Ciao Bella: The Top 5 Italian Restaurants in NYC

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From a modern day Palazzo on the outskirts of the city, a new hotspot cafe in Meatpacking to an iconic restaurant with an eternal waiting list, check out the haute Italian restaurants of NYC.

(*lead photo Perbacco)

1 Vetro Restaurant and Lounge

For the ultimate Italian fine dining experience head out of the city and to Howard Beach. Although it's not the first destination that comes to mind for a lavish Italian meal, you will be pleasantly surprised by the grandeur of this modern day palazzo. From the hand mosaic elevator, intricate granite floors, plush seating, and strategically placed Chihuly, there is a level of quality and attention to detail that would have made a Renaissance Medici proud, if not envious. Chef Michael DeGeorgio brings creativity and comfort to the table. Must order items include the Lobster Cappuccino, Granzevola alla Treistina, Russo Rib Cut Veal Chop, and Tiramisu. The location is perfect for jet-setters coming and going from JFK.

164-49 Crossbay Blvd. Howard Beach
New York, NY 11414

2 La Gazzetta

A true Italian cafe in meatpacking, this newly opened hotspot is revitalizingly refreshing from morning to night. Begin the day with a cafe latte and a modern interpretation of brunch, such as the Uova in Camicia or Pompelmo. If the weather is nice dine outdoors, if not snuggle inside for a bistro atmosphere. Must order eveninig bites include Pomodoro Bruschette, Grilled Sea Bream, and Pollo alla Diavola.
55 Gansevoort St
New York, NY 10014

3 Perbacco

For a playful and experimental evening of Italian delights and a wine list that will make you wonder if Bacchus is in the cellar, it's Perbacco in the East Village. Fueled by a passionate staff led by Francesco Lucitelli. Start with the spaghetti carbonara, but don't be fooled by the classic title, rather pleasantly surprised by inspiring textures and layered sensations. For a savory main dish try the Rosetta allo Speck, a slice of lasagna oozing with melted cheese and smoky flavors. Polish it all off with a prized glass of Vin Santo for dessert.
234 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10009

4 Rao

With only ten tables serving dinner from 5pm - 11pm, it's not often that one can land a reservation at this iconic Italian restaurant serving comforting staples since 1896. Especially since the tables are owned and unless you are a guest of one of these coveted shareholders, chances are you will simply be the recipient of "we are booked for a year and not taking reservations."

455 East 114th St
New York, NY 10029

5 Pepe Rosso

You won't find glam, glitz or silver plated spoons here, but you will find a pipping hot plate of pasta that is perhaps one of the most soothing and comforting meals in New York City. Add some fresh grated parmesean and a dash of olive oil for a meal that warms the belly and soul. Sop up the sauce with a thick slice of italian bread and a mouth swirl of Morretti.
149 Sullivan St
New York, NY
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