Sun-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight
6 at 77th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
65th St. to 86th St., East End Ave. to Fifth Ave.
If you're averse to dining elbow to elbow with strangers and occasionally shouting across the table to your date, steer clear of this darkly cozy restaurant niched next to a Dunkin' Donuts. If you're game for a little company, however, Zucchero e Pomodori proves a boisterous neighborhood place, with generously portioned, dependable Italian fare. Starters of dense but addictive fried calamari and overbreaded crab cakes are competent, but the menu's real strength is pasta, and plenty of it, like hearty sausage-specked, slightly spicy fusilli norcia; garlicky linguine in a light tomato sauce laced with shrimp, squid, mussels, and clams; thick ribbons of house-made pappardelle in a meaty red sauce; and rich potato gnocchi in marinara. Just be ready to overhear your neighbor's real-estate woes and save the big bucks for a quieter venue, where your own romantic hopes won’t be a subject for mass consumption.