Paola's Restaurant

4.5
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1382 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
"Everybody in New York seems to be looking for the perfect neighborhood restaurant. I think I found it."
- Ruth Reichl, The New York Times

For almost 30 years, Executive Chef Paola Bottero has offered an authentic Italian dining experience and a warm welcome on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. An icon of the Carnegie Hill Neighborhood, Paola’s serves lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and Stuzzichini “lite bites” at the gracious bar or al fresco at the outdoor tables. Joined by her son Stefano, together they are committed to the freshest ingredients and the truest interpretations of La Cucina Italiana. Benvenuti!

What 1382 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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h
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love Paola's I celebrated my birthday there with a group. We go for almost all special family meals.
It's a special neighborhood trat!

DP
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall1food4service1ambience4

Food delicious BUT meal rushed and restaurant staff pushed us out. Much pressure to vacate table. Dined with old friends and after 1.5 hours practically pushed out! 400 dollar bill for 4 people we should be able to dine and not be pressured to leave restaurant. We didn't overstay and it was obvious they wanted to serve us and push us out to seat next group and keep money coming in. Will never ever go again!!

RE
New York Area
64 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Paolo's is an old style Italian restaurant with good service, excellent food in a very nice setting.

G
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Much too expensive for a neighborhood restaurant!

JM
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Post wedding dinner

RK
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The only problem with this place is deciding what to choose. The entire menu is wonderful.

I
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience3

We used to go here all the time, but service seems to have slacked off since the opening of the Hamptons Paola’s. Stefano used to greet and take care of us, but he has disappeared. Service is now rushed and impersonal. Drink orders arrive somewhere between the appetizer and the main course, if at all. Nobody recognizes us. Price of popularity, I suppose.

A
New York Area
43 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love Paola's, especially for lunch, when it is quieter. We live in the 'hood, and for dinner we tend to order take-out from them, so we don't have to deal with the noise at night. Food is great; lots of options, both sinful and healthful. Our favorite place in the neighborhood. Chicken paillard is great at lunch. Dinner favorites are the pollastrella, the bronzino, and the veal. And all the pastas.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Experience at the podium was spotty. No offer to check coats. Wait for table despite reservation. High noise level. But . . . Best food in the Carnegie Hill area.

H
San Francisco
44 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of our favorite places - delicious food, efficient and warm servers, great ambiabce. We are always happy here.

ST
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience1

Reception was poor. Too many stables cramped on top of each other. Marinara sauce was tasteless. Best part of meal was desert. Doubt I will go back on a Sunday

JS
Denver
22 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great Brunch The artichokes are the best!!! The eggs benedict are also wonderful.

B
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A favorite restaurant of mine. You certainly don't go here for the peace and quiet. Food is fabulous and the service is wonderful no matter how busy they are. Everyone remains calm on staff and sometimes you need to be a little patient, but all worth while. Their cocktails and wine never disappoint either.

ME
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The service is great, and the food amazing. I ordered the branzino with fava beans and it was so tender and flavorful! The tartufo is not to be missed either.

RW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Phenomenal food and excellent service. We had a large group and everyone’s food was incredible. We highly recommend the pasta with trumpet mushrooms and chicken thighs with broccoli rabe. So good!!

L
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

Food is always good but the noise level,due to large groups at tables, has gotten so bad we may never return.

Y
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food as always was excellent. It IS a bit pricey but worth it

j
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

I like Paola's a lot, but why should I write a review if I receive no Open Table points?

R
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

The tables are extremely close to one another, esp the tables for 2. Apart from noise, being able to eat off your neighbor's table or commenting on their conversation getting up and out from the bench seats threatens to upend the next table. The food is ok but not special. The room itself has pleasant decor.

C
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience3

Sadly, the Paola’s we know and love did not show up Sunday evening. The staff as always was prompt courteous and nice. But the food was bland at best and over cooked at it’s worst. We won’t be returning for quite sometime which is disappointing since it’s around the corner from my mother’s home and has been our go to restaurant for Sunday night dinners.

