There’s no shortage of Italian food in New York City: In some neighborhoods, there’s a pizza place on every corner.
So how do separate the excellent from the merely passable?
We asked the restaurant experts at The Infatuation for a list of New York City’s very best Italian spots.
Try one for your next client dinner or date night. And don’t forget your after-dinner mints.
Babbo is run by Mario Batali of 'Iron Chef America' fame. He's written nine cookbooks and owns 20 other restaurants, but this one is widely considered to be the best of the best.
The menu is staggering; it includes multiple tasting menus and more than 50 a la carte options, but the best way to go is the pasta tasting, according to The Infatuation's Andrew Steinthal.
Batali's pastas are the David to his Michelangelo.
Carbone pays homage to the classic Italian-American restaurants found in New York during the mid-20th century. It strives to provide an elegant, comfortable, and unpretentious atmosphere.
Favourite dishes include seafood salad, chicken scarpariello and veal parmesan.
L'Artusi is one of several beloved Italian spots from Epicurean Management (the team also runs dell'anima and Anfora).
The menu is loud and proud -- heavy on garlic, olives, chiles, and fat, according to The Infatuation.
And they're known for their lengthy wine list (and cellar) and exceptional cheese menu.
A husband-and-wife duo run this gem in Park Slope. Guests dine on northern Italian cuisine at communal tables, most of which are reserved for walk-ins.
The Infatuation's Andrew Steinthal calls it a low-key spot that doesn't abuse the credit card.
The guys at The Infatuation say Marea's pasta is the best in New York City. That's quite the statement for a town with this much Italian heritage.
They're also known for their seafood. To get the best of both worlds, the tasting menu is always a good (if pricey) bet.
This popular Italian spot recently had a changing of the guard and lost its longtime head chef, Steven Starr, according to The Infatuation's Chris Stang.
But for the most part, the place hasn't changed a bit. Some classics include the short rib sandwich and the grilled octopus with chickpeas.
Don't forget to check out their bakery, cheese shop, or gelato counter while you're there.
If you don't mind sitting next to 'one Olsen twin and a bunch of old guys that wear stonewashed jeans and suede driving shoes,' as The Infatuation describes the crowd here, Maialino is a great spot for some fine Italian dining.
If you can't get a dinner reservation then try popping in for brunch -- the roast pork and fried egg sandwich comes highly recommended.
'Locanda Verde' means 'green inn' in Italian. The word 'locanda' is used for favourite local spots to grab a bite and a drink with friends, and perfectly describes this bustling corner restaurant in Tribeca.
According to The Infatuation, it's also a good place for celebrity sightings.
Try the blue crab, piled high with jalapeño and tomato, or the lamb meatball sliders with caprino and cucumber. And definitely consider stopping in for brunch.
Perla is one of the highest-ranked Italian restaurants on The Infatuation's list. The menu has some fun specialties, like chicken liver, quail and the octopus appetizer, but their pastas are fresh and delicious and more than a safe bet.
And if you don't feel like a wine pairing, take a peek at their offbeat cocktail list.
One of the top Italian spots in Brooklyn, this Cobble Hill restaurant has an organic- and locally themed dinner menu that changes seasonally.
They also offer a lasagna pan drop-off service. Choose between classic meatless, kale pesto and ricotta, goat cheese and mushroom, or roast pork lasagna. How cool is that?
Da Umberta serves a mix of classic and contemporary Tuscan food. The vibe is old-school Italian, but with a cosmopolitan twist. And, as The Infatuation puts it, they rely more on quality ingredients than 'lots of crushed red pepper and 'gravy.''
Rubirosa is a family-run pizzeria. The thin crust recipe is a 54-year-old family secret, but Rubirosa's menu has expanded to include a variety of pastas, meats, and an impressive drinks list.
You know you want to try their vodka sauce pizza -- it's the most popular item on the menu. This place is perfect for a big group dinner, but be sure to call ahead of time.
Before it became Frankies Spuntino restaurant, 457 Court Street in Carroll Gardens was an Italian social club. Two chefs named Frank decided to fix it up into the popular cozy joint that it is today.
If you're in Brooklyn and in the mood for a 'spuntino' -- an informal meal or a snack -- then make your way to Frankies. But be prepared for a wait.
Frank Prisinzano, who opened Frank back in 1998, is a leader in the East Village food movement, according to The Infatuation's Andrew Steinthal.
It's a beloved spot to East Village diners of all walks of life. In the summertime, the outdoor patio is bustling.
Try it out -- the food is great, and so is the famous wine cellar.
It's nice to have a restaurant outside of Manhattan and Brooklyn on this list (though there now is a Manhattan location on W. 21st St. for those who hate to travel). One of the best parts of visiting this spot, as The Infatuation's Jackie Bryant points out, is getting to see Arthur Avenue in Belmont, the Little Italy of the Bronx.
The cuisine is southern Italian, and chef Roberto Paciullo's signature dishes include roast rabbit, broccoli rabe with beans and sausage, and pasta with cartoccio-baked vegetables.
The decor's pretty fun too, and includes an old blue Fiat out front.