Food & Drink,  Featured

The Best Italian Restaurants on the Upper West Side

If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, NYC has a huge menu of offerings. Sure, there’s Little Italy downtown and a shout-out to the incomparable Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. But luckily for us, there is also a generous supply of Italian restaurants right here on the Upper West Side! Is it the ambiance, food, or service that draws you in? Do you favor a restaurant known for its regionally-inspired cuisine, branzino, house-made pasta, pizza, or tartufo? Are you looking for a casual neighborhood place or planning a sophisticated evening?
Check out our list of eight best Italian restaurants on the Upper West Side. Some are elegant and upscale, while others offer a more relaxed, family-style vibe. Some showcase recipes passed down through the generations, while others boast a more modern twist. Do you prefer indoor or outdoor seating? Dine-in or take-out? You choose. What you can pretty much count on across the board are fresh, authentic ingredients, good-sized portions, and inspired wine lists and desserts.

Buon Appetito!!

Arco Cafe – 886 Amsterdam Avenue (between W. 103rd & 104th Streets)

Arco Cafe is a cozy and inviting Italian restaurant specializing in authentic Sardinian cuisine. Everything is made from scratch. Their menu showcases a selection of fresh homemade pasta, including malloreddus, fregula, and cavatelli, made daily. The focaccia, baked fresh throughout the day is available with various toppings. Arco Cafe looks to deliver the true flavors of Sardiniac while creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for intimate dining experiences. The restaurant has garnered rave reviews for its delicious food, attentive service, and cozy ambiance. Highlights from customers include the Cacio E Pepe, Seafood Pasta, and Cavatelli Broccoli Rabe E Salsiccia.

Bella Luna – 574 Columbus Avenue (located at the corner of W. 88th Street)

This old-school Italian restaurant has been a fixture on the Upper West Side for over 35 years. Their menu features a selection of affordable ($18) Italian classics, including some of my favorites such as Tagliatelle Bolognese and Ragatoni Alla Norcina.  Customers rave about their Fettuccine Alfredo and Lobster Ravioli. Bella Luna prides itself on ensuring every customer feels comfortable and at home which has kept locals and visitors returning for over three decades. This Upper West Side restaurant is a must if you are looking for some excellent Italian food.

Carmine’s – 2450 Broadway (between W. 90th & 91st Streets)

Carmine’s Italian Restaurant has been serving hearty, family-style Italian cuisine for decades. They are renowned for serving massive portions, perfect for sharing among friends and family. Be sure to arrive with a big appetite. The menu features classic Italian favorites like eggplant parmigiana, baked clams, and stuffed mushrooms. But the real stars of the show are the colossal pasta dishes, such as penne alla vodka, meaty lasagna, and the showstopping “Titanic” – a platter of pasta, sausage, meatballs, and marinara sauce that could easily feed a small army. While the food is undoubtedly the main attraction, Carmine’s also offers a warm and welcoming ambiance that transports diners to an authentic Italian family gathering. The attentive service and lively atmosphere make it the perfect spot for celebrations, group outings, or simply indulging in a comforting meal with family or friends.

Cibo E Vino – 2418 Broadway (located at the corner of W. 89th Street)

Cibo e Vino is an inviting Italian restaurant in the heart of the Upper West Side, offering a Northern Italian cuisine. The menu offers an array of house-made pasta along with seafood options like the branzino and Dover sole. Popular dishes include grilled octopus and penne alla vodka. The restaurant uses all-natural meats and locally sourced seafood. In addition to the excellent food, the restaurant is adorned with flowers and plants which makes it an ideal spot for romantic dates or intimate gatherings.

Gennaro – 665 Amsterdam Avenue (between W. 93rd & 94th Streets)

Gennaro Restaurant is a classic Italian gem delighting locals and visitors for decades with its cuisine and warm, inviting ambiance. The menu lists an array of Northern Italian specialties, from fresh homemade pasta like seafood risotto to mains like veal chops and lamb shanks. Dishes such as spaghetti pomodoro have earned them a loyal following among discerning diners. The restaurant offers a cozy, old-world charm that establishes the feel of a traditional Italian trattoria. Bring cash since they don’t accept credit cards.

Pappardella – 316 Columbus Avenue (between W. 74th & 75th Streets)

If longevity is an indication of the quality of a restaurant then this Tuscan-inspired cuisine should be on your must-visit restaurants. Family-owned and operated since they opened their doors in 1983. They have received praise from The New York Times, Eater, and Zagat for their authentic Italian dishes and exceptional service. The menu features an array of classic pasta dishes, including penne bisanzio, penne a la vodka, and rigatoni primavera, as well as entrees like chicken parmigiana, grilled hanger steak, and branzino alla griglia. Pappardella also offers a separate gluten-free menu. Located near the Beacon Theater, the Museum of Natural History, and Central Park. Pappardella offers weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner prix fixe menus, as well as a happy hour.

Tarallucci e Vino

Tarallucci e Vino is located on the Upper West Side and is known for its crafted coffee, pastries, and homemade pasta. This restaurant is a perfect spot for a quick breakfast, lunch, or a relaxed dinner. The menu features an array of Italian classics, from house-made pastries to fresh pasta dishes. They are conveniently located near Central Park and the Museum of Natural History. Favorite dishes include poached eggs and French toast, polenta, and oysters.

V&T – 1024 Amsterdam Avenue (between W. 110th & 111th Streets)

Imagining red checkerboard tables and old-world charm will help you visualize eating at V&T Italian restaurant. They have been serving pizza and classic Italian dishes for over 75 years. Founded in 1945 by brothers Vincent and Tony Curcurato who learned the art of thin-crust pizza making in an East Harlem Italian bakery. A perfect spot for enjoying a slice of their signature pizza or a hearty Italian meal. The menu features a wide variety of toppings for their thin-crust pies, as well as classic pasta dishes, salads, and appetizers. V&T has also gained fame as a filming location for the popular TV series “Law & Order: SVU.” The restaurant’s storefront and interior have been featured in several episodes, adding to its reputation as a quintessential New York City eatery.

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