All'onda in Union Square feels more grown up than most of its surroundings and more lively and spry than its established fine dining neighbors. The Italy-with-dabs-of-Asia menu has some next-level moments of radiance here—but what they add up to is still up in the air.
'Italian' on Serious Eats
If you're looking for more than just standard egg dishes for brunch, go to East 12th Osteria where you'll get a home cooked Italian meal and pastries.
Chef Rita Sodi serves a homegrown Tuscan cuisine at her Christopher Street restaurant, I Sodi, changing very little of her mother's recipes in her intimate space. And she finds enough of a challenge in keeping things that way, for a while.
Pagani's reasonably priced Italian has its pleasures, but to thrive on Bleecker street it'll have to do more.
We'll have more about All'Onda, the upscale self-described "modern Venetian" restaurant soon, but first the essentials: get the magical smoked uni bucatini, but don't skip the crudo either.
Centenarian red sauce joint has changed remarkably little in the past hundred years, as this full report can attest. Most of the food will keep you happy, but is there anything you have to get on your visit? A recent trip offered two answers, one expected and one less so.
Splurge on the secondi at this century-old pharmacy-turned-Tuscan gem, or (wisely) build a meal around the antipasti and excellent homemade pastas.
The numbers vary—seven, nine, 11, even unlucky 13. The menus vary. And few agree on the origins of the tradition. But no matter on what side of the debate you sit, one collective truth rings clear: the Italian "Feast of the [Seven] Fishes," served on Christmas Eve, is a time to eat, drink, and be satiated. In New York, there is no shortage of feasts to choose from. Here we've rounded up seven takes on the seven fishes. Like anyone who has ever studied the Italian language knows, it's not always what you say—it's how you say it.
Raffetto's has been in the pasta business since 1906, and it's still turning out great fresh and dry pasta today.
Sorriso Pork Store is an Italian deli in Astoria with a reputation for good sandwiches, great deli products, and some of the friendliest counter staff you'll find anywhere. It deserves that rep on all fronts.
It's hard for me not to recommend Il Passatore: its dishes have a homey, crowd-pleasing feel to them, its service is solicitous, and the prices are more than fair. But I hope the kitchen staff finds the courage to season its food more aggressively in the future.
Meet Bernardo Flores. He's the master butcher at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, the Italian market and restaurant that's continued to impress us with the breadth of its breakfast, bread, dinner, dessert, and charcuterie. I got to watch Bernardo in action as he made fresh sausage, dry salumi, and other cured items of deliciousness from several hundred pounds of hogs. Take a look inside to see.
I wouldn't call Dave and Tony's Salumeria in Astoria a "secret" sandwich shop, but they don't shout their heros from the rooftops either. Go for one with fresh mozzarella, made right in the store.
Zito's Sandwich Shoppe in Park Slope is one of those places that melds the old and new of Brooklyn, serving decidedly classic sandwiches in a hip and refined space, all with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients. Just like their pork braciole, their Chicken Parm ($10.50) is a shining example of just how well that approach works.
Chicken parm is an Italian restaurant lunchtime mainstay, and Forlini's, cut off by Chinatown from what remains of Little Italy, is exactly the sort of old school Italian restaurant where you'd expect to find such a thing. Though the sandwich here isn't that distinguished, it makes a satisfying lunch.
Homemade red sauce with pasta is nothing new at Di Palo's in Little Italy, but on a recent visit, the team explained that they're increasing the regularity of some of their offerings. Which means you have even more chances to get this prosciutto-filled red sauce, either in packaged sauce form or dressed with pasta in the deli case, ready to eat.
An Italian sandwich truck with sliced-to-order meat and cheese from Di Palo's? Sign us up.
The solid, comforting Italian food being served up at Adelina's isn't likely to be the most memorable food you'll ever eat, but its diverse, vegetarian-friendly menu offers plenty of affordable and appealing options perfect for sharing along with a bottle of wine.
"You want a bottle of red wine or white tonight? Or maybe rosé for the weather?" our waitress asked shortly after wedging us into a four-top no bigger than a couple of folded newspapers. Her delivery was spectacularly close to the Billy Joel song lyrics, which may have subconsciously influenced me into spending the rest of the meal thinking to myself, this has got to be the most neighborhood-Italian-y of neighborhood Italian restaurants in the city. I have a couple of friends who got married two weeks ago and used to live on 84th and Amsterdam. I asked them if they'd ever been. "It's where we had our first date!" said the newlywed wife. It's that kind of a place—one that engenders equal parts pride and nostalgia.
Il Salumaio is the newest Italian deli open in the Upper East Side. A small space managed by a more than friendly staff, the sandwich shop is a destination we would gladly visit again for a quick lunch fix. The sandwiches hew close to deli classics, but with some subtle twists.