Esca

4.2
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5202 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian

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About

Esca is a Southern Italian Seafood Restaurant created by Joseph Bastianich & David Pasternack. Esca showcases the style and sensibility of Italian coastal cooking. Dave went to Italy and 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 and delicious way. In Italy, that means the local catch. 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 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.
What 5202 people are sayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.2based on all time ratings
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.0
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SerleE
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall1food1service4ambience3

The clam ceviche tasted as brine minimally spiced. The haddock was most likely old and frozen and tasted bland with slight ammonia taste to it. Several entrées were not available because the restaurant was to close for renovations the next day.

o
vipoverpriced
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience2

The worst service I ever experienced

OT
OpenTable Diner
Dubai
6 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Servizio molto buono il personale super gentile e premuroso. Unica pecca io mio fritto misto, dove un pesce aveva un forte odore e sapore di ammoniaca!!! L’ho fatto notare e molto gentilmente mi hanno proposto un piatto alternativo e alla fine della cena non me lo sono trovata nel conto. Ho assaggiato i piatti degli altri tre commensali che erano molto buoni.

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s
suledo
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Excellent fish restaurant with an Italian flair west of Times Square. Has always been a stand out and the Crudo is a must.

T
vipTdoc
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Appetizers were mediocre at best. Mains were terrific. Wine, while very good, was way overpriced with a markup of 5x retail.

j
vipjmf2
Los Angeles
144 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

Best for post theatre as pre-theatre is crowded , noisy and rushed

C
vipCoppertop
New York Area
55 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Extended family I clouding an elder. A smidge rushed to take plates away even though we were not on way to show. Noise level pretty good for restaurants these days. Wine list prices greatly inflated.

S
mickS
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great selection of fish. Roasted fennel a pleasant surprise.

JJ
vipJoJo
New England
13 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

We were recently visiting New York and had not dined at Esca in over 10 years. Our memory was that it was one of our favorite restaurants in New York. Overall we had an enjoyable evening but the place is showing its years. The outside looked quite run down as we approached and inside it did not have the sparkle we remembered. Our table was nice, the noise was moderate and the service was wonderful. Our food was delicious but not exceptional. The tuna crudo was fabulous with just the perfect amount of salt and oil. The gnocchi were perfect little pillows of perfection. The Branzino for two was simple but moist and delicate. The roasted fennel had a nice flavor but unfortunately it was mushy. We enjoyed the almond cake dessert with mascarpone ice cream as a perfect ending. Even though Esca has lost its luster the food and service was good enough to bring us back in the future.

EB
vipEdgardoB
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

We went in a group of 7. We were well greeted. After an adequate initial explanation the waiter described the menu. Then, the very knowledgeable sommelier helped with the outstanding italian wine list and recommended two excellent reds from Sicily and Tuscany which were excellent. It took very long for the waiter to take the orders, the appetisers came timely but the second courses took forever. That´s why I didn´t rated wit 5 stars. In sum excellent food and wine list with average table service (excluding the sommelier).

C
vipCarolineandparker
Richmond
10 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our 3rd dining experience at Esca and did not disappoint. Always a wonderful experience, great service all around.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Miami
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

No me impresionó para nada.
El pulpo, plato estrella, estaba muy cocido, seco y con sabor a quemado, el acompañamiento era una ensalada con judiones (habas) que también estaban muy cocidas.
En otras mesas había platos que se veían mejor que los nuestros.
Me lo pensaría bien antes de regresar a este restaurante.

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L
vipLauren
New England
5 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

The music was extremely loud for the small, intimate venue. Did not match with scene I believe they were trying to set. Very loud 90’s music is fun but not appropriate for the elegant setting.
Our waitress left half way through our meal and did not tell us she was leaving. For a higher end restaurant, I would have expected her to introduce us to our new waiter. We had one couple from our table of 6 have a family emergency and they were late. I called to let them know and they sat the 4 of us immediately. We had a cocktail and were waiting for them. We asked if we could order some food while we waited but she said no that would be impossible. I asked for bread bc it was getting late and I was starving and that seemed inconvenient.
Once our guests arrived and we ordered things improved a lot. The sommelier was exceptional. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. The service other than that was great.
However we were the last ones in there and when the staff decided it was time to close, they turned the lights up to give us the hint to leave. It was 11:45pm. Sort of disappointing for a high end nyc restaurant to get kicked out at that hour. All in all it was a great meal but a bit rough around the edges.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience2

I’ve loved Esca for years, but found on this visit that it has lost its soul and the kitchen is cooking without any care. Hope it was just a bad night.

