Esca
Esca

Esca

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://esca-nyc.com/
  • Phone: 2125647272
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm, Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:30pm, Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, Italian
  • Executive Chef: David Pasternack
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 9th Avenue
  • Public Transit: Subway to 42nd Street - Times Square
  • Parking: No
A word from Esca
Esca is a Southern Italian Seafood Restaurant created by Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich & David Pasternack. Esca showcases the style & sensibility of Italian coastal cooking. Dave went to Italy & saw firsthand what they were talking about. After years of cooking French food, Dave had finally found the food he had always wanted to cook. The best fish available, prepared in a simple & delicious way. In Italy that means the local catch, but in New York that means the best fish of the Pacific, Mediterranean & our own backyard.

At Esca you can eat the most sought after Pacific Ocean delicacies along side Fluke that Dave caught on his day off. The menu changes daily & is driven by the fish markets of the world & the farms of Dave’s friends. Esca is the place where you can have stunning raw fish, an incredible bowl of pasta & then a Mediterranean Branzino cooked in sea salt. Esca is the best of Italian coastal cooking with access to the world’s greatest fish.
Continued
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Esca reviews from OpenTable diners
275 reviews since May 5, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.1
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelModerate
75% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (141)special occasion (120)notable wine list (79)neighborhood gem (77)romantic (72)great for outdoor dining (47)great for lunch (40)hot spot (29)good for groups (15)late-night find (14)vibrant bar scene (8)great for brunch (7)kid-friendly (3)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Decline in food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Have eaten here many times over the past years. Slight decline in food. Here several nights ago. Created our own table tasting menu. Over all, very bland.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Small portions and high prices
    DecodinerVIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    To spend $200 on dinner including a decent half bottle of wine and to walk out hungry is a shame. The brown Zeyno for $36 was a small piece and came on the plate with absolutely nothing else. All sides were a la carte. So while the food was good, it was not ample. The service was very professional but the noise level was high and the ambience nothing special. So I rate this restaurant as a poor value and will not return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    Pleasant setting with average food and service. Actively quite disappointing given the stellar reviews. Had the tasting menu- not bad but not a single memorable dish
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Go-To for Seafood
    TableTalkVIP
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    Esca consistently delivers fresh product, often locally sourced, always beautifully prepared. Staff is knowledgeable; ambiance has a finesse and nice energy. Can entertain a single client or host a small business dinner with great results. Good wine list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nevercooks1VIP
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    What an unfortunate experience for a restaurant that has been around for a long time. While the food continues to shine. The service is SUB PAR!!!! Chris the managed did buy us your 54 bottle of wine however I would have instead preferred to have had someone pour it thru out my meal rather than having to ask EVERY time. My water glass remained empty for over 10 minutes till I flagged a bus boy. It didn't get better even when I made Chris aware of my issues (and there were MANY). For the final kiss of death our tea came with no tiny desserts. "Oh yeah" said our waiter "I wonder why" ? It's important that restaurants like this understand what Danny Meyer always stressed. SERVICE above all else separates a good restaurant from a great one.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing!!!
    mrcct
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Between the great service and fantastic food I don't know when I will be back, as I live in CT, but I will be back as frequently as I can. I took my wife here for dinner and thought it would be just that, a "nice dinner", but it was so much more, I'd actually call it an experience. The servers were not only friendly, but so helpful, especially when it came to explaining some of the dishes and explaining their experience with some of the dishes we ordered. The food was unbelievably perfect...my wife who had never eaten an oyster or Crudo tasting, was now a believer. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone seeking a place to relax and experience the freshest seafood & homemade pasta in a completely new way. We will most definitely be back
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Chip
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    One of the finest dining experiences I have ever enjoyed
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic
    Rana
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    One of the absolute best restaurants we have ever experienced. We had the dinner sampler and it was superb.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic food, ruined by music
    crudoloverVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    The food at this restaurant is superb, but the classic rock blasting from the speakers really ruined an otherwise been a romantic and relaxing meal. We asked the server to have it changed, and indeed they did, but the new choice was only slightly less offensive than the classic rock. I've never been to such a fine restaurant where the music had such an adverse impact on my evening. It's really a shame, because the meal was otherwise excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Never Again
    HoneyBee
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Very disappointed. Got the restaurant off a top 10 Italian Restaraunt list. Not even close to Italian Cuisine. The worst tasing marinara sauce. I sent the bland fish dinner back. My husbands fish was bland too! The best part was the olives and chick peas on brochette ( which was complimentary while waiting). The Scottish Salmon appetizer was good but very $$$$. I have had better. The Restaurant had good service and adressed my fish concern right away. Not impressed with the food at all!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • BunnyCVIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    This is my favorites nyc restaurant. The branzino is incomparable! Exceptional. Perfect for pre-theater!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Didn't live up to reputation
    Celia
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Much of the meal was very good but there were some problems which I didn't expect given Esca's reputation and the $100 price tag per person. The presentation of most dishes was just: slap it on the plate. I went to two other restaurants for my great food weekend in the city and at both the presentation was beautiful" and less expensive. For the whole fish in salt I would have like to have them disassemble it at the table. When I was presented with the fish it was a lonely strip of fish on a huge plate but quite delicious. The crudo could have been more beautifully presented as well. The pasta dishes and appetizers were very good except for the calamari which was soggy and chewy. I liked our server but long waits between courses.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent food, steep prices.
