New York

The BlackBook Top Five

70 Grand St.
New York, NY 11211
718.388.5100
auroraristorante.com



Cuisine: Italian
Scene: Romantic/Date Spot
Price: $$


The sweetest Italian with perfect homemade pasta and a really nice garden. Rustic farmhouse vibe enhanced by exposed brick. The place to take your new vegetarian boyfriend and tell him all about the difference between maltagliati and tagliatelle. Lovers of rich, smelly animal innards dig on buon giorno duck liver parfait. Pappardelle with wild boar ragu for less hardcore carnivores.
152 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
212.265.9700
baramericain.com



Cuisine: American
Scene: Bustling/Boisterous
Price: $$$


Whether Bobby Flay is a total grilling genius or just kind of annoying, no disputing the performance here. From the blood orange cocktails, to the spice-rubbed steak, to the David Rockwell design, to the eye-popping prices, it's all there. Big-night-out kinda place. Cross-country road trip picks up regional cuisines, emphasis on the South and the Gulf. Too skinny? Brunch on the Kentucky Hot Brown: french toast piled high with turkey and bacon, topped with gravy for days.
268 Sixth Ave.
New York, NY 10014
212.982.3300
Website: N/A



Cuisine: Italian
Scene: Locals
Price: $$


The cheaper man's Da Silvano, all casual glam. Wide sidewalk patio key to the Pitti party. Think vino, sunglasses, and upturned collars. Fresh Tuscan food with chalkboard of nightly specials scrawled in the mother tongue. Big pasta selection keeps prices under control, but remember your cash as they don't take cards. Celeb spillover from the mothership virtually assured.
411 11th St.
New York, NY 11215
718.768.4698
bartoto.com



Cuisine: Italian
Scene: Romantic/Date Spot
Price: $$


Laidback enoteca off the beaten path. Pressed tin and smudgy glass amid otherwise clean, modern environs. Casually attractive couples take advantage of simple Italian at bargain prices. Later is better if you're not into ankle biters. Brilliant reverse happy hour (11pm—2am daily) keepin' you sassy when it counts. Pizzas, panini, and the beloved Toto burger, all under $14. Classy, sexy date spot doesn't mock your tax bracket.
41 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10010
212.545.8555
Website: N/A



Cuisine: Italian
Scene: Bustling/Boisterous
Price: $$$


Four Seasons-style power luncher for the downtownish exec. Neo-classical Italian from now-departed Boulud protégé throws everything on the starched linen table, from tripe and miscellaneous lamb parts to chicken cacciatore and grandma's ravioli recipe. Big, buzzy room with tall windows on ground floor of black office cube that sticks out among polished white manses of lower Madison. Duck meatballs. Everybody's talking about them. For serious.

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