Porsena

4.4
445 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Just a few blocks from Astor Place, Porsena is a trattoria in the convivial Italian tradition where friends and neighbors gather along with tourists and passers-by. Chef Sara Jenkins has drawn on memories of her Tuscan and Roman childhood to create a pasta-centric menu featuring Italy’s finest artisanal pastas, served with traditional and imaginative sauces, as well as a series of tasty antipasti and hearty main courses. Modeled after the simple restaurants in Italy that serve as neighborhood dining rooms, the menu focuses on a timeless list of classic Italian dishes such as maccheroncini al ragu and spaghetti con le vongole. Porsena is just the kind of colorful neighborhood restaurant you might be thrilled to find in the narrow back streets of Rome or Florence.
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What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
7.8

Porsena has never been about the ambiance – it’s always been about the pasta. And this is still pasta that’s worth serious praise.

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 445 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.2
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
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MK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Great aesthetic. Salad was divine. And tasty wine.

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OT
New York Area
251 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Attractive restaurant and bar. Polite staff. Kitchen is subtle with salt and pepper, making for light and natural flavors. Portions are reasonable. Pork loin was filling and tender. Vegetables and smashed potatoes were fresh and natural. No heavy sauces or cream.

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K
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Good appetizers, good dessert but when it came to dinner, my pasta entree was disappointing. The
portion was small and not very good. $26 for a small bowl of pasta. Outrageous !!!
Plus the waiters never came to the table to offer any pepper or cheese. I so wanted to love this place but I didn't.

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AD
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Their goal of being a neighborhood place should be met, cuz they're awesome. Friendly staff who've worked there a long time (always a good sign), and DELICIOUS food. They're smart about what they serve and how. Warm atmosphere, not ostentatious, decent noise level. Please go.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice place. Wish the portions were a bit bigger. Was not full when I left. Otherwise very nice experience. Great wines too!!!

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O
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Food was fantastic!!!

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

This was one of the most outstanding Italian meals I've had in New York. The wilted escarole and charred octopus appetizers were the perfect start to a meal of dense, chewy pastas coated in intense flavors. Unreal.

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O
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Great homemade pasta with creative ingredients The sauce was delicate. Nothing overdone. Had really great crudo too

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was outstanding. Service was excellent too. We’ll be back.

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DG
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

delicious but a tad noisy. great service by Stephen. Porsena is a gem.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was very good, we just didn’t get enough of it.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Service has declined to the point where it is almost non existent. Add steadily higher prices for half hearted fare for more reasons to search elsewhere for the dinner when Porsena comes to mind.

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SS
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful dining experience with fabulous food. I can’t wait to go back

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LF
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I absolutely adored Porsena! It was exactly as advertised online. It felt like we had just stepped off a busy street in Florence and found this amazing little Osteria. We had such a romantic and delicious time. We are already looking for another date to come back. Thank you for making our Valentine’s dinner so special.

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TA
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The chef cooked the sea bass perfect...its not easy to cook fish with such precision! wife had a pasta dish that was cooked as it should be. no heavy sauses nothing smoothed in gravies clean food that u can taste what u ordered... waiter steve was nice and complements to chefs i think their names are sara & alfredo ...
will be back....

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

Amazing experience, amazing food, amazing ambience.

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OT
New England
5 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 4

Food was great, cute spot.
Very slow service, but we weren’t rushing.

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MB
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

The reviews made us go for this place, but unfortunately the food wasn't at the high standard we thought it was going to be. Both our pasta dishes were pretty bland. Nice enough place but not what we were expecting food wise.

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CM
New York Area
35 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

Server was pleasant interpersonally (on the rare occasions we saw him) but service was absolutely awful. Long waits, very inattentive. Poured wine for one person and plunked down the bottle apparently expecting us to pour the other three glasses. Poured no bottled water at all. Couldn't get his attention to order. Talked over us instead of listening to our questions. One of the entrees was cold. Had to ask for the check four times. It's a shame - relatively cute place with a nice menu but sadly we would not go back

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EV
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Love Porsena. The food is very rich - delicious. Very generous glasses of wine. Scrumptious desserts. To top it off, everyone working there is a charmer. Go!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely incredible experience. Amazing food, beautiful ambiance, excellent service.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fav restaurant in NYC

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k
New York Area
40 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A very nice ever-changing menu - never disappoints! Great friendly service - we always feel welcome and well taken care of. I recommend this place often.