NG
vipNapaGal
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience3

We were so excited to see all of the crudo's on the menu since we LOVE crudo but the quality and cuts were very poor. The rest of the meal was clunky. The best thing about the experience was the sommelier. She was delightful and very knowledgeable.

e
viperoomdm7
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Pasta with crab was fishy. amuse bouche was the best thing. A bit $$ for what it was.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Only downside was the big tear in upholstery in the booth seat I sat in. Was really surprised how shabby it looked given how first class the restaurant is.

HJ
vipHarlemJim
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

I used to come here regularly and always loved the place. On this visit, the food was perfectly fine, but nothing outstanding. Soft shell crab needed more sauce while the monkfish needed much more seasoning. Maybe it was an off-night for the kitchen?? I hope so. Will try again, but they better deliver.

B
Babs
Detroit
7 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

Service was bad
Bread was cold long wait without service. Guest came and server never came to check for drink
Had to call another another server.
Did not get dessert specially ordered
Had to wait over 30 minutes after requested check

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very good food, always good. A little worn out physically but we always come back. Crudo and salt Branzino was brilliant and i love urchins.

e
vipehaynes
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Solid crudo, good pasta, so so fish entree. Excellent Amaro list. Pricey for what it is.

AF
AspiringFoodie
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Food remains a strong point; the crudo "flight" is a treat and turns heads among those not familiar with Italian "sushi." Seafood pastas remain as strong as ever. Wine list is annoyingly expensive and the sommelier is not one of those who really litens; he hears your price point only. So a C grade for wine selection -- stick with the house or lesser vintages; maybe give the $820 Amarone a pass.

RM
RickM
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Esca is a small intimate restaurant offering a range of dishes all expertly prepared. Pricing is moderate for this area of New York City. Wines by the bottle are on the higher end but they do have a limited selection of 250 ml (1 1/2 glasses) which are reasonable and enough for me. Our group all opted for a shared pasta as an appetizer and the scallops which were cooked perfectly, sometimes that is hard to achieve. this was our second visit after theater matinee and we will be back.

SR
StephenR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great menu and food. Supper attentive service. Loved the ambience. Will go back again. Stephen, Flanders, NJ

VW
VictoriaW
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Would recommend the food, but only with warning about the service. Our food, when it arrived, was excellent. The service was very spotty, however, and there were problems with the bill, which we couldn’t resolve because it took so long to get the check and we had to get to theate. On advice of the restaurant, we allowed hour and 45 minutes for dinner. It was not sufficient.

CB
ChristineB
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is one of favorite places to eat. The ambiance is perfect, vibrant but not noisy, the food is exceptional, the service impeccable while remaining warm.

TC
TonyC
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

While expensive, their consistency with service and quality of food is second to none.

CP
vipCalParent
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Ran into Joe Namath. Can't do better than that. Charming ambiance with just the right amount of buzz.

JD
vipJayD
New York Area
138 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Fish is wonderful as always. Good wine choices. Nice staff. We continue to recommend they diversify desserts and add dark chocolate choice

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went there 20 years ago. Still remember the crudo. And it's just as good today. Actually worth a trip crosstown and a walk through miserable times square. Superb.

g
vipgoodfood
New York Area
55 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience3

Very disappointing. Have been there a number of times before and always enjoyed our meals. Brought some friends this time and was surprised at how mediocre the food was. The clams in the linguini were too big and way overcooked and quite tough. The fritto mixto was also overdone and rather over-breaded. I must say that the wine they recommended was quite good.

PW
vipPattiW
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent pre theater but unlike most pre theater
Esca can be a destination on its own merits.
Could easily make a meal of the many crudo offered.
Service was professional and friendly.

P
vipPhoodphatty
New York Area
49 reviews