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
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Esca reviews from OpenTable diners
281 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.1
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelModerate
76% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (159)special occasion (114)notable wine list (87)neighborhood gem (77)romantic (66)great for outdoor dining (48)great for lunch (41)hot spot (28)good for groups (16)late-night find (13)great for brunch (6)vibrant bar scene (6)kid-friendly (5)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Avoid this place!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    a completely disappointing and overpriced experience. The place tries to be a fine dining establishment, but it is not. Its full of empty pretentions. The dishes were overcooked and tasted like the pasta was prepared in advance and then reheated with sauce put on as an after thought. The word mediocre is too generous! The most ridiculous part of the whole dining experience was the numerous wait staff that stood around looking confused and unsure what to do. At one point we had 5 wait staff standing around out table either removing plates we have not used or changing silver ware that did not need to be changed or doing God knows what, which really meant they interrupted our conversation too many times.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Food was exquisite & experience was lovely. Highly recommend Esca, particularly for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still CrazyGood after all the years
    FasitaVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    On a Sunday night the fish at Esca remains impeccable. The crudo tasting still worth lusting after and the contorni and salads much more than an afterthought. Each dish was vibrant and well conceived. The pasta with sea urchin and crab remains for me the best iteration of the now many sea urchin and crab pastas in town. Service is as professional as you'd expect at this price point. The sommelier remains a particularly informative friendly presence never tries to upsell always succeeds in delighting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Flounder perfection!
    tkinmi66
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    My wife and I had the Flounder with figs and pistachios. Best Flounder ever!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Less good than usual
    Rami
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We have dined at Esca several times before and were always impressed from the impeccable preparation of the pasta and the fish. This visit was less than satisfying. Among the four of us, one was quite unhappy with the grilled sardines, which tasted as if they were prepared ahead of time and just warmed up before serving. With sardines that is a death sentence. The spaghetti Neri were as usual excellent, but the chitarra with the sea urchin sauce were overcooked and the sauce was not as good as usual. The Ribolla Gialla was excellent.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not as good as usual
    Louiswilliam
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We have been to esca 3-4 times in the past. This time our server was gruff and hurried. My dinner was a Ciopino that was very fishy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • not. exactly what i ordered
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    I ordered the arctic char and asked the waiter that it be cooked so that it was not slimy in the middle. He said "you want medium then" i said whatever it would be so that it was not slimy in the middlw. If it was more toward well do,e that as fine. Clearly the slimy issue was impprtant to me. When i got my food vuess what? The fish was slimy and not cooked in the middle and i did not enjoy it at all. I did not mention it as i was with a client but was v ery disappointed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding
    foodfaddie
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    The service was beyond spectacular. Every bite was noteworthy.this was a memorable meal. I didn't know pasta could taste that good
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Better Then the First Time
    ReneeVIP
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    It was surprising to see such a busy crowd on a Tuesday night. This was our second visit at Esca and it was wonderful! We splurged on the tasting menu and it was worth the costs!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Noisy-Noisy
    Ovian
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    The place is noisy and they play a horrible Rock music. We could not talk. When we complained with the staff the manager came in our table and said if we go there for lunch he could play another kind of music but for diner just that one every night. Who goes to a Italian Place to eat Italian food and ask for Rock music? Just unpleasant . We could not enjoy the food .People next to us was shouting -trying to talk and we could not talk.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • It was fine
    ZeddyMac
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Perhaps my expectations were just too high. Overall, the experience was 'fine'. The food was 'fine', the wine was 'fine'. Service was only ok - we felt a bit rush. I wanted it to be really good but it was 'fine'.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    It was a great experience to meet with an old friend and catch up on things. Ideal for holding a conversation and enjoying an amazing meal. The food was top notch, and the ambiance beautiful.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overall disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Noisy, average food. Service was ok. Would not recommend or return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • KMeriVIP
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    This place was recommended by a friend who lives in NYC and works in the Times Square area and he was so right. The food was excellent - beautifully prepared fresh fish. I had the mako shark which was the best I've ever eaten, and my husband had a beautiful piece of tuna. Service was efficient, warm and knowledgeable. We were eating pre-theatre, and the restaurant was tuned into this and able to get us in and out quickly without feeling rushed. I would definitely recommend this restaurant. Not cheap but worth the price.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    stua
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    I was really looking forward to Esca as a spurgle meal. The good: crudo (sea bass, char) & dessert granita fantastic. The corn salad good. Clams appetizer very, very salty. The crab & Sea urchin pasta had a strand or two of crab over sticky, thick pasta. My companion didn't even eat hers. Which leads to the biggest issue: service. Our waiter did his job but that was it. Early on when we were excited about all the choices and still debating the third course we asked if he could put in the crudo and appetizer order first. Answer: no "they" don't let us do that, period. Wine glasses stayed empty, no comment on the uneaten food and wierd stacked dirty meal chairs cluttering up the hallway to the not so clean bathroom. Wierd
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • tcfoodies
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We went to NYC looking for fine dining. Our friends son who is a NY chef, suggested ESCA. We stayed midtown so it was a convenient location. While browsing the menu outside the resturant in the afternoon, we met chef David. He was warm and welcoming. The dining experience was everything we hoped for. The staff was professional and spot on. The Big Eye Tuna Crudo was an experience and the Wholefish Branzino was remarkable. The tableside presentation was fun. The GM Chris and our server Joe were excellent and we cant wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fish, fish and more fish
    Trencherman
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    The crudo was interesting, like Italian sashimi. The white fleshed fishes were excellent, shellfish not so much. Linguine and clams were fantastic, as you might expect of Batali. Entree was perfectly cooked, exquisity seasoned Pompano. Peach semifreddo was a beautiful finish. If you love seafood, you'll love Esca.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    DianaVIP
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    We went there for appetizers and wine but the server said we had to order at least one entree. We thought that was ridiculous but we ordered an entree and told them to put it straight in a to go box. I had stomach surgery and can only eat very small portions of food. In hindsight, we should have walked out instead of being forced to order more food that ended up in the hotel trash can because there isn't a fridge to keep the seafood at safe temp levels.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding!