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

I hate to give a bad review but rather unimpressed after a couple of years of not eating there. I work too hard to spend so much on what I was served. Calamari was fresh but over-salted. Pear and quince salad oversweet. Pappardelle should never have left the kitchen. Overcooked and in a sauce that was like salty water with chanterelles. The place was not so busy to justify what I was served. Wine and service were good. I would offer that, given past good experience, it wa simply an off-night for the kitchen.

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SK
Columbus
5 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was AMAZING! Took a while for our entree to arrive and for our plates to be cleared, but the environment and good vibes made up for it. Love this place. Would come back very soon!

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OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Calamari was great, all the salads were delicious. Lasagna was good but papardelle with mushrooms was dry and bland ..salt would have helped. Rigatoni was also bland. Appetizers were better than entrees. Pork chop was good but sad small chop

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P
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

came here for restaurant week and the food and wine was phenomenal. service is impeccable- i was running late for my reservation and the lady on the phone was so accommodating, our waiter was knowledgeable and answered any questions we had as one of us had a gluten allergy. the escarole salad was very refreshing, the scallop crudo with orange👌🏻👌🏻, my pork chop was so good i almost ordered another for dessert🤷🏻‍♀️🙈, and the pannacotta was super fluffy, unlike the usual dense pudding texture. overall an amazing place for a girls get together or a date night, the ambiance is super cute! will definitely be back, this place is now on my backup go-to list 🤗

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E
New York Area
32 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We love this tiny Italian treasure. The food is delicious. The wine list reasonable. The staff attentive. Always reliable and welcoming.

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r
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a fantastic dinner here with the pastas being the stars. The spicy lamb pasta is perfect.

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J
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

We went to this restaurant because it was listed as participating with Restaurant Week on Sunday evening, but when we got there, we were told they did not, but they might be able to offer some of the dishes. Service was spotty at best - inattentive mostly. The food was fine. Wine was good but pricey. Overall we didn't find we got good value because of the overall experience.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

The menu selection was lovely. We enjoyed the Anneloni pasta dish and bruschetta very much. Upon arrival we called as we would be a few minutes late for our reservation. We arrived at 8:12 and were told our table was given away and we had to wait. Normally I would be fine with this but we weren’t apologized to a I received a dirty look from the host. As we were brought to our table, the host through our menus on table and ran away before we got there not even seating us.

When finally seated I went to approach the host to say thank you for accommodated us and I was told I was rude. When I said that our reservation shouldn’t have been given away, she said “I’m the owner and can do what I want”. I replied I was the customer and she continued to harass me. THE CUSTOMER is always right!

Her staff was very nice. She was miserable and I won’t be back.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Service was awful! We didn’t order drinks and were treated like second class after that. We had to ask for bread and extra water. We were celebrating a birthday and there was no recognition of the birthday. I wouldn’t recommend Porsena.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The food was excellent as usual but the service was spotty. We had numerous waiters throughout the evening which resulted in long delays between courses culminating with a long delay before dessert at which point we were running late for the theater.

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R
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal. Porsena has been a favorite “go to” restaurant for awhile. Pastas are the best.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Living up to its reputation , the pasta dishes dishes were top notch. Excellent wine list and service was very acceptable. The seats were very uncomfortable and that is the only negative of the evening.

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KG
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Porsena has been a restaurant to which we keep coming back (for years!). Their food is consistently excellent, fresh ingredients, good wines to compliment any dish. And did I mention that olive oil cake with lemon curd! The servers are attentive and kind. We'll be back!

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n
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Well prepared, authentic Italian cuisine... wide ranging Italian red wines.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent Prix fix for a group of seven.

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OT
Omaha
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good, interesting Italian cuisine.

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J
Tallahassee
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

The food was very expensive compared to the portioning. You would think family style would mean larger and shareable, but here obviously the opposite is true. The server was gruff and unfriendly, however the man who seated us was very pleasant. Lastly, it took 45 minutes for our dishes to come out, even though the restaurant was only half full. It’s alright for a one time visit but I would not go there again

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