big helping of busiate al pesto Trapanese – a Sicilian pasta loaded with garlic, biancolilla and copious amount of extra virgin olive oil. Or whether you’re after more arancini than you can imagine from squid ink to ragu to mozzarella fillings, Norma Gastronomia Siciliana is the place to be.
L’Artusi takes fine Italian dining to the next level with its swanky atmosphere and upscale dishes. This sophisticated Italian restaurant gets its name from the famous Italian cookbook author Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911). For the uninitiated, Artusi authored the world-famous “La Scienza in Cucina e L’Arte di Mangiare Bene” (The Science of Cookery and the Art of Eating Well). With this in mind, you’re sure to have a meal that highlights all the best of Italian cuisine. Treat yourself to their famous charred octopus and a plate of the orecchiette.
Via Carota prides themselves on being your “neighbourhood place for a leisurely lunch with a friend, family dinners or late-night amaro.” As you can imagine, this West Village gem is perfect for all occasions and will never leave you wanting. Get started with an order of their fried green olives with pork sausage before heading on to the house-cured cod with chickpeas and tomatoes. Don’t forget to ask for a wine pairing from their extensive lista dei vini.
Lucciola Italian Restaurant is the quintessential place for Northern Italian fare. Run by Bologna natives Chef Michele Casadei Massari and Alberto Ghezzi, they bring the very best of Emilia-Romagna to your plate. Treat yourself to their classic tagliatelle al ragu bolognese or the super-rich tagliatelle mushrooms and truffle. Don’t forget a limoncello to top it off.
For more than 40 years, Ristorante Lombardo has been the authority on good Italian food in New York State. Here they are commited to world-class hospitality and understated elegance. Book a table for date night and go to town on their incredible menu items. Start with an order of bone marrow bruschetta and wood-roasted figs. Then move on to the shrimp scampi tossed in handmade tagliatelle or the pork chop porterhouse. Whatever you do, don’t forget to indulge in a glass of porto for dessert.
If your favourite part of Italian cuisine is Sicilian food, look no further than Piccola Cucina Osteria Siciliana. From the perfectly crisped arancini to the savoury caponata, Piccola will transport you to Palermo in an instant. Be sure to load up on their maccheroni alla Norma and don’t forget a few glasses of wine.
Nostalgic, charming, intimate. These are just a few words that perfectly describe Sandro’s off E 81st. This Big Apple fave is known for its warm atmosphere and a big emphasis on signature Roman fare. Get started with the carpaccio with shaved truffled and octopus then move on to the rabbit ragu or amatriciana.
At San Carlo Osteria Piemonte, they are all about Italy’s culinary and cultural traditions. It’s the brainchild of 6 Italian friends who decided to open up a restaurant dedicated to their homeland and its food. The team’s passion for food doesn’t go unnoticed with each menu item more delicious than the last. Start with the slow-cooked veal in tuna sauce and go from there. Don’t forget a pitcher of the house red, either.
At Marea, they take class, sophistication and fine dining to a whole new level. This Michelin starred restaurant is even more than a posh place to dine, however. It’s one of the best Italian restaurants in New York for its modern spin on Italian faves. Be sure to indulge in their fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow and don’t leave without a tiramisu.
I Sodi is the stuff of Tuscan dreams. Run by Florentine chef Rita Sodi, I Sodi is the place to be for authentic Tuscan style plates and a romantic atmosphere. Have a seat and chow down on some delicious antipasto Tuscano before heading on to the housemade lasagna that is nothing short of lifechanging. Don’t forget to pair it all with a bottle from their famous wine list.
Song’ E Napule is run by Ciro Iovine; a self-made pizza chef since 13 and world-class Italian food aficionado dedicated to bringing the best bites to NYC. Treat yourself to a classic margherita or go to town on the capricciosa made with prosciutto and veg galore. Either way, Ciro’s dedication to some of the best pizza in New York is easy to see and taste.
Named after one of Medieval Italy’s most beloved liquors, Nocello is a place that screams Old World authenticity. From their incredible antipasti picks right on to the wine list, it’s not hard to see why Nocello is one of the best when it comes to great Italian food. Start with the grilled calamari before working up to the famous ravioli nocello. Be sure to order some garlic bread or grilled asparagus on the side with a paired wine to bring it full circle.
Despite being relatively new to Buffalo’s Italian food scene, Giacobbi’s Cucina Citta feels like its been around for ages. Run by The Jacobbi family, Giacobbi’s has already garnered quite the following for their time tested family recipes and warm atmosphere. Don’t get us wrong, Giacobbi’s has all of your favourites, but we recommend going in on their “bucket of pasta” made with your choice of house pasta. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and every bit as delicious as you’d expect.
