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5 Best Italian

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Babbo
Mario Batali didn’t just introduce us to beef cheeks, he reinvented the Italian restaurant in New York. The new Batali outlet, Del Posto, might be better, but I guarantee it won’t be as much fun.

Esca
It’s the most pleasant and sedate of the great Bastianich restaurants, and David Pasternack’s seafood innovations—crudi, branzino encased in salt—win him a place in the pantheon.

L’Iimpero
Alto is impressive in its high-minded way, but Scott Conant’s (pictured) flagship establishment is the more Italian of his two outposts. A taste of the braised goat is all the proof you need.

’Cesca
Sure, the food can be overwhelming—hulking lamb shanks, pillow-size gnocchi with braised-veal-breast ragù—but with Italian food, that’s the whole point.

Lupa
At dinner, it’s a madhouse. At lunchtime, on an unhurried weekday, with a steaming bowl of trippa alla romana before you, it’s the perfect Italian neighborhood joint.


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