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Home > Restaurants > Nica Trattoria

Nica Trattoria

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

354 E. 84th St., New York, NY 10028 40.775968 -73.951392
nr. First Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-472-5040 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Price Range: $$$

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  • Reader Rating:

    9 out of 10

      |  

    7 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by Patrick Siggins

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Hours

Daily, 6pm-10:30pm

Nearby Subway Stops

4, 5, 6 at 86th St.

Prices

$18-$38

Payment Methods

Cash Only

Special Features

  • Outdoor Dining

Alcohol

  • Beer and Wine Only

Reservations

Recommended

Profile

This classic Sicilian spot has a fanatical devotion to fresh ingredients and a rare familial warmth—they encourage diners to take their time to eat and relax. The miniscule room is tastefully appointed with starched tablecloths, a vase bursting with fresh flowers, and walls of mirrors and polished wood. But the key is the exuberant host, Giuseppe Nicolosi. Between hugs at the door, he swings from table to table rhapsodizing in baritone about the lightness of his gnocchi — “You’ll need a seatbelt to stay in your chair!” — and rattling off daily specials. Starters are uneven: Grilled polenta is tender, and improved with earthy porcini mushrooms, but baby clams in white wine and tomato sauce underwhelm. For mains, the gnocchi are, as Nicolosi insists, light as a cloud, but they’re also swimming in butter. Plenty of pastas are available, but regulars stick with the rich meat dishes, and for good reason. The rack of lamb is perfectly grilled to order, and braised lamb, served on the shank bone, arrives still steaming and fork-tender from the oven. Served in its own juices, its impromptu sauce is further enriched with a thick ragú of carrots, onions, and herbs.

By the Bottle

The wine list is affordable—most bottles are under $50. The restaurant also serves wine by the glass.

Recommended Dishes

Cosciotto d’agneau, $32.75; polenta con porcini, $14.75; gnocchi, $20-$22

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