Porsena

4.7
502 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 502 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently wonderful!

V
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Great food and service, but a very loud room. Prices reasonable.

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

nice style, good food, will go again , their pasta is a little special different from most Italian restaurant, which I enjoyed it very much.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

we were seated in an alcove near thefront window and door and away from the general sounds of restaurant diners. our server was very knowledgeable and attentive, the food was delicious, especially the pasta dishes for obvious reasons. everyone enjoyed the choices we ordered while enjoying conversations together.

OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been here 4 times and it gets better every time

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

It was a perfect evening and location for a family reunion of friends who have not seen each other in years. Thank you!

FP
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing bartender! Walked us through the menu. Found the perfect wines. Excellent food and wine!

RN
New York Area
33 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Porsena is relaxed and comfortable with a really delicious and inventive menu.

LA
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

We had to ask the hostess for our server every time we needed to order. Appetizers were fine, but underwhelmed with the entire meal, especially as the menu was so promising.

SS
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this restaurant. It was recommended by my sister and I met a friend who knows tons of nyc restaurants. We both loved the atmosphere, the food, the service. Will definitely be going back when I’m in the city.

y
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

one of the best pasta places in nyc. friendly and knowledgeable staff
guided me to a great white wine that was reasonably priced.

NF
New York Area
65 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

When Porsena is full, around 7:30/8pm, the chatter from the other diners becomes annoying, almost irritating. The