Italian is one of the most loved cuisines among people. Whether it’s pizza, pasta or a hearty plate of steak, Italians did good to the world with their food. But, finding an authentic Italian restaurant in New York can be a hassle.
New York is a city that is brimming with delicious food and some of the most amazing restaurants. It’s the perfect place to fulfill your craving for specific cuisines from around the world. But, when such cravings develop, it’s only an authentic place that can truly satisfy it.
Most restaurants with the word authentic are never truly authentic. In some way or the other, they twist the taste to fit American paletes which is not a sin from a business point of view but keeps people away from the true Italian taste. So, if you really wish to taste Italian food, you might have to dig a little deeper. And fortunately, you are at the right place.
If you’re ready, I have a few points that can help you spot an authentic Italian restaurant in New York.
Identifying an Authentic Italian Restaurant
To put it in the most honest way, ‘true Italian’ is a privilege that can only be experienced when you are in Italy. The atmosphere of the country combined with the delicious food is what comprises a true Italian experience.
However, when you are in a different corner of the world, you may not be able to get the ambience of the country but you can still have an experience that is closer to the ‘true’ Italian by choosing a restaurant that lives up to their claim of being authentic Italian.
So, next time you are craving Italian food in New York, make sure that you are spending your hard earned dollars on a restaurant that’s authentic. This way you will be paying for what you asked for- Italian cuisines and not Americanised versions of pizza, pasta or a risotto.
All you need to do is keep a few things in mind and observe closely.
Read the Menu
The first point had to be the most obvious one. Reading the menu of a restaurant gives away more than you think and may even help you identify their authenticity without much effort. Today, most restaurants have a well-established website that also displays their menu in detail. Take your time to go through it.
Generally, if a restaurant claims to be authentic Italian, you can see that in their menu. Such eating joints serve Italian cuisines only. You may even find dishes with names that you may have never heard before. But, if you see that their menu is all over the place and includes cuisines other than Italian, the restaurant is not really authentic Italian.
The menu also allows you to explore the prices and ingredients. So, you can go in prepared and not feel bad for paying for the food.
Observe The Choice of Pasta
Do you know what’s good about Italian food? The variety and the emphasis on fresh ingredients. This aspect extends to their choice of pasta too.
Most Americans are familiar with only two types of pasta- spaghetti and macaroni. But when you are talking about Italian food, there are about 350 different types. And yes, they use each one of them wherever they find it suitable.
Italians treat pasta as a form of art. They pair each of the different types of pasta with specific sauces and preparation methods. For instance, spaghetti goes with carbonara and thick textured pasta goes with a bolognese sauce.
So, if you are dining in an authentic Italian restaurant, you will notice the variety of pasta in their different dishes. But, if you notice that they use the same pasta for their different dishes, it’s a sign that you may not be sitting in an authentic restaurant.
Talk to The Chef
This point is not meant to discredit the experience and qualification of any chef. It’s only meant as a way to understand the way the food served to you is cooked. If you politely ask a chef about the preparation, they will let you in on some of the steps.
Most authentic Italian restaurants stick to the original recipes to keep the taste. If you have any slightest idea of the way Italian food is prepared, you’ll be able to tell the difference.
In addition to this, the enthusiasm of the chef towards Italian food also says a lot about the food you’re eating or will be eating. Also, most chefs like to experiment with recipes and add their personality into the food while keeping the essence of Italy.
It is only by interacting with the chef that you’ll be able to determine if the food was worth your time and money.
Seasonal Changes in the Menu
Americans are accustomed to artificial flavors in their food. They don’t mind having a burger that’s made of a frozen patty or store-bought bread. But, it’s not the same with Italian food.
Italians are known for their preference for fresh ingredients. Fresh herbs and handmade breads and pasta are a common part of their cuisine. More specifically, Italian experience is about seasonal dining. If the restaurant takes into account the seasonal produce and includes it into their menu, you can be sure that it’s authentic.
In fact, you may even notice that some items on the menu are permanent while others may only be available during a specific season. The most reputable of Italian restaurants in New York will prefer using fresh and local produce instead of importing ingredients from around the world.
And honestly, you can also taste the way fresh produce enhances the flavors of the food.
They Love Cheese in a Balanced Way
Do you love margherita pizza? I bet you do. But when we talk about the Italian Margherita, it’s not what you might be imagining. The pizza dough is not drowning in cheese. In fact, most of the Italian food that Americans picture with a huge amount of cheese is not how Italians have it.
Excess cheese is an American practice. Italians love cheese and make their own varieties too but it’s generally not in the way that you think.
An Italian Margherita pizza will generally have thin slices of cheese on top along with some tomatoes and basil. The true Italian taste lies in the balance and freshness of things. You can definitely customize your order but if you are in an Italian restaurant, you will have a cheesy experience but in a more subtle way.
The Ambience is Warm and Welcoming
When we talk about the Italian experience, we are not just talking about the food. It is without a doubt the biggest aspect of authentic Italian, but it’s also not the sole determinant of the same.
When you walk into an Italian restaurant, you should feel a warm and welcoming ambience. Italians are known for giving a refined experience while making you comfortable. Everything in the restaurant, from the lighting and linens to the bar and service must make the customer feel at ease and completely relaxed.
Your server should be highly attentive to your needs and do everything they can to make your meal a completely satisfying experience.
Word of Mouth Can Help
The last yet most important point is the word of mouth. You can know more about a restaurant from the experience of others. With the help of Yelp and Google, you can go through the experiences of other customers. It can give you an insight into whether or not the restaurant is authentic. If it is as true to the roots as they claim, the same reviews can also help you decide your order.
Nowadays, you can also experience a restaurant through their social media. Most restaurants have a well established social media profile which can take you into their entire atmosphere, from menu and secret items to occasions and stories.
Crispin’s Italian Restaurant in New York
Well, if you need a place to begin with, try Crispin’s restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. It has a specially curated menu of Italian cuisines that will take your palette on a holiday with the rich flavors and fresh ingredients.
The food is perfectly paired with wine gathered from different corners of Italy. You can ask your server to pair the best wine with your order. In addition to the palatable food and drinks, the ambiance is enhanced with beautiful outdoor dining area, occasional music performances and beautiful lighting.
If you are more into having the Italian experience at your home, Crispins’s also offers home deliveries. Place your order online and enjoy a hot Italian meal at the comfort and safety of your home.
Now that you know how to effectively satisfy your craving for Italian food, go ahead and start your search. Just make sure to wear your mask when heading out for the true Italian experience.