Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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.
New York, NY 10036
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Monday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday: 4:30pm - 11:00pm
Wednesday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:30pm
Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:30pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
Subway to 42nd Street - Times Square
Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wine
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).
Esca Ratings and Reviews
Have been to Esca many times over the years and the food is always outstanding. Noticed this time that the noise level has increased and the service started slow. One tip - it’s important to get drinks in hand quickly. If you do guests will be much more forgiving of slow service or other shortcomings. That said, the fare was terrific, especially the crudo tasting dish.
Another wonderful dinner at Esca. The array of beautiful fish and shellfish was fabulous. I thought the restaurant would have a candle and a birthday slice of cake but they did not. Note: prepare your own. Nevertheless the food is fabulous and we loved every bite.
I was very disappointed in ESCA. We'd thought with both Mario Batali and Lydia Bastianich backing it that it should be lovely. We ordered the seafood platter as we love seafood. This was just a mix of fried mishmash that you couldn't tell what you were eating, it all tasted alike and not at all good. I'd thought this was poor diner food. It desperately needed something to perk it up, the green, who knows what it was we weren't told, cup of something tasted nasty. I could accept the disappointing food IF the staff wasn't so creepy. The managers and bus boys hovered over everyone waiting for someone to just put their fork down so they could scoop up their dish. Talk about wanting to 'turn tables', sad. The tables were all bunched up with no decent path to the restrooms and when we finally wound our way around, they were on one side of the kitchen/storage area and we had to single file along a set of chairs stored there. Again, not a nice ambiance, not good food, and creepy service.
Strong fishy smell when entering. We were so crammed in my daughter couldn't get out. She needed to use rest room and didn't want to make other tables get up to let her out. We rushed thru dinner, no dessert. Cold bread and mediocre food. Other Batalli restaurants are much better. Pricey and not worth it.
Superb food from appetizer to main entree. We were extremely well taken care of while celebrating a birthday. The servers were very friendly and made sure everything was going well for us. The restaurant is a small, intimate one perfect for celebrating the birthday. We had such a wonderful and would again love to visit this restaurant upon visiting New York City again. Highly recommended.
This is a restaurant for seafood lovers only. Unique menu, not a diverse menu at all!!! Unfortunately I didn’t look at the menu prior to making reservations which is my fault. We had gnocchi bc that was the only non seafood option, and it was very pricey and lacked flavor!
I never wrote these reviews but this was the worst restaurant I've been to in a long time. So jam packed that i couldn't tell you about the decor. Our throats were sore from screaming just to be heard during dinner.
The oysters were rancid and immediately returned. I give the service 3 stars because the waiter took them back without argument.
Both seafood pasta dishes were overcooked and fishy and downright nasty smelling. We ate as much as we could because we were so hungry at this point and couldn't return everything! The fried seafood platter was thickly breaded and totally tasteless. The clear sauce and the green sauce were both not to our liking. We asked for marinara and heavily salted it for taste. Even the marinara which took 14 minutes to arrive was bad.
The wine was fine.
Anyway over $400 later we went to our play and then went out to eat again since we were so hungry.
When your waiter needs to explain half the menu to you then you might have a problem. When they seat you so close to the next table that it is really awkward then you might have a problem. When you are seated so close to the bar that you have to endure a 20 minute diatribe about Bitcoin from some drunk businessman then you have a problem. And when your main course of seafood is really just a bunch of deep fried fish (and not even that good) then you just wasted a lot of money also... This could be a nice place but it didn't work the night I was there....
Our first time at this restaurant . We met friends pre theatre on a Tuesday evening. The staff was very nice. We were seated next to two tables that were occupied but the other empty tables soon filled so that did not matter. Our waiter was attentive and did inquire as to our evening plans so getting out on time was not a problem. I enjoyed the appetizers, which were very good. We had the Octopus and the calamari selections. The breads offered were both very good. Two of us shared the Bronzino and it was quite good and a nice size portion. The ladies both had pasta dishes and both felt that there could have been more seafood presented in their individual selections. The dishes were good but a little sparse. We did not have time for desert due to time constraints but were all full to the extent that we would probably not have ordered desert if time were not a factor. I would go back and give them another chance.
When we sat down for our 5:30 reservation, our waiter asked if we had theatre plans after our meal. I told him yes, fully expecting that we would have plenty of time for a pleasant meal. WRONG. As we waited nearly an hour (55 min to be exact) for our appetizers to be served, we watched adjacent tables eat multiple courses. The mains took until 7pm to arrive. We felt rushed and ignored. Our server was largely absentee. He also took forever to have the glass of wine my husband ordered sent to our table, so he didn't even really have time for a second glass. It was also my husband's 50th birthday so we briefly wondered if we should even try for dessert. I told our server we had to leave in 15 minutes so what did he recommend. He said no problem, and then our dessert didn't arrive until we pretty much had to leave. What should have been a great meal was marred by terrible service. We ended up running to the theatre and making it with two minutes to spare. Food-wise, we liked the bluefin pastrami, the pulipo, and tuna prosciutto. The lobster spaghetti was tasty but not spectacular. The frito misto would have been better as a smaller app but a waste as an entree. The dessert we got was slapped together and altogether unremarkable. The tables are pretty close together, to the point where the table had to be shifted anytime we had to get in or out. The experience as a whole was truly disappointing for a first visit we had been looking forward to for a while. We dine at many fine restaurants in this city, and this was completely lackluster. I would never go back to Esca at my volition nor will I recommend it.
