Best Italian Restaurants you have to eat at when visiting New York

Whether you’re planning a group dinner, special occasion or romantic date night, you can’t go wrong with Italian food. Heavy with Italian tradition, New York is home to some of the country’s best red sauce restaurants. I have rounded up my favorite restaurants in New York City to sip Italian wine and twirl homemade spaghetti.

IL CANTINORI | 32 East 10th Street

This traditional Tuscan restaurant, close to Washington Square Park, has been serving classic meal choices with only the best ingredients since 1983. The ambiance is cozy and romantic, decorated with voluminous floral arrangements. There is a reason why this restaurant has been in business for so many years – they treat you like family and serve consistently excellent food – you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Anything on the menu tastes absolutely delicious.

HARRY CIPRIANI | 781 5th Avenue 

The Central Park location is definitely my favorite of all of the Cipriani restaurants in the city. Everything on the menu is absolutely delicious and make sure to ask for the specials of the day. The menu is constantly changing but always has staple dishes on it such as the carpaccio alla cipriani, tagliatelle al veal ragu and risotto alla primavera. Their downtown location is also nice during the summer as they open all the front doors so even if you are not sitting outside (which is a big preference) you will have that indoor space opened right up to the outdoors. For dessert the warm crêpes à la crème with vanilla ice cream or famous vanilla meringue cake will satisfy even the pickiest connoisseur.

TUTTO IL GIORNO | 114 Franklin Street

Following two successful locations in the Hamptons, Tutto Il Giorno in lower Manhattan is one of New York’s best kept secrets. The restaurant is set in an elegant yet warm space and features some of the finest traditional Italian cooking in the city. The food is incredible and the atmosphere is beautiful, perfect to celebrate a special occasion. The menu highlights homemade pastas, fresh seafood and seasonal produce.

PALMA | 28 Cornelia Street

Another hidden gem nested on quaint Cornelia Street in the heart of West Village. Palma “evokes the Italian countryside with its antique wooden tables, rickety paper light fixtures and simple, whitewashed walls”. Hands down one of the most gorgeous and romantic restaurants in New York with a wall full of fresh flowers, candles, night lights everywhere and a lovely greenhouse-like patio with beautiful winter decorations. If you have never been here before I would recommend the agnolotti pasta filled with spinach and imported buffalo ricotta, served in a tomato and basil sauce. As for dessert you should go for the classic homemade tiramisu.

CARBONE | 181 Thompson Street

Quintessential New York Italian. It is a hustling and bustling place with great service and even better food. It can be tough to get a reservation, since the restaurant is not very big, so make sure to call a few days ahead of time and try to get into the main dining room. From the moment you walk into this old school Italian restaurant in Westvillage it has a nostalgic Italian 70s mafiosa vibe: the red checked tablecloths, the slick back barman, this place oozes cool. You can add white truffles to almost every dish. Order anything here and you can’t go wrong.

LOCANDA VERDE | 377 Greenwich Street

Fresh focaccia, fresh burrata, fresh pasta! Sunday brunch at this Tribeca taverna by Chef Andrew Carmellini is always an incredible experience. The soul-satisfying urban Italian restaurant is always jam packed, lively and loud. Menu favorites include prime-aged wagyu beef tartare and grandmother’s homemade ravioli. For dessert the banana monkey bread or dark chocolate bread pudding with pear ice cream are always a fitting finale.