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 and 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 and then a Mediterranean Branzino cooked in sea salt. Esca is the best of Italian coastal cooking with access to the world’s greatest fish.
Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Monday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 4:30pm to 10pm
Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:30pm
Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
ESCA’s intimate and elegant dining room offers a lovely, quiet experience amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City’s Theatre District. All menus are based on fresh, seasonal ingredients (in other words, whatever Chef Dave Pasternack catches that morning).View Private Dining Details
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Sun 9:30PM - 11:15PM
Mon - Sat 10:00PM - 11:15PM
What Insiders Are Saying
Year after year, Esca remains in the conversation of the NYC elite. It’s always jam packed, mostly with the business and commuter crowd.
Service was painfully slow for drinks and wine. Not that the waiters were that busy but they just don't seem to get around to taking the drink orders or delivering them after its taken. Plus if you are gong to cram people into a tight space, don't put them in front of the wine coolers so you have to get up every time someone orders a bottle from that section of the cooler.
Extremely noisy. Was rushed to our table early ( bar is too small to hold more than maybe 6 ppl) and the restaurant is so small you can’t stand anywhere to wait w/out getting bumped! The food was pretty good except for the main course of Hake which had ZERO flavor whatsoever. Considering how expensive this place is our experience was Disappointing at best!!
Seated us 20 min after reservation time, waitress great, food overpriced
We arrived 5 minutes prior to our reservationa and the restauarant opening time and were treated brusquely. The food was average and pricey, not as gloriously wonderful as in the past.
Service was terrible.,Almost missed Theater
The table was very dark, and a dish which was on the website is not listed in the menu and was not available to us that evening which was a disappointment. No gluten free bread, and a reluctance by the manager to change a dish to meet the dietary requirements of one of our party.
Start to finish...everything was outstanding.
For appetizers my wife had Verdi Di Primavera and I ordered Vongole and both were excellent. Vongole was 7 clams with the best stuffing I have tasted in quite some time, sweet, savory, and seasoner perfectly. Wife loved the salad and especially appreciated the Merlot Vinaigrette.
Dinner was Casareccia for her and Linguine for me... her only challenge with Casareccia was it was a bit too spicy but flavor and seafood-wise she thoroughly enjoyed. Linguine was excellent and loaded with clams. Sauce was light and flavorful but also slightly more spicy then expected. While we both love spicy food, in it's place, a bit less for both would have enhanced the meal.
Had a reasonably priced bottle of Super Tuscan that was poured by the sommelier and kept off the table. This is different that other experiences as it was difficult to gauge the amount consumed at any point.
Service was a team effort and was impeccable without being intrusive.
Highly recommend to anyone that is not afraid of the cost!!
David the bartender was great and so was Anthony the waiter.
Food was very good.
The wonderful cuisine and attentive service was often overshadowed by the unnecessarily crowded seating and uncomfortable noise level.
We have always loved ESCA. The food is still excellent though pricey. I guess they've become too popular and grown too fast. So it has become so noisy you can't hear the waiter. They have added are too many tables (you hardly get around), but have not added bathrooms (singles) (not even sure its legal given the number of tables). Lets just say they were very lined up.
This was the absolute greatest dining experience of our lives in 20 years of marriage! We had an absolute Blast tonight! The food, the service, the ambiance was absolutely impeccable! We were stunned and impressed and we will be back!
Outstanding cuisine and service! The linguine with briny clams, red pepper and pancetta is amazing and no other restaurant prepares branzino the way they do. Its by far the best in the city!
The food was interesting and very tasty, especially the appetizers we chose. The service was quick and polite. Excellent advice regarding the wine. The proved and really good choice for pre theatre. a 6:00 o'clock reservation gave us ample time for a a dinner of several courses and a 8:00 show. Thank you.
We paid more than $300 for dinner, which would be fine except the food was mediocre at best. I feel that NYC has many excellent restaurants that and well worth the money. Go to one of those. I was disappointed especially that Zagats, which I typically rely upon, gave us a bad recommendation in this case.
Consistently excellent - Chef David Pasternack is, without question a master of cuisine. Impeccable food, service and wine selections. Great location. Can’t be beat!
Lovely food and great service. Would definitely visit again.
Fabulous!! Great food, service and drinks!! Pleasure dining here pre-theatre!
Great ambience and superior service. Could get more bang for your buck in terms of the food itself.
very nice server and great food. hard to spot from street. booth seating near front door not stable
I ended up spending a little more than I intended, but the place is pretty affordable. It ended up being a $200 bill with 20% tip for two appetizers, two entrees, and two quartinos of wine. The cheese and pasta dishes were excellent, but the fish was pretty unremarkable. We got the seafood taster appetizer and all the items were all pretty bland and naturally very salty. The wait staff was excellent and efficient. We were in and out in about 90 minutes without rushing at all and even having taken our time with the menu.
There are a lot of upscale Italian restaurants in New York, but so far none of them can beat Esca. Not only the food is great but also service is genuinely nice. Personnel tries to get you the best experience and differentiate Esca from any other place - with all their hearts. I' always going there with vegetarian (to Italian seafood place!) and it's not a problem at all. Even though crudo (fresh seafood bites) are delicious and 100 % Esca specialty, their vegetarian menu is on top as well. So bring you friends, family or business partners - they would definitely appreciate the meal.
