5 Best Italian

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

5 Best Italian