    ForyouMario
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Food, Service and atmosphere were all very delightful. I would recommend this restaurant
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Too salty!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    This was our second dining experience at Esca. Becco was closed for renovation so Esca was our second choice for early dinner before attending a show. The food quality has definitely gone down since the first time we ate here. We remembered the excellent pasta and fish dishes we had the first time we ate here. This time I ordered the linguine with clams and my husband had the spaghetti with lobster. Our waiter returned 5 minutes after taking our order and explained that the clams would be "briny" and "a little more salty" than usual because of the cooking method used and asked if that would be okay. The dish was not just a little salty...it tasted like the chef had poured a whole bottle of salt into it and was inedible!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Esca(pe)
    KCazador
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    ESCApe from the norm. Wonderful food. The best wait-staff I've ever experienced. Professional at every position. Their anticipation is superb. I left the biggest tip I believe I've ever left, and well worth it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic Tasting Menu
    Edric66
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    My wife and I dined here to celebrate our twentieth anniversary. We chose the tasting menu with wine pairing. This was an excellent choice. We dined outside in an intimate setting and the service was attentive but not over present. The food was fantastic and the whole experience was perfect for such an occasion. The tasting menu itself was impressive with six different courses each one perfectly matched with wines, sparkling, white, rose, red and dessert wines. Each dish was lovingly prepared and the fish was very fresh. This was honestly one of the best meals I have eaten in New York.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italian in NYC
    LvItalian
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    NYC has many choices for fine Italian food but Esca has consistently been one of my favorites. I was first introduced to the restaurant by a friend of mine who lives in NYC and the times that I have gone back I have never been disappointed. I would especially recommend eating outside on the patio, weather permitting. It is quieter than inside which Is always busy. the wine selection is excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • unbearable noise level
    NudgeVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Noise from horrible rock music on a Sat evening made hearing waiter and conversation very difficult; waiter virtually had to shout to be heard while describing the unusual menu layout. Had to ask our waiter and waiter at adjacent table not to talk a same time so we could hear our waiter. Food was ok but not special. My chicken was greatly oversalted ( I know , its a seafood place) . Went here at 8:15 to avoid pre theatre crowd. Most of noise was not from patrons but from the so called music. Manager said this music was common in the B&B group of restaurants. Not so with my experiance at Po, Lupa, Eatly and Del Posto.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Expected more
    JoeC41
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Service was good in as far as the friendly staff. Wait for food was extremely long - main course 40 minutes. As expected, portions are small. The Zuppa de pesce was nothing more than 5 mussels, 3 clams and small chunks of fish. The family next to us became quite upset at their wait and at one point shouted at the service staff getting their attention - he cut his meal short and demanded the check. Overall, for the nearly $450 we spent, there are much better choices out there. Would not recommend and would never return. Of note - this reviews asks for how I would specifically recommend this restaurant - I choose kid-friendly, but would not recommend it this place in general.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000VIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Very disappointing. Service was poor and food was spotty; some items were seriously overly seasoned. Not worthy of a return visit.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A true favorite
    agp216VIP
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    One of my favorite restaurants in NYC. Always consistently excellent - a special and inspired meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Before theatre
    Snoopy
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    We went to lunch before a Broadway show. Actually we were a bit pressed to get to the show on time and we told them we were going to a show. They open at 12 noon and frankly I think they should open at 11:30 to give people more time to have a leisurely lunch and get to a show. The service is friendly but a bit slow. The food was well prepared and presented. Roasted corm salad was flavorful. Branzino was tasty. Blackberry upside down cake very good.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Decline in food
    Kefka300
    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