Ciao Down: The Haute 5 Italian Restaurants in NYC

New Yorkers are spoiled with an abundance of award-winning Italian restaurants to choose from, but these establishments made our Haute 5.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Greenwich Village restaurant “for adventurous eaters” and James Beard Foundation award recipient is highly deserving of its impressive reputation. The menu incorporates the freshest seasonal produce, Italian cheeses, meat, game, and seafood. The wine list represents one of the most extensive and intelligent collections in the city.

Babbo is located at 110 Waverly Pl., (212) 777-0303.

A Voce
Part of the “luxury food court” located in the Time Warner Center, A Voce boasts a wine list of 3,000+ varietals. Try the Pork belly with pistachios and figs, mezzaluna ravioli, rabbit with sausage, and bomboloni alla Toscana.

A Voce is located at 10 Columbus Cr., Third Fl., (212) 823-2523.

Cipriani (Downtown)
Recently remodeled and serving classic Italian fare, Cipriani is one of New York’s most famous establishments. The downtown location offers outdoor seating, weather permitting. Upstairs at Cipriani, an exclusive members-only private club temporarily closed for renovations is known for its celebrity sightings and Sunday night karaoke parties.

Cipriani Downtown is located at 376 West Broadway, (212) 343-0999.

Piccola Cucina
Chef/Owner Philip Guardione produces “great things from a little kitchen” at this intimate 22-seat restaurant. Seafood is the specialty, and dishes like swordfish carpaccio in citronette dressing and spaghetti with sautéed sea urchin are earning rave reviews.

Piccola Cucina is located at 184 Prince St., (212) 625-3200.

Rao’s is renowned for its hospitality and spectacular Neapolitan cuisine. It’s also notorious for being one of the most difficult restaurants to get a reservation in New York. Year-long waits for one of its ten tables is not uncommon, as an impressive and powerful crowd dines there nightly. In fact, Rao’s is fully booked until 2011.

Rao’s is located at 455 E 114th St., (212) 722-6709.