D
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Took our elderly (and choosey) others to dinner post theatre for their birthdays. We were shown a quiet corner table and given exceptional attention by the staff, starting with cocktails. We then enjoyed the “buzzy” salad, well prepared pastas and a terrific Osso Buco special. All dishes were classically prepared and then followed by terrific tiramisu and a rich profiteroles. Highly recommended for an elegant dinner.

A
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

My negative evaluation is due to the way in which my husband and I were treated. We arrived in time for our 7:45 reservation, actually a few minutes early. The maitre’d kept telling us “two minutes” until our table was ready. This went on for 12-15 minutes, until finally we were seated. Once we settled in, he told (not asked) us to get up because another party of three, who arrived later than we did, were better suited for this table. He’d have another table for us in “two minutes.” At this point we decided to leave. This was incredibly rude an unacceptable treatment. Then to add insult to injury, he reported us to open table as no-shows. I would also note that the place was incredibly noisy. I would not recommend it.

G
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Look forward to returning again and again. Many thanks.

MX
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent and a pleasure as always

F
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always a great experience the Sunday lunch at Paola’s restaurant.
Food is amazing and service always attentive.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience3

Indifferent waiters
Had to ask 4 times for a glass of Chardonnay
Etc etc

AD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good experience overall, would recommend.
Only downside was the wait even with reservation.

P
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience2

Came here for brunch Saturday Oct the 5th. Service was non existent. Quick to come and take your order but not quick on following through. Food was definitely not to the 4.5 rating they show on line. Not even close. Definitely would not come here again.

DY
New England
5 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall4food2service4ambience4

Good Upper East Side vibe. Friendly service. Uneven food preparation. AVOID THE VEAL CHOP. It is a bone surrounded by layers of fat.

m
New York Area
46 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

This a very good neighborhood restaurant, with solid, dependable cooking. Nothing is memorable, but regulars swear by its consistency and come back again and again. A great place to go when you’re visiting the Guggenheim, but not worth a detour.

CB
New York Area
62 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was the best experience I have ever had at Paola's because it was the first time we set outside. We could actually have a conversation without shouting, which is nearly impossible in the dining room because of the noise. We live on the UES and have loved the food here for years, especially in the old 84th St location. We would come to the new one more often if they would do something to reduce the noise.

j
New England
107 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always terrific food in an atmosphere that stays warm and welcoming no matter how crowded it gets (and it is very popular!).

OT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beet salad, Trofie pasta and duck dishes are always terrific. Swordfish was enjoyed by our guest.

MG
Denver
13 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Noisy bustling atmosphere. Food is good and staff is great.

l
New York Area
22 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Pasta was delicious but too much noise.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Food was good but the service was startlingly bad. Waited 40 min for our reservation despite being told it would be 10-15 min. Then seated at a table near the waiter stand.. Had to ask for water refills 4 times. Asked for bread refill that never came. Basically we were ignored by the wait staff. It’s so disappointing — seems one has to be a regular to get any attention. A real miss.

s
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Only problem is that I've never in my four or five visits gotten a good table for two. Most of the tables are for 4 or more. Squeezed in in busy spots seems to be my Paola seating fate, which is a shame because the food is so Italian authentic and most staff excellent.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience1

Too long, too loud, too rude, too expensive for bad service (had to ask for things multiple times and often never came) and mediocre food. just not a nice night out ..

BS
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Best food on Upper East side. Consistently good food and service. Loud. Reservations a must.

C
New York Area
86 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I had a delightful lunch and a first-time experience at Paola’s since we had to be in the Carnegie Hill area that afternoon. What fun- such a charming small but elegant old-world style restaurant with very good food, wine and service. I chose a delicious avocado, beet, and heirloom tomato salad and my husband had a very tasty wild boar ragu. Great crusty Italian bread also! We will definitely make a trip back here.

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