Given that Nolita is north of Little Italy, it’s no surprise that the neighborhood is home to Italian eateries, including Lombardi’s, which claims to be the country’s first pizzeria. But as well as pies, pasta, and pancetta, there’s plenty more to indulge in here.
This 48-seat restaurant has been dishing up Phuket-style Thai dishes since May 2022. If you’re visiting with friends, you might want to order one of every small plate; these include fried pork belly with a fish-sauce glaze, tempura scallops, and steamed broccolini with homemade XO sauce. Noodle aficionados will be spoiled for choice, with options such as vermicelli with coconut crab curry and thin rice noodles with sliced Wagyu beef in broth. Be sure to start your meal with shrimp crackers and to finish it with the coconut tart.
Just a block away from Wan Wan, this Japanese restaurant launched around the same time. The sushi and sashimi have earned raves; complementing them are cooked dishes such as karaage—Japanese-style fried chicken—and skewers of grilled Wagyu, shrimp, vegetables, and chicken meatballs. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Saito’s toro tartare, topped with caviar and served in a mochi rice biscuit, is its sake menu.
This Michelin-starred restaurant is best known for its seven-course tasting menus, one of which is vegan. The omnivore menu might include Pekin duck with foie gras or scallop with trout roe, avocado, and hijiki, while walnut tart and carrots with za’atar, husk cherries, and amaranth are among the ever-changing dishes of the vegan version. The à la carte options also cater to both vegans and carnivores, with mains such as prized Ōra King salmon served with smoked salmon roe and caraflex cabbage with wheatberries and sourdough consommé.
Another Michelin star holder, Estela is as inviting as a small-town Tuscan trattoria and is best enjoyed with a group, so that you can sample as many dishes as possible. Beef tartare with elderberries and sunchoke, oysters with finger lime and sea grapes, a salad of endive, walnuts, anchovies, and wine-soaked ubriaco rosso cheese, fried black rice with squid: How could you choose just one or two?
For old-school Italian-American cuisine, Rubirosa is the restaurant to beat. Thin-crust pizzas are available with a wide array of toppings—the Honey Pie, made with mozzarella, fontina, soppressata, and spiced honey is the perfect combination of time-honored and on-trend. The pasta is handmade, and dishes such as cacio e pepe, spaghetti and meatballs, and ravioli are available as individual servings or family style. Italian wedding soup, mini fried rice balls, and baked clams complement any and all of the above.