L&B Spumoni Gardens has been a staple in Brooklyn’s Italian scene since 1939. Famous for its massive Sicilian style pizzas, rich pasta and drool-worthy apps, it’s no wonder they’re so renowned. Go to town on their world-famous Sicilian pie smothered in a hearty tomato sauce and crisped to perfection. Don’t forget to start off with some roasted artichokes and garlic bread.
Sinatra’s is a cosy family-owned and operated eatery that prides themselves on preparing traditional Italian dishes with only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Get started with their legendary beef carpaccio and a glass of Italian red wine. Then indulge in their gnocchi puttanesca with bold flavours of tomato, garlic, olives and anchovies.
For over 35 years, San Marco Ristorante has been dedicated to bringing the very best of Italian food to New York. Fine food, warm hospitality and authentic Italian food are no doubt the name of the game here. Choose from any one fo their award-worthy pastas such as the tagliolini pasta smothered in black truffle oil and wild mushrooms to the classic fettuccine bolognese. Or how about a delicious plate of veal sauteed in white wine, garlic and herbs with prosciutto and mozzarella? Either way, you’ll be a regular in no time.
This cosy vintage eatery is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to rustic, authentic and flavorful Italian bites. Chef’s has been treating patrons to their melt in your mouth food since 1923 and is still one of the best in the biz. Sink your teeth into some of their deliciously salty garlic toast or pop a few of their crispy calamari rings. Then dig into a hearty plate of meaty ravioli or thick, layered lasagna. Either way, you’ll be raving about Chef’s for days.
Annarella is one of the best in the state when it comes to delicious homestyle Italian food. You’ll find that majority of their menu items hail from Tuscany and the surrounding region. We recommend starting with their polpo all griglia. This scrumptious antipasto consisted of grilled Portuguese octopus alongside spicy potatoes with olives and celery salad perfect for starting your meal. For an entree, you can’t go wrong with their salsiccia dish made with sweet Italian sausage, creamy polenta and broccoli. Lastly, don’t forget to top it all off with a negroni cocktail.
Bella Cucina is a New Hartford gem for authentic Italian dishes that’ll transport you right to the heart of Tuscany. Whether you go for their thick and hearty lasagna or feast on the saucy lobster ravioli, you’ll be a regular in no time. Be sure to ask for their specialities, too. The Cucina eggplant parm is nothing short of legendary.
A Tavola Trattoria is a favourite due to its locally sourced ingredients and emphasis on sustainability. Italian for “at the table”, A Tavola is a common expression to gather friends and family together when its time to eat. It’s a phrase that speaks to the strong bond between Italy’s families and food. Start with local seasonal salad before moving on to their world-famous mac’n’truffle and don’t forget their gin and jam house cocktail.
Right in the heart of Saratoga Springs, you’ll find one of New York’s best Italian restaurants, Chianti Il Ristorante. Take your pick from ragu di melanzane made with skinless eggplant, crushed tomatoes and creamy ricotta. Or how about the bruschetta made with housemade ciabatta, oven-roasted tomatoes and shaved grana padano. Craving something brothy? Opt for the zuppa di pesca made with all your favourite fruits of the sea. And those are just a few of the antipasti. Don’t even get us started on the pasta like the mezzanine alla vodka or capellina alla checca. Best part? Chianti is commited to supporting local farmers.
Tucked away in the Northern Catskills, Millrock is just about as country-style Italian as it gets. This cosy traditional Italian eatery perfectly combines original Mediterranean specialities with a stellar wine list and locally sourced ingredients. Opt for a thin crust pizza roasted to perfection in their wood-fired oven or go for a hearty serving of pasta. Either way, you won’t be forgetting Millrock anytime soon.
At Mama Capri, they take food seriously and pride themselves on only using the highest quality ingredients available to create classic Italian dishes with a modern touch. Spoil yourself with a big plate of spaghetti alla vongole and a few glasses of wine. But whatever you do; do not miss out on the zuppa di cozze, their house mussel soup with tomato. Trust us.
A place whose slogan is “pizza, pasta and love” is bound to hook you up with some of the best Italian food out there. Graziella’s serves a whole host of Mediterranean classics to quench your hunger, but the real star of the show is the pizza. Paperthin, freckled crust and fresh quality ingredients come with each and every pie out of Graziella’s. Opt for the inferno made with capicola salami, jalapenos and cherry peppers or go to town on the meatball pizza smothered in saucy meatballs and roasted garlic. Don’t forget an order of classic arancini on the side, either.
There’s no better place for Roman soul food than Maialino. This homey Italian eatery is famous for its authentic dishes and warm atmosphere that make the place feel like a real village trattoria. While the atmosphere, good company and stellar wine line certainly don’t hurt, the food is what brings the place to life. Chow down on their rigatoni with duck sausage smothered in cream and brandy for the meal of a lifetime.