You can’t make a reservation at Emilio’s Ballato, but you can just walk in (early) and hope you get a table. There will likely be a wait, especially on weekends, but it’s worth it if you want to eat some excellent red-sauce Italian food in an NYC institution where both Barack Obama and Rihanna also like to hang out. The restaurant is behind a discreet entrance on the South side of Houston, and while the interior might not look that impressive, as soon as you settle in for a meal and start observing the scene around you, you’ll start to feel like you’re in a clubhouse.
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Places to grab a special dinner that’ll help you forget the fact that you wanted to be at Carbone.
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Cafe Altro Paradiso
Located on the west side of Soho, Cafe Altro Paradiso is a pleasant restaurant in which to drink some wine and eat some appetizers.
Ground Support is a coffee shop in Soho that’s good for a casual meetup or some productive laptop time.
Harold’s is a big restaurant at the bottom of a hotel in Soho. The food is solid, but not especially exciting.
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Parkside is a Neapolitan-style pizza spot in Prospect Lefferts Gardens with interesting cocktails and affordable wines.
A simple Italian cafe that works in tons of situations, Epistrophy is one of our Nolita go-tos.
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Estela might not be the cushiest restaurant in NYC, but it’s still an excellent choice for a fun night out or next-level brunch in Nolita.
Peter Luger Steak House
Peter Luger is a New York City steakhouse institution, and eating here is an experience unlike any other in the city.
Dirty French is a Lower East Side French restaurant from the people behind Carbone, and like that place, dinner here is definitely an event.
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