Esca

4.2
5150 reviews
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$30 and under
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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.
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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 5150 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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B
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 8 hours ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Not the best neighborhood but good and service very good as always. Lunchtime was very quiet but that was good for us as it was a business lunch.

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j
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always reliable for good food & wine . Will go back soon.

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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 4

The food was very salty. The staff were attentive and the ambiance was pleasant.

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C
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is as good as Esca's has ever been, which is high praise indeed. The service was wonderful -- even better than its been in recent years (which is saying a lot). Other than the totally unnecessary broadcasting of anonymous music -- a terrible habit among upscale restaurants, since no one really want to listen to it, and it makes conversation difficult -- Esca is superb and flawless.

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D
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Terrible service , food was below average, absolutely NO ambiance ( squeezed us in at a tiny table in the corner )

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JM
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Their focus on the freshest seafood with an Italian flair is a nice change to the same old high-end NYC Italian eateries. The cost is up there, but you do get what you pay for (and it is Manhattan, after all).

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F
Tahoe
30 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food and service

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JD
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Branzino for two was perhaps the best prepared fish I have ever eaten. Service was excellent. Appetizer and wine were both outstanding. (No space left for dessert.)

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MM
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 2

Party of four - three of the four were sickened after dinner from the food - fish was oily and undercooked. Salad served was not enjoyable for two guest and wait staff said that was just what is was. Overpriced. Atmosphere wasn't bad. Felt disappointed for our west coast guests.

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D
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Really unexpected surprise. Had never been. Food was wonderful. Went for lunch. Totally a great deal.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was excellent and service was even better. They know what they are doing and it shows.

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LR
Philadelphia
25 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, attentive service in nice atmosphere not far from theater district but away from the crowds. We really enjoyed all of our dishes--grilled octopus appetizer, two seafood pastas and lovely lemon cake. New York prices but there was some lagniappe--chef provided small appetizer and dessert, wine by glass is quartile, etc.

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s
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just a wonderful pre theatre meal. First impression when we arrived at 545...the music, ranging from the Dead to Simon and Garfunkel to Johnny Cash...just perfect, the soundtrack of our lives. Comfortable corner table. Service attentive if a little strange - a number of people were assisting us at different points. Our server (Kate, I believe) was warm and attended to all our questions. As for the food...pretty perfect. Great breads including a killer focaccia. Nice little amuse bouche- a tasty white bean bruschetta. My wife had the sea urchin crudo app and the pesce azzurri ( four fish selection) for her main. I had the grilled octopus appetizer (giant white beans and Corona lemon) and a very briny, perfectly cooked linguini with pancetta, hot pepper, and a generous clam medley. All wonderful. We shared two desserts, a special crostata with marscapone cream and a first class lemon torte. Leisurely paced, yet designed to get us out the door and theatre bound by 630. We look forward to a return visit in the near future.

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a
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

ususual mix of flavors and food. They all work! Definitely a place to try something you havent had.

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JM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The Crudos and the Linguine with clams were absolutely sensational...the service and the wine were also great....even a small thing like a little scoop of pomegranate sorbet was made heavenly by the addition of just a bit of roasted bread crumbs to the plate....simple and totally sensational...The one disappointment was the calamari stuffed with black rice.....Calamari too big and black rice too heavy for the dish....overall a wonderful meal...I plan to return several time before returning to Hawaii


Josh Mazess

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AH
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Fabulous food and friendly front of house staff.
Waiting staff border on over-attentive.

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LM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Like Always Food was over the top Fantastic!
As well as everything else

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f
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Food was delicious (except we did not like the sea urchin), the service was extremely attentive and friendly and the atmosphere was subdued and comfortable. I have been to Esca several times and will continue to dine here despite the somewhat pricey tab.

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LS
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The fish was excellent; the service professional. Drinks were overpriced even by Manhattan standards.

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KW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was phenomenal and the service impeccable. Can't wait to return.

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AC
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

One of the best places in NY and the best place in Hells Kitchen for sure. Excellent service and food every time.

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LR
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

Extensive fish menu from which all 4 of us chose. My zuppa de pesce was bland, limited variety of sea food, did not include pasta and was overpriced. Other dishes were tasteless, not particularly well presented, and small-portioned, and they were the waiter's recommendations. Restaurant is well appointed, all staff were professional and knowledgeable, and location is ideal for pre-theater, but no pre-theater menu. Would not recommend to friends.

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DS
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing seafood restaurant. The service and the food was incredible. The waiter made sure to ask if we had a time frame (to see a show) and was very accommodating to ensure we had aplenty of time.

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PT
New York Area
34 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 3

Has lost a little of it's buzz, but the food is solid. They do fish well. Waiters could lose a little of their affection in that everyone is now doing what they started, and it is time to move on. The upset on the wine is embarrassing when they have many good bottles at reasonable prices. A little bit of a turn off in that you are eating in their restaurant and paying, yet the waiters are lecturing you. With that being said the food is still very good. The world has caught up to Esca, but they still do it well

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n
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I haven’t been to Esca in a awhile and I wasn’t pressed. The food was generally mediocre and overpriced. Not at the standard that I’ve had previously . I will not be rushing back.

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LW
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a lovely post-theatre dinner, and they were very accommodating given the play ran very late and we barely made it in as the kitchen was closing. Crudo was amazing, especially the sea urchin. Only complaint is that my glass of Bastianich Rosato was ridiculously overpriced.

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EJ
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We both had seafood and the fish was done to perfection. Could not have asked for a better dining experience. Service wonderful. Wine perfect. What else is there to say?

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OT
Mississippi
14 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We live is Mississippi and this was our fourth visit to Esca. It may be my favorite restaurant in NYC. I always get the branzino in salt and it is always so good. I love their selection of wine as well.

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M
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 1

WORST EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD AT A RESTAURANT. I WILL NEVER BE BACK NOR TAKE CLIENTS AGAIN

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B
Dallas
7 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 1

Frankly disappointed. It was a special B Day. We were put in a busy hallway last table next to kitchen and bathrooms. Very noisy and cramped. I had indicated a BD celebration both in my OT request and over phone when they called to confirm. They also know we had a play at 8:00pm. When I asked if we could be moved I was told would take 20 min. And that the table in main dining room was being save.md for special guests of the chef. It was my 60th and was made to feel very unspecial. The food which was good but not great took a long time between courses making the last 30-49 min tense and rushed. I will never go back to this pretentious place. Kinda ruined what should have been a wonderful Birthday experience

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AA
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Birthday dinner sadly disappointing. Two of the four diners ordered a seafood/buckwheat polenta dish that was just unacceptable. Seafood in brown goop (Was that polenta? Was it cooked?). A mess to eat. Would have sent the dish back but rushing off to theatre.
Cocktail also very disappointing--bland and uninteresting.
Very pricey. Two of us left hungry.

I felt it was necessary to share our experience with the establishment and wrote an email the next day.
Got no response back.
Will not return.

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NR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Food has become heavy and predictable, mediocre

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k
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dined at Esca for a quick dinner pre-theater on a snowy Wednesday night. There were three of us. We shared two delicious pastas, one being the gnocchi. My friend and I had the dover sole for 2 and I can't remember what my other friend had but he loved it. We had an amazing wine from Sicily that was highly recommended by the sommelier. I am always looking for lighter to medium weight reds that work well with fish and poultry and this one was perfect. The ambience is very warm, cozy yet sophisticated. We almost didn't want to leave as it was the perfect place to be during a snowstorm but alas we had theater to attend.

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CW
Raleigh
33 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great food and service. Overpriced, but it’s New York City

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JT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

Disappointing. The raw fish cruder was excellent and worth the price. The artichoke, arugula and sheep’s milk cheese was ok. The artichoke were tiny pieces. The sheep’s milk was a bit heavily applied, and the arugula was radicchio.

The main course - crispy sole - was small, but priced to be $42 for one or two people. (When The bill came, I was charged $84! This entree was listed with two others in a box. Two of them had the price listed “PP” - per person. The crispy sole was not. After raising my issue with the waiter, he first argued then got the price for the item reduced to $42. I noted to the waiter that the elderly couple next to us had the same entree and were probably charged double what the expected. The waiter said they were charged the “right” price. Really?!

The final disappointment were the vegetables (golden beets, cabbage and Fennel. Root vegetables cooked excessively, pale, and over salted. Probably cooked early that afternoon. A restaurant like Esce should have fresh, colorful vegetables that are crisply prepared.

Overall it was disappointing. I was so looking forward to dinner there. I was last there three years ago, and it is unlikely I’ll return again that quickly.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Our server was very attentive especially since we told him we had early theater plans. Food was and has always been wonderful.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best meals and experiences I have ever had

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ME
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 4

Food did not taste good. Spagetti clam to salty- inedible. Calimari appetized uncooked

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GD
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We had a nice meal. Everything was well prepared. Prices just seemed a little high ($28 glass white wine). A little bit of a rocky start after asking for dressing on the side for a garden salad. The waiter was reluctant as he told us that this would cause tremendous upset the chef. Highlight was freshly shaved horseradish on delicious oysters, grilled fish and sumptuous roasted potatoes.

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J
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent Italian fish cuisine. Great traditional ambiance

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