Mon-Fri, 11:30am-11:30pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-11:30pm
F at 57th St.; B, D, E at Seventh Ave.; N, Q, R, W at 57th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
49th St. to 59th St., Madison Ave. to Eighth Ave.
Pazza Notte is one of those open-fronted Midtown hangouts that are easy for New Yorkers to ignore, its sidewalk chalkboard touting two-for-one martinis marking it as a magnet for post-work twentysomethings. But sometimes an after-work watering hole can surprise you with inspired cuisine; Pazza Notte does just that. Sure, the name means "crazy night," a theme that's underscored by its nightclub lighting, deejayed house music, and lipstick-red walls crammed with black-and-white glossies of La Dolce Vita-era stars. The mood is also tailor-made for the restaurant's core clientele: ebullient young office workers digging into half-price (but extra-strength) happy-hour drinks. But here's where Gotham serendipity kicks in. Against the odds, this martini-centric West Fifties boite's food is very good. The mainly Italian menu stresses generously apportioned appetizers, two of which can make a meal. Brick-oven pizzas flaunt crisp yet pliant crusts and ample, savory toppings like prosciutta di parma with buffalo mozzarella. Distinctly spiced, creamily sauced pastas avoid the sameness that afflicts too many Italian kitchens. Pazza Notte is such a crowd-pleaser, nobody's ever heard of it.Drink Up
Happy hour runs from 5 pm to midnight. Two-for-one martinis are made with vodka and French-imported fruit puree: no syrup, no sugar. The appealingly tart raspberry martini is like a boozy smoothie.Recommended Dishes
Spicy tuna tartare, $17; prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella pizza, $20