Haute Dining: Italian Hotspots to Check Out in NoLita

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One would assume that Little Italy would be the place to go for Italian food in Manhattan, but it’s the micro-neighborhood to its North that has Italian lovers buzzing. Longstanding red sauce restaurants are losing favor to NoLita’s new rustic Italian eateries, serving everything from heroes to headcheese in casual cool surroundings.

Osteria Morini: Chef Michael White finally brought his perfect pastas downtown with his first stab at casual dining. From the hand-painted olive oil jugs to the wooden rafters imported from an Italian farmhouse, no detail is overlooked and the Emiligia-Romagna cuisine is as authentic as the décor. (In photo above: Gramigna Macaroni, Pork Sausage, Tomato, Black Pepper)

Rubirosa: After gracing Staten Island with their world class pies, Guiseppe Pappalardo teamed up with his son, A.J., to introduce Manhattan to their game-changing Vodka pizza.  While the pizza is exceptionally thin and crispy, you can rely on the laundry list of familiar Italian classics (mozzarella sticks, manicotti and baked clams) to fill you up. (In photo above: Classic with Meatballs on left; Vodka Pizza on right)

Torrisi Italian Specialties: They first gained acclaim for their primo Italian deli sandwiches, particularly the fresh roasted turkey with house-made mozzarella. Then Mario Carbone and Rich opened for dinner, offering one of the best prix-fixe menus in town. Whether it’s ricotta gnudi, polla ala diavolo or sweetbread milanese, whatever ends up on the $50, four-course menu is always prepared just like Nonna used to make. (In photo above:  Chicken Parm Hero)

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