Esca
Esca

Esca

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://esca-nyc.com/
  • Phone: (212) 564-7272
  • 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
273 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.1
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
76% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (163)special occasion (105)notable wine list (102)neighborhood gem (72)romantic (56)great for outdoor dining (33)great for lunch (31)hot spot (30)good for groups (19)late-night find (13)kid-friendly (3)great for brunch (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Great food and service perfect for pre theater
    LuvtodineVIP
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    Had a 7:00 show and a 5:30 reservation. Arrived at 6:45 due to traffic but staff very attentive and without feeling rushed we were out and at show before 7. Food excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-Show Favorite
    OT123VIP
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    My wife and I visited ESCA before a Broadway play. The staff did an excellent job of making sure we would not be late, but at the same time not making us feel rushed at all. The food was excellent, from the chef's appetizer through desert. We each had fish courses, and were not disappointed. We are not familiar with Italian wines, so described what typically pleased us in West Coast wines and were brought a very nice bottle, not over-priced. If we marked down anything at ESCA it would be the noise level and the proximity of adjacent tables. We will go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • pauiieBoyVIP
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    The food is outstanding. We have been here three times. However, it is an odd layout. The tables (for 2 or 3) along the walls are too close together. It makes for akward whispering and very difficult to get up if you have to. Not sure we will go back unless we can specify which table or room we will be seated in.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Sorry, but disappointed
    MikeKVIP
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Was very excited to try Esca. Unfortunately I was disappointed. I ordered an appetizer of blowfish tails. They were well cooked but had too much breading on them, masking the taste of the fish. Others around the table were similarly unimpressed with their's except for the member of our party who ordered a crudo. For a main course requested the Branzino for two. Despite our being there for a 5:15 seating the waiter ran to put the order in because there was only one more portion and he wanted us to get it. Alas, we were beaten to it. I then searched the menu for a substitution and settled on the fried seafood platter that was overdone. calamari was so overcooked it was inedible. Pumpkin canoli had burnt shell. Rushed out by staff.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent
    KenfromDC
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    All around great experience, food, service and wine was all first class
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Esca Delicious Food
    JimmyB
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    This was my first time at Esca but I have read about Dave Pasternack for the last 8 years - since my daughter only eats fish and shellfish we had to go. The food was amazing - grilled octopus, clams and mussels in a spicy pumpkin broth, gnocchi with Montauk lobster, and finally skate were all perfectly prepared, absolutely delicious, and perfect portion size. Service was a little unpolished and slow, and since I have read Joe Bastianich's book Restaurant Man i was disappointed that the Maitre'D did not come over and ask us how the dinner was and when we left he was standing right by the door and did not thank us or say goodbye - I agree with Joe that these are the little things that matter.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding food
    EsmeVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    The food and the service could not have been better. Everything on the menu looks interesting. I will want to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • food not as good as expected
    Fabdinernc
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    Service was great but the food was not very impressive; Menu looked great but overall the flavors were not there. My fish on main course was bland and a bit mushy; the crudos were not flavorful either; they tasted all very similar; My husband fish stew tasted fishy and the broth was not deep in flavor either and it was extremely salty...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fabulous dinner
    Foodiefamily
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    We had a friend tell us about Esca's (local) and we loved to food, service and ambience. I would recommend this to anyone that appreciates good food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • do not waste $
    miamimom
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    What a dissapointment!!! Started out with being seated in front so door would open and blow cold air on us. Wine menu was difficult to navigate thru - needed interpretation. Bread brought to us either had a COLD center or was stale,dry. Ordered calamar appetizer found it to be tough and unable to cut. Pasta with snow crab was buttery with pasta over cooked. Before we arrived the couple we were with stated that they needed to make sure to get a card before leaving the resturant so they could recommend to others. They did not take a card when our dinner was over and will make sure others do not visit
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Julie
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Far too many attending our table....we had no idea who to ask for what. They would NOT put salad on the side or just give us a plate of greens without dressing as the salad choice for one of our family as the "chef wanted us to experience his food." One member with us has dietary restrictions and was made to feel very uncomfortable. Selection good, food good, prices good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not as good as before
    KokKalle
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    Been there 4 times before. Went a couple of days ago. The servers, while numerous, simply forgot the wine. After asking it can midway through the appetizers. I love crudo. This occasion just was not special.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • so-so
    CAP10301
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    Extensive appetizer & 1st course list. Small portions so for a tasting menu probably excellent. We both had the stripped bass which was good buit nothing to write home about.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Superbly consistan
    foodiefanatic107VIP
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    On our last visit I actually told the maître d' at Esca that the restaurant was allways wonderfully consistent, consistently excellent, creative food using the finest ingredients and served more than efficiently by a consistently warm and friendly staff. Add the great food, the reasonably priced Bastianich wines and both food, wine, ambiance and impeccable service create a great dining experiemce. All this and a wonderful evening in the theatre to follow! Five stars to Esca and Five stars to "On the Town." Lucky New Yorkers we!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious seafood...
    OTdinerVIP
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    Fresh, fresh fresh seafood.....enhanced but not smothered with sauces. Perfection.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love seafood?
    ContractGuy
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    This is a great restaurant if you love seafood. If you do not, the menu is limited
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We did not take the "bait"
    gastroman
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    We tried the tasting menu and overall was an absolutely underwhelming experience. It started very strong with a tasting of "crudi" a "brodetto" and a great squid . But then the chef lost control of the salt . I love salt and this is the first time ever I complain about having too much of it. (btw the people at the table next to me complained of the same) Too bad because the ricotta gnocchi where soft and well presented while the bass was dry and unappealing. Service was fair at best, We had to call for a menu multiple times , (while the waiter gave the wine list as soon as we sat down). The table had also to be re-dusted of bread crumbs before we where seated.! Surprisingly so as the bread was dispensed it as it was gold.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • numerodos
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    I made reservations for a group of 6 because I remember it was very good place 3 years ago. It still has the ambiance, but the food and service went down while the prices moved way north. Despite early dinner 5PM on Sunday and having the group of 6 people we were invisible. The wine list and the water came almost right away, but from that point no one paid attention to our table. Ordering wine was challenging, we had to ask for menus after 30 minutes and getting extra bread and some olive oil required a lot of hand signaling and "begging". Food presentation was good, but it didn't taste as well as it should and was very bland. They took NYC "low sodium" policy literally. There was some on the table but almost was none in the food.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not above the crowd . . .
    TheOutOfTowners
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Was so looking forward to Esca: the menu is a great read. But the star of the meal was the assortment of vegetable sides . . .
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • DixmeisterVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Its a nice place for pre theatre. But, just nice and nothing to distinguish it from other, less costly restaurants.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good, not great
    SteveVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Three out of four dishes were good and the fourth, the octopus appetizer, was terrible. The servers were good, but seemed a bit preoccupied and rushed. Maybe that was a result of having to get diners out to their shows on time. I would think about going back here, but I would not be in any rush.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fancy priced with no ambiance
    artmagic
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Somewhat disappointing food in that it did not match the price range of excellence. Our waiter was friendly, however, the hostess first sat us by the bar when the whole restaurant was empty for our 12:15 lunch reservation. The hostess showed visible signs of irritation when I was dissatisfied with our table. The manager promptly moved us to the main dining room to a table with a wobbly leg. I had to ask for the leg of the table to be fixed. My husband and I had wait for two different people to fix the leg of the table. It was my birthday celebration, so I did not want them to spoil my good time, but they did give me a negative first impression. I do NOT want to go back to this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Some hit and some miss
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Some dishes were great, some were not good at all. My guest has the fish special and it was great. First rate. I had the seafood stew and it was so salty, it was not edible. I doubt the dish was tasted before it left the kitchen.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • An afternoon's delight!
    NYCeats
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Having frequented Esca many times, we returned for a delightful lunch as a deluge soaked the city. This caused our guest to arrive almost 45 minutes late. Although the restaurant was crowded with matinee theater-goers, the wait staff was exceptionally solicitous: serving us, then our late-comer, with good humor, graciousness, and concern. Another delectable meal served with the warmest hospitality.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good
    albins
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    Wine was excellent and the food, we both ordered fish and was really tasty, well cooked and presented. The waiters were very kind and we will definitely come back to celebrate special occasions.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding Service and Food
    KapersVIP
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    Great seafood menu choices. Our waiter was very thorough in the description of the menu and the choices available. Food was outstanding
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • yum
    NenaVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    We love this place, the best seafood in NYC. We go every time we are in NYC
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Above and Beyond Service
    MAG333VIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We arrived late for our reservation and had theater tickets. Maitre d, Michael asked us to wait a bit and gave us drinks. We decided to come back for post theater dinner. Maitre d so kindly gave us a bottle of wine. Unnecessary but so appreciated. I had scallop crudo & my husband had razor clam crudo. Both excellent. Spaghetti with lobster and Mahi liver also delicious. Had warm bread pudding and warm cranberry cake.Loved both. Service, food and especially maitre d made Esca a lovely experience. Will definitely return. Please pass this review on to the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pro is early service for theater
    RRM855VIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Service that is a little pretentious and unhelpful. Stay with the fish when ordering. That is where they excell.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fish Lovers gem
    SueJ
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    It always amazes me how hard it is to find fish well cooked in this city. Esca does it perfectly. We started with the grilled whole calamari which was perfect. This was followed by whole fish fileted perfectly. Too bad there is no room for fileting by the table. Not much choice for non fish lovers. The place was packed. The prices not bad for NYC. And the wine chosen for me was very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decent Service Recovery
    HKDinerVIP
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    We were sat in a small corner by the kitchen entrance and were promptly ignored, I tried to get moved to a table in the main dining room. Quickly after, a manager offered us a drink and brought over a snack of olives and crostini. They were very good. A waiter did not approach after that, but another more managerial person came over and explained the menu and he was very nice and informative. It didn't seem others got this service in our area. We had the octopus, good, but a little over grilled. I had the pumpkin crudo, very good. We split the black ink pasta, which was delicious. Lastly we had the thresher shark, again it was over grilled. It had been described that it would come out medium. The vegetables were also over done.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    The Orato was tender and moist and the octopus was delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • got salt?
    Whiteshoes
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    A native-born Italian friend cautioned me: ask them to go easy on the salt. I didn't. I should have, at least insofar as the main dishes were concerned. (Crudi were great, as were the grilled sardines). Pasta chitarra: gummy, brutally salty. Their seafood soup (like a boullibasse) was a deeply concentrated seafood stock (and dare I say fishy in a maybe not-great way) and f**king salty. But, as in all Batali restaurants, the pastas and second are (imho) made with a heavy hand. (And don't I remember him on TV preaching a pasta sauce as a "condimento", a light dressing not to be over-applied?) What. Ever.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    Oeno
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    We went post-theater on a Tuesday night. The outdoor seating area is nice, but the food was less than mediocre. Old crusty end-of-the-day bread, flavorless fish, and a waiter who was nice enough but felt the need to shout everything he said.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Italian Sushi! How cool is that?
    practicalprincess
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    Still dreaming of going back for a Pomegranate Bellini and the crudo (raw) menu. We had the tasting appetizer and it was exquisite and satisfying. Service was warm and friendly yet at the same time terribly efficient. I am sure every dish is wonderful -- we had the lobster with pasta(fresh tasting) in a mint chili sauce. We recommend studying the menu before you go because it is delightfully unconventional. Also don't waste this place on a rushed meal before your show…We were there on a weeknight when we had theater tickets. They asked us when we walked in if we had time constraints. 5 for dinner when the curtain is at 8 was plenty of time for two courses and a little after dinner coffee. We'd go back for a full 3 courses and dessert.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Gone downhill
    PupsVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    This was my third or fourth time eating at Esca and I'm not sure that I will go back. zThe bread was passable. The focaccia was dense and awful. My fish was way over cooked. The desert was good, but the chocolate biscotti tasted like it had lived in the freezer. I guess that chef Pasternack is attending to his new venture instead of minding the kitchen at esca.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Esca meal
    Cookie
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    We eat in a lot of Michelin Star Restaurants and our meal at Esca was superb, would definitely go back next time we visit NYC
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Let down
    simpleingredients
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I was in NYC for just one night, dreaming of this food, and overall it was a major disappointment. The manager was rude. He rushed the diners sitting next to us out before they finished their wine so that he could fill the table. He told them THREE times to leave. It was embarrassing to watch. They were out of Branzino on a Saturday night at 8pm, which is what I wanted to order. So that was not a good start. The linguine with clams is inedible. It is so salty and they put pancetta in it, which destroys the taste of the clams. The wine was delicious, so there is that. We didn't stay for digestivi - in case the manager needed our table too. The owners are northern Italian and they should stick to their own region. I wouldn't go back.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Simply Perfect
    JorgeArenas
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    Italian wine lists and all menu are perfect. I enjoy everything.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious food and great service
    LoveItalianFood
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    My husband and I went for our anniversary dinner. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. We decided to split the pasta and fish because the portions were pretty hearty and they actually separated it into two plates for us. We had the sea urchin pasta, which was absolutely amazing --we didn't even like sea urchin before this! --and just melted in your mouth like butter. The grilled bluefish was a perfect blend of smoky and tender. The desserts were, of course, as rich and delicious as you would expect from any good Italian restaurant. If there's anything I would criticize, it would be that the tables were placed a little too close and we could hear everything that the couple next to us were saying.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.