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Where to Eat Italian During New York Fashion Week

Count on these 10 Italian restaurants to be among the hottest spots in the city during New York Fashion Week, which kicks off Thursday.

plate of lasagna

Lasagna at the new Sartiano’s. Photo: Teddy Wolff

New York Fashion Week, which kicks off this Thursday, draws models, designers, reporters, influencers, and, of course, celebrities to Manhattan.

And many come with an appetite. That’s not terribly surprising, after all, traipsing from show to show and later to afterparties can require a good amount of energy. Plus, New York City does boast an impressive culinary scene.

Many runway shows, panel discussions, and other high-wattage events will take place at the iconic Spring Studios, which dedicates its entire space to NYFW during its biannual happening. Upstart designers and more adventurous types will host shows and gatherings in other parts of the city.

Part of the fun amid all these festivities is finding a new, exciting place to eat, or revisiting an old favorite. This year, many of the best options are Italian restaurants, from buzzy newcomers like Sartiano's to classic see-and-be-seen spots like Sant Ambroeus.

If you’re in search of an Italian dining option during NYFW, which officially runs between September 7 through September 13, here are 10 to keep in mind as you look into bookings through New York’s chicest week of the season.

Cafe Altro Paradiso

Cafe Altro Paradiso
Ignacio Mattos' Cafe Altro Paradiso features a lively bar scene and a dining room that caters to the fashion set. Photo: David Sullivan

Located in Hudson Square, Altro Paradiso hits the exactly right ratio of hip and classic. The interior is chic yet understated and the vibes are immaculate. 

With options like spaghetti pomodoro and cacio e pepe and great specials as well, Altro Paradiso is suitable for a casual dinner or an elevated evening. Paired with an excellent wine list, the full bar offers unique and innovative cocktails that riff off of ever-popular options including the “Calabrian Daisy” which gives a spicy marg feeling with an Italian twist. 

Don’t skip dessert, either. 

Caffe Dante and Dante West Village

The bar at the original location of Caffe Dante.

It’s no secret that Caffe Dante and Dante West Village are among the best bars in New York City. 

Both locations are fun, trendy, and very Instagram-friendly. The drink menu is superb with seasonal options, divine martinis made a number of ways, and plenty of variations on classics like the Negroni and the espresso martini. 

Reservations, which open a month in advance, are hot at both locations throughout the year, so try on Resy. If you can’t snag a table but you’re willing to endure a short wait, space often opens up at the bar.

Dante also serves brunch and dinner.  

Ci Siamo

Situated in Manhattan West, Ci Siamo “bridges the traditional with the contemporary” according to its website.

The restaurant from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and Executive Chef Hillary Sterling features live-fire cooking, house-made pastas, and a well-rounded Italian wine list, too.  

Sterling pulls inspiration from her travels in Italy to inform the Ci Siamo menu. 

Nomad Girl 

Nomad Girl exterior
Nomad Girl is a Milan-style all-day cafe and restaurant near Madison Square Park in Manhattan.

Newer to the city, modern and stylishly decorated Nomad Girl opened in July in— of course — the Nomad neighborhood. 

The Milanese all-day restaurant is centrally located and is chic, perfect for a quick bite or to stay for several rounds of drinks and a leisurely meal. The menu spans breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, with attention paid to organic ingredients. 

Situated in a new “piazza” area in Nomad, the restaurant is surrounded by additional trendy bars, making this spot the ideal location to start off a night out after a lineup of runway shows (or otherwise).

King Restaurant

“Relaxed, simple and elegant” King Restaurant is a self-dubbed neighborhood restaurant that doubles as a serious dining destination. 

The trio of women who run King, chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer, and restaurateur Annie Shi, are respected in the fashion world as well as throughout the city—they were among the groups tapped to revive the dining options at Rockefeller Center, opening Jupiter last year. Shadbolt and de Boer, alumni of revered Italian restaurant the River Cafe in London, populate their menus with thoughtfully created Italian and Mediterranean dishes. (Try their spiedini from Jupiter, a recipe they shared with Appetito.)

Baker & Co

Baker & Co is a slice of rustic heaven in the West Village.

The Bleecker Street restaurant, sibling to Aurora in Brooklyn and Emporio, is quiet and utterly charming. It can feel casual enough for a walk-in drink or brunch, or a dinner out with friends or a date night.

The pastas are all delicious, and they offer gluten-free options. The Spritz Cappelletti is phenomenal, too.

Sant Ambroeus 

With multiple locations across the city, Sant Ambroeus is a stylish option with a nearly nine-decade history.

The original location in Milan opened in 1936 and, according to the restaurant’s website, Sant Ambroeus quickly drew a crowd becoming a “meeting place for the local intelligentsia.” And the restaurant became a New York City staple just a few decades later with its first location opening in 1982.

Now, the fashionable and classic spot has Brookfield Place, Madison Avenue, West Village, and Soho locations in New York City, along with a few others in hotels and inside Sotheby's. 

Sartiano’s

interior at Sartiano's
Sartiano's features stylish décor and a menu overseen by acclaimed chef Alfred Portale. Photo: Teddy Wolff

On Prince Street, Sartiano’s is a modish and luxe option that opened in June. 

Headed up by culinary director Alfred Portale and executive chef Chris Lewnes, the restaurant is located at The Mercer and was crafted by lifestyle architect Scott Sartiano. 

This high-end spot includes a dress-code and offers reservations on Resy but only before 6 p.m. and after 10 p.m., otherwise it’s best to reach out via email, according to the restaurant’s website.

Raf’s

A French-Italian bakery that opened earlier this year, Raf’s is open for quick stop-ins and sit-downs for pastries and more and also hosts a dinner service that kicks off at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

The new Elizabeth Street spot comes from the team that is also behind ever-popular and Michelin-starred The Musket Room.

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