dining

Buon Appetito: 14 of NYC's Most Romantic Italian Restaurants

by Julie Besonen, 02/06/2013

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  • Batali/Bastianich Restaurants
    Felidia
    , 243 E. 58th St., 212-758-1479, Midtown East, Manhattan; Lupa Osteria Romana, 170 Thompson St., 212-982-5089, Greenwich Village, Manhattan; Otto, 1 Fifth Ave., 212-995-9559, Greenwich Village, Manhattan; Babbo, 110 Waverly Place, 212-777-0303, Greenwich Village, Manhattan; Del Posto, 85 Tenth Ave., 212-497-8090, Chelsea, Manhattan
    Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and his mother, Lidia Bastianich, are the City's Italian royalty when it comes to their illustrious collection of restaurants. Diners have had a long-standing love affair with Felidia, which opened in a beautiful town house in 1981 and currently features such poetic pastas as pear and pecorino ravioli. Lupa, a lively Roman-style trattoria in Greenwich Village, never disappoints, especially when it comes to dreamy bucatini all'Amatriciana. Every region of Italy is represented on the reasonably priced wine list; Lupa also offers a stellar selection of post-meal Italian liqueurs, perfect for stretching out an indelible evening. The best time to go to Otto is late afternoon, when you can dawdle at the bar over a quartino of wine as the waning sun streams through the windows. Split a griddle-cooked pizza with mushrooms and Taleggio and a wonderful salad of escarole and sunchokes and move on before it gets packed and noisy. Babbo is the superstar of the bunch, where Batali's food brandishes full-throttle passion, exemplified by his famous Mint Love Letters filled with spicy lamb sausage. If you're looking for sweeping, serious grandeur, then hasten to Del Posto in westernmost Chelsea. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you might as well go all out and get the spectacular eight-course menu, finishing with the rapturous chocolate tasting.

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