    Dtraveler
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Delicious lunch but the service was slightly off this time. Perhaps itwas because of a very prominent military guest inthe dining room.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • regularVIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    had an excellent pre theater dinner. Nice menu choices.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our second time at the restaurant
    StellaVIP
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    This was our second time eating there and it was excellent. Try the branzino!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Esca
    tarheel12
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    I had a great time at Esca, the food was excellent that if your a seafood lover like me . I would recommend this place for a romantic evening. I
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My time at Esca
    out2dine
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    well, unless you say that you have theater tickets you will not get your food anytime soon. their portions were small and all i could taste was salt. and their menu descriptions were all wrong as well as the waiters description. overall it was not worth going their for their prices.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding fish, good people
    Rogerbf
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We were celebrating, early, my wife and my 19th anniversary, and her birthday. We caught up with old friends we had not seen in years. We had the sea bass encrusted in sea salt. It was sublime. If you like fish, this is the place for you. We had 2 different bottles of wine. Both were outstanding. I gave 4 star service because the "sommelier" (second to help us, not the first), disagreed that our wine she brought was corked. We refused the bottle and requested the same bottle, but a different one. It became absolutely obvious we were correct when presented with the second bottle, because it had a beautiful bouquet and fruit forward. Everyone else was so kind and gracious. Our waiter was second to none; he knew his stuff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food was okay
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Expected more from a Batali restaurant. No wow factor.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Attitude
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Fod was excellent but there is a bad attitude that nothing can be changed. I asked for two slices of tomato for my Portugese sardines and was refused by the waiter. Called the manager over who checked with the chef again and they sent out an heirloom tomato platter for $12.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • restaurant week trial let down
    rosenyny
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Have been wanting to try Esca for quite some time based on previous reviews, finally tried it for restaurant week. Both my lunch companion and I were very disappointed with our meals. The seafood soup was so salty it was a challenge to taste any of the seafood in it. The tomato base was also way overdone, really detracted from enjoying any seafood flavors. We both ordered the whole fish which consisted of two small bluefish dipped in batter. The batter coating was bland as was the fish and it was a fair amount of work to debone the fish and not much flesh to eat as the fish were quite small. The rosemary caper butter was the best thing on the plate. Only one dessert, an upside down peach cake. It was good not great. Will not return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Italian Seafood!!!!!!
    FoodieSteve
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    While the whole menu is great, the Italian Crudo's are my favorites. Also, the Itailian Sea Bass (Branzino) was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Needs alternative to fish
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Menu needs more variety. Delicious food but not for non fish diners
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • not what it was
    foodloverVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We have been going to Esca for years but began to notice it slipping a year ago. I don't think we will go back. They have sacrificed quality for fast food cooking. They now serve lovely fresh fish encased and fried in some awful tastless flour breading. Yuk. The fish is ruined. The bread is still wonderful but there seems to be very little attention to detail.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding taste
    Lovegoodfood
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Since I have been to this resturant , I can't stop talking about it . It was fabulous in taste and presentation and service was consistently good. I want to go again and again. The resturant was better than the date I brought to the resturant. My advice bring your best date, whether it be family or coworker or special friend. Enjoy!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italy by the Sea
    Oldtowne1
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    Recommended by our daughter, a Manhattanite for several years, Esca turned out to be a gem at which to celebrate our 46th!! Attentive service, a great fish selection, varieties galore with the best Italian menu we've seen since Venice and Bologna !! Portions were terrific--we enjoyed 4 courses and left feeling satisfied but not over indulged. Will return again and bring our children and friends !!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overpriced & High Expectations
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Expecting a great meal at this B&B eatery...we were disappointed with the preparation of the various fish dishes - bland and overcooked. So many better places in the city for half the price. We'll never go back again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lousy food
    Seashell
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Food very salty!! My husband took two bites of fish dish refused to eat it. Martinis 18 dollars each. Soooo not worth it. Manager came over and asked what was wrong. My husband told him, he could have cared less. Sent us over stale biscottis I took a bite of one. What a joke. I feed better food to my dog!!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ok, nothing more
    Manhattanboomer
