With all the restaurant choices in all the varying neighborhoods of New York City a restaurant has to be pretty special for you to keep coming back. There’s always that new place you can try, or that new chef everyone is talking about, or that amazing cocktail that’s only available at that one place in Nolita, or Brooklyn, or what have you. The likelihood of going back to one place in any consistent way is actually quite difficult for most New Yorkers. So when you find that place that you love, that feels like everything you want in a restaurant or bar, you cherish it. And that place for me and some select friends is Emporio.
Located deep in the heart of Soho it’s a rustic Italian restaurant with no pretensions and amazing food. It’s always busy but never overcrowded and the staff is friendly and accommodating to everyone who comes in. The menu, focused on pizza and pasta, has enough variety to please many palettes without being overwhelming and each dish is perfectly balanced in flavor. Having tried both the pizza and pasta there I can say that it is always a difficult decision as to which one I should order, but either way, I am never disappointed. The pastas are homemade and better than anything you could make yourself at home and the pizzas are true Italian style with thin crust and simple flavorful ingredients.
And while I love their food, I kinda love their bar even more (surprise!). They have a lavender and tequila cocktail that takes me to my happy place. You know that place where the cocktail is so good you feel like you’re on vacation in the south of France and as long someone keeps giving you more of what’s in that glass, the real world doesn’t actually exist and everything and everyone you’ve ever loved and everything you’ve ever wanted could potentially walk through the door at that very minute.
Yeah, that kinda of happy place. Pure cocktail bliss. I have no idea what’s in it beyond tequila and lavender bitters but it’s refreshing and yet still strong, sweet but still bitter…seriously, one of the best cocktails in the city – and you know I’m trying them all.
It was also at Emporio that Erik and I discovered the wine La Caudrina Moscato d’Asti, a moscato from Italy that is the perfect finish to any meal. It’s not too expensive by the bottle and it’s a really solid dessert wine. For those who know me, I am kind of obsessed with all things muscat and moscato. I take it very seriously, so trust me on this one and if you happen to go to Emporio order the bottle (they don’t sell it by the glass), get one of their many lovely desserts and thank me later.
All in all, if you’re looking for a restaurant and bar where real New Yorkers go to relax and indulge in good food and drink, Emporio is a great choice, and my first choice on a Friday after a long week of work.
231 Mott Street (between Prince and Spring)
Closest Subway: N, R Prince Street or 6 at Spring Street