Esca

4.3
4981 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Italian
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.
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Italian, Seafood
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Lunch:

Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm

Dinner:

Monday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 4:30pm to 10pm
Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:30pm
Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(212) 564-7272
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Business Casual
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
David Pasternack
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
9th Avenue
icon/ic_public_transitCreated with Sketch.
Public transit
Subway to 42nd Street - Times Square
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wine

Private Dining

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

Specials

Instantly increase your points with dining rewards

See availability for bonus point tables

Sun 9:30PM - 11:15PM
Mon - Sat 10:00PM - 11:15PM

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
7.6

Year after year, Esca remains in the conversation of the NYC elite. It’s always jam packed, mostly with the business and commuter crowd.

Ratings 7.5-8.0:These are restaurants that are reliable, tasty, and particularly good for whatever we have deemed them “Perfect For.” Hit up a 7.7 for Date Night with confidence, as long as you don’t need the restaurant to be the most interesting thing that happens that night.
What 4981 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
TB
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 2

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.

Report
Helpful
GD
New York Area
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

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!!

Report
Helpful
GR
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Seated us 20 min after reservation time, waitress great, food overpriced

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Service was terrible.,Almost missed Theater

Report
Helpful
S
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

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.

Report
Helpful
HB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!!

Report
Helpful
g
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

David the bartender was great and so was Anthony the waiter.

Food was very good.

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

The wonderful cuisine and attentive service was often overshadowed by the unnecessarily crowded seating and uncomfortable noise level.

Report
Helpful
VB
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 1

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.

Report
Helpful
OT
New Orleans
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

Report
Helpful
TC
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

Report
Helpful
A
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
p
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

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.

Report
Helpful
R
New York Area
91 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently excellent - Chef David Pasternack is, without question a master of cuisine. Impeccable food, service and wine selections. Great location. Can’t be beat!

Report
Helpful
M
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely food and great service. Would definitely visit again.

Report
Helpful
DB
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous!! Great food, service and drinks!! Pleasure dining here pre-theatre!

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great ambience and superior service. Could get more bang for your buck in terms of the food itself.

Report
Helpful
VS
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

very nice server and great food. hard to spot from street. booth seating near front door not stable

Report
Helpful
t
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
AL
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.
Thank you!

Report
Helpful
EW
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

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.

Report
Helpful
BC
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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!

Report
Helpful
AH
London
2 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 2

Food was over salted and music so loud everyone was shouting on each table to be heard.

Not a great experience

Report
Helpful
O
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

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.

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
RO
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

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.

Report
Helpful
M
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
m
Los Angeles
46 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

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.

Report
Helpful
F
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

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.

Report
Helpful
N
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Good Italian for reasonable price. Ideal for pre and post Broadway shows.

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! Great waiter!! Wonderful date for us!!

Report
Helpful
J
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was cooked to perfection and the service was above and beyond.

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 2

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.

Report
Helpful
LD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love ESCA! Food is great!

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Service just ok. Food has been better in past

Report
Helpful
OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and great service. We will definitely go back!

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service!

Report
Helpful
EK
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good seafood italian restaurant
If you like authentic italian , its a must try

Report
Helpful
EP
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
125