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    My expectations had been high, but the experience was hit and miss. We were seated next to a work area for the staff, not ideal. When we came in, the Rolling Stones were playing a bit loudly on the sound system. Kind of odd for a fine restaurant. They did lower the sound when we asked a couple of times. Food: great tuna crudo and a wonderful first course of roasted corn and chanterelle mushrooms. But our main course of mahi mahi tasted somewhat fishy ie not super fresh. Nice panna cotta and sorbet. They brought us a plate of cookies but the cookies were stale. Our server was very good and really nice. The piped in music causes diners to speak more loudly, creating a really high noise level. So ... Some good some bad, I was expecting more.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The food was good but the meal was disappointing. The Restaurant Week menu posted online stated the wine tastings cost $11, but the restaurant menu said $14. Also, the website showed Whole Black Bass, but the menu listed Whole Mackeral instead. When I requested the whole mackeral be filleted for me, the waiter checked with the kitchen and was told they could not filet it because the mackeral has little bones which made it difficult to filet. Did they think the diner can do a better job than the kitchen? I was also disappointed with the crudo, was just three small pieces of one type of raw fish, not "a selection from today's raw seafood", which I thought meant assorted types of fish. Otherwise, the waiter was wonderful.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing: not what it was
    benjaminVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Esca used to be one of my favorite go-to restaurants for seafood and fish in particular. Not anymore. It's true we went during Restaurant Week, but this should be an opportunity for restaurants to showcase their best. We sampled an array of dishes and most were disappointing. The crudi, which used to be superb, we're not properly prepared (differing thicknesses, un seasoned--just not impressive), one of the fish dishes was very greasy and the past versed on boring. Not bad but far from great.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Insulting Restaurant Wk experience
    Javi
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Previous lunch experience was amazing - still daydream of crab meat sea urchin pasta & pan fried skate I had. Lazy waiter did not warn us that 2 entrees had switched the fish being used until we had already decided on what we wanted to eat.Food was bland, at best. Boring grilled squid & scraps of halibut belly to start with. Grilled shark was dry and bland, served with a mushy red onion green bean side that had a canned consistency. Seafood pasta had NO flavor. Chef Mario would be ashamed of this representation.Initial server switched to Cory without informing us - just left. Cory was very nice & attentive, even though we were not originally his table. Dessert was a small broken cookie, with a mellon ball size scoop of blueberry sorbet.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Restaurant week disappointment
    Schrewberts
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Everything was loaded with salt...even the bread and salad. Did not have items as advertise...the substitute Boston mackerel served was dry and tasteless. The pasta dish served had hardly any seafood as was explained to us by the waiter. The only desset served was OK. A total embarrassing disappointment.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • menu
    mangiamo
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Very good overall, but a bit disappointed in the RestaurantWeek menu. Perhaps just not to our taste this time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, underwhelming service
    viaggiatrice
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    Esca came highly recommended but our first visit may be our last. Food is GREAT: fresh, vibrant flavors (I actually live in Italy so I know something about good, seasonal food), wine list very well curated but service was frankly disappointing. VERY slow to start: 20 minutes to get a glass of water and we needed to ask for bread. There are a bunch of service people running around but no coordination and frankly, for a restaurant with this much attention to food quality, the service really irked. For these prices, you can find better (estatorio milos for example).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • notable tasting menu
    dne99
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Great way to appreciate the offerings of ESCA. The Spanish mackerel "crudo" was like butter. The burrata exquisite. And, totally awed by garlic when the squid ink pasta dish arrived. The managers checked with us several times regarding our satisfaction. Not surprising, the wine pairings were mostly whites. As red lovers, a bottle might have been a better idea. Ask for bread to soak up every drop of the excellent sauces.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Late But Lovely
    KristiK28
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Although our table waited an extended amount of time for our entrées to be brought out, the delicious food was worth the wait.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • excellent food, slow service
    manhattanVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    The food is very good. Lunch is a great time to go because the room is full of natural light. The service was excruciatingly slow. Thank goodness for the excellent whole wheat focaccia.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing
    SuttonareaeaterVIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    We have eaten at Esca several times and always been very happy, but Friday nite nothing was as good as usual. Most notable were over salted entrees and over cooked pasta! Even the salads lacked star quality. Unfortunately, we will think twice before returning.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • For fruit of the seas
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Interesting dining spot midtown west, located in the theater district. Well prepared seafood with an Italian flair. The Tuna was delicious and very well prepared. The service staff was well above average. If you are looking for usual Italian this is not the place. Fish in one form or another should be the goal..
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet