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
278 reviews since June 2, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.1
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelModerate
77% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (158)special occasion (112)notable wine list (87)neighborhood gem (76)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
  • 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
  • Big disappointement
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    I took a friend here for lunch her birthday and it must have been the b-team on steroids. Fish as part of crudo (their specialty) was actually tough and poor texture. Appetizers were mediocre at best. My friend did not even finish her entree. Service was pleasant but super inexperienced and with limited knowledge. Basically a bust.
    • Food
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    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointing
    barsik1
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Very little choices for Restaurant Week Lunch, very simple, bland and at all not elaborate cooking for a restaurant in this price range. Overall disappointing experience.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing
    ruthie66
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Had attended lunch during Restaurant Week last year and found the menu much better. There were too many fresh sushi type items on the menu. The entrees were limited to a shush type cooked whole fish not appealing looking, a seafood pasta and one other dish not appealing. My friend did not like any restaurant week menu items and had to resort to ordering from alacarte menu. A checkin dish was very over priced and his desert and coffee came to the same price as the restaurant week special. The restaurant was not crowded.. The selection of 3 wines with each course was listed at $11 on the website and menu stated $14. There was only 1 choice of dessert. Every other restaurant week menu always give you 2 to 3 dessert
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Lack of Flexibility
    BigonServiceVIP
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    When requesting modifications in several dishes on the menu as a result of food allergies, the waiter told us that this is the way the chef makes it or it is not possible to accommodate your request. Definitely not what was expected from a restaurant that carries Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich name.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always a pleasure
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    There are few greater pleasures to be had in New York in the summertime than lunch on the terrace at Esca. The fountain plashes gently, the flowers and greenery dance in the sun-- and then comes the great food! On the Restaurant Week menu have the wonderful calamari to begin with, then the pasta with sublime pesto, and wind it up with the wonderful olive oil cake with watermelon-- incredible dessert! And do get the wine pairings, which are perfect. As ever at Esca, the service was gracious and attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Absolutely delicious!
    KMK2014
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Everything at Esca was fabulous. Would specifically recommend the corn salad as a starter and the fish entrees.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fair at Best
    YoursTruthfully
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    I tried the two-flight crudo (6 different types in all), had the fish soup, the black bass, and the dessert from the restaurant week menu. The food was less than good. The crudos were fresh; they were prepared with olive oil and various salts, but nothing particular. For $30, I could get much better fish. The fish soup was way too salty and fishy. The service can be improved for sure. The server brought me a used wine glass and I had to point it out to someone before they brought a new glass. For lunch, it was close to $100, so the value is fair at best. Would I recommend this restaurant? Sadly, the answer is no. NY has much better restaurants, especially Italian ones. And even Mario Batali's other restaurants do a better job.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
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    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Esca Offers Unique Menu
    StrategiesVIP
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    Esca is ideal for a pre theater light meal. The food offerings are unique and beautifully presented, particularly seafood items and desserts.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful Spot!
    CRTO88
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    This is a wonderful spot with great, hand/home made fresh ingredients. The fish was fresh and cooked in true authentic Italian style. The staff and service was friendly, energetic and passionate about there food and service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great restaurant
    LuvNY
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    Everything great, but we were hot. Was uncomfortable because of it.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Freshest Fish
    BarbaraVIP
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Quality of the fish was excellent, if perhaps overpriced.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just not my fare
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    I like Italian and seafood, just not what Esca was offering.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful find!
    Kris
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    So glad to have tried this fantastic restaurant whose specialty is seafood. The whole experience was outstanding from atmosphere to service to the very excellent food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Mediocre and Overpriced
    Frank
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    After reading many rave reviews of Esca we were astounded at how so little care and attention was given to the dishes we ordered. Stuffed zucchini flowers were leaden, with a dense crust that obliterated the flowers. Baked Long Island clams were hidden in bread crumbs and "fresh" peas which were shriveled and super starchy, not pleasant. We split a pasta with shrimp and corn that had 3 overcooked shrimp (halved) in the dish, and drowned in olive oil. Our fish entrees were both overcooked (striped bass and cod), very dry and not the freshest. Desserts were OK, and after a bottle of Italian rose wine ($55) which later I found out actually retails for $16, we felt taken advantage of! We won't be returning to Esca.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • bcbets
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    My wife and I had the best restaurant experience. We went out for our anniversary and our waiter, Bradley, treated us as though we were the only ones in the restaurant and that was before he knew it was our anniversary! The chef came out to see how we enjoyed our meal and wished us a Happy Anniversary. We ordered the tasting menu and everything we ate was spectacular. They also a couple of extras for our anniversary. We can't say enough about our experience at ESCA. We will return!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.