Although restaurant was highly rated and I had been to other Mario Batalii restaurants and loved the experience, Esca was disappointing. We were seated at a table that was crammed into a corner, every time wait staff went by they bumped into my chair. Also wooden flooring would creak under my seat when someone walked by. Service was very slow, often seemed like due to our location we were forgotten. The best part of meal was the Polipo, grilled octopus and corona bean antipasti, flavor was excellent. Also the freshly made focaccia bread was warm and flavorful. Our main course, whole Black Sea bass with olives, was lacking in flavor and cool by the time it was served. The accompanying Verdue Mista was too salty. Dessert, almond gelato was a generous potion and delicious. Overall, the experience was not what I expected for the price. Ambiance was ok, seating area was too close and crowded.
Our waiter and maitre' d were both excellent - warm and professional as well as the server. The setting is warm and upscale cozy. The problem is the way overpricing and some of our food items. The capellini with rock shrimp was perfectly cooked and the pasta with lobster tasty and also perfectly prepared. The $35 Zuppa de Pesce was so bad we had to send it back. (our waiter was gracious about the return and quick to offer us a replacement.) The mussels were rubbery and the fish itself looked like leftover scraps from other meals. Hardly anything but the briney awful tasting broth. It wasn't bad - it was surprisingly bad. The waiter had told us (warned us) that the soup was "oceanic" but we didn't expect that to mean it was the bottom of the ocean. One of our party ordered the pricey gnocchi and although the ingredients on the menu sounded delicious - it was mushy and bland. You know something isn't good when the portion isn't big and there are still leftovers. Perhaps the prix fixe meals are the way to go...$85 per person without wine...$145 with...but any way you add it up, Esca is way overpriced without anything rating that: This was worth it! - feeling.
Food was disappointing given its ratings: the Spaghetti Neri had too much chili, blanketing the delicate flavor of the sepia, the branzino was very good but the broccoli side dish turned out to be an unidentifiable green mass (spinach or kelp) drowned in salt. Very good winelist!
Worst were two tables that confused this restaurant with a rowdy sportsbar with no attempt made by the manager that their behavior spoilt all other diners‘ experience.
Terrible disappointment. We ate here a year ago and loved it. This year they put us in a little table between the bar and the kitchen. Table was clearly an afterthought. Food was fine but it is impossible to enjoy with waiters running by from the kitchen. Then there was a crowd of people yelling behind out table who were drinking at the bar. Experience was miserable. We just will not bother to go back. Too bad
I had not dined at Esca in quite a while and was anxious to return. We had our reservation for early evening pre-theater. The food was excellent. The wine list was okay. We shared a salad and then my companion had very tasty salmon and I greatly enjoyed the pumpkin ravioli. However, the noise level was nearly deafening. Everyone in our vicinity was shouting during their meals to be heard across the table. It was a cacophony and the opposite of a relaxing meal. Energetic does not begin to describe the noise level. When we complained we were told to ask for another room next time and they were pretty snotty about it. I, unfortunately, would not trust them on this and will not return.
The food is good in general but the service is terrible. The ravioli came out burnt black with crispy edges so we had to send it back. The hostess was rude, the server did not bring us food menus for 10 minutes even after telling him that we had a Broadway show to attend in an hour. They sat us at a table next to a large plant that was shedding leaves on the table and on to our plates of food. When I showed one of the managers that the plant was shedding leaves on to our plates, he said “oh no”’and walked away without doing anything.
Except for the music, which just adds to the noise, ESCA is one of my favorites. Great food, nice ambiance, close to the theater, Nico the Maitre D is great. Not sure why they have music on. Adds nothing to the dinner but noise on top of noise. Love this place
Arrived at 7:15 with a party of three people. Didn’t get served our appetizers until 8:30 and main course until 9:15. Fish dish was extremely oversalted and had an extremely fishy odor and flavor. Didn’t appear to be fresh. Returned that for another main dish. It had the same exact problem.
Very good quality food and broad wine list . We were given a table near the kitchens on our own despite several empty tables in the main area.The blasting Air conditioning made our red wine turn cold despite asking to turn it off twice, it was switched back on on both occasions. Waiters brought us the cheque without us asking for it and while having coffee. Almost total lack of attention from the waiting staff.
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