Overall it was a good experience, chef’s 7 course was diverse, good and filling. Waitstaff was nice, and the bar was generous.
Seating area is small, and for a guy who is over 6’, I was uncomfortable all night. A couple two tables over were allowed to put on softcore show with lewd acts for most of our evening. I expected more from a place with amazing 4 star reviews.
All that with the fact the area was surrounded by seedy vagrants and the decibel level in the dining area was about 95 dB, so loud that my ears hurt after leaving. Unfortunately I doubt we will go back.
Outstanding food as always. Amazing how the group there continues to execute at a high level. Nicely thought out food menu and wine list. Highly recommend!
Food was over salted and music so loud everyone was shouting on each table to be heard.
Not a great experience
My husband and I have had previous dining experience at Esca and we loved it! This time however was one of the worst ever in NYC. We had the tasting menu which should have been called the un-tasting menu as each dish was worse than the next. The server spoke so quickly and with such a thick accent that we had no idea what we were eating. The fish course was full of bones and the rest of the food was underwhelming. If I could give this place 0 stars, I would. An experience we would rather forget.
The dinner took over two hours, the food was served cold, we alerted the waiter and the manager who didn’t seem to care and then when we asked them to make an adjustment on the check they refused (and were extremely rude). Very poor service and quality for the cost of the restaurant and the reputation of the broader restaurant group. Ruined the birthday we went there to celebrate.
The waiter asked if there was any occasion that brought us to the restaurant so i replied that we were celebrating my daughters birthday. His response was "just a birthday"? Whether in jest or not that set the tone for a less than par evening. When i replied "just a birthday"? he said yes, it comes every 365 days.
Well to me birthdays are very special.
The food was good but my daughter ordered the flounder which when i tasted it tasted burned. I did say something and on two occasions they checked how they could rectify it but when daughter had already eaten half of it and wasn't impressed w the whole place so didn't bother to send it back.
The best part of the meal was the wine i drank. that was absolutely incredible.
Sorry to say, my goal to take her to one of Joe and lidia's restaurants was way less than what i hoped it to be. I would not recommend and I almost never write such terrible reviews.
A miserable, inexcusable dining experience:
My wife and I arrived this past Sunday for our reservation on time at 5:15. As we sat down, we asked our server for the pre-fixe pre-theatre menu as it wasn’t included with the regular menu and wine list that we were handed. He ignored our request. Then he said it wasn’t available on Sunday (as did the hostess too). According to the Esca website, it’s available every day. That got things off to a rocky start.
We ordered two appetizers, a shared pasta course, and then the $82 turbot for two with a $9 side of spaghetti squash. The appetizers were good, although I have an issue when a restaurant’s menu reads: “Crispy Local Monkfish Cheeks, Steamers, Potato, and Sage” and then they only serve one monkfish cheek. Someone needs a lesson in grammar, but this was small potatoes compared to what followed.
The waiter then brought out new forks and fish knives for us. When asked why, he said that they thought we would want our pasta course served at the same time as our fish course so we could make our theatre time. Since we had only been there for 30 minutes and had another hour until we needed to get underway, we told him that we would like our pasta course first, as requested. It was quite apparent that the restaurant had already cooked the fish and forgotten that we had ordered the pasta course.
The pasta was ok but pricey. Then the turbot came out. It was cold and dry. And it had been filetted badly, each of us receiving a filet broken into five pieces. With no sauce or even a pat of butter. And here’s the kicker: the kitchen forgot the squash, so we waited another five+ minutes until that came out. Advertised as “spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomatoes”, it was two tiny slices of sun-dried tomato on a small serving of the squash; hardly the stuff that dreams are made of.
Oh, yes, our candle went out during the first course; no one bothered to relight it.
Arrivederci, Esca. We won't be back.
We have been many times over the years.
We always had great experiences.
The waiter this time was nice.
We ordered the whole orata for two.
The grilled fish was very briefly shown to us.
After many minutes we were served our portions.
The fish was very tasty but cool in temperature and despite being fileted there were many bones.
We were so disappointed after this place came so highly recommended. Tuna bacon was so salty it was nearly inedible. Fish arrived cold. Gnocchi was quite good, but, not fish - so, the Italian part was great, but the fish / seafood was not as good as we had hoped. A little on the expensive side for what we got. Service was excellent.
Good Italian for reasonable price. Ideal for pre and post Broadway shows.
Great food! Great waiter!! Wonderful date for us!!
Everything was cooked to perfection and the service was above and beyond.
Several times during the dinner we were asked whether we were going to a performance to which we always replied no. Nevertheless the dinner was extremely rushed. When we sat down we ordered drinks, the drinks did not come until after we received the first course. When the first course came we ordered wine for the main course. The wine came well after the mains were served. I waited for the wine and the dinner got cold. The place is extremely noisy making conversation difficult. Also, the tables are very close so conversations are not private. The menu is good but the experience is disappointing.
Love ESCA! Food is great!
Service just ok. Food has been better in past
Amazing food and great service. We will definitely go back!
Great food and service!
Very good seafood italian restaurant
If you like authentic italian , its a must try
It was a rare warm October evening so we had the chance to dine in the garden. Service was wonderful, the wine recommendation was outstanding, and the food was delicious. Started with the Crudo tasting which was great and it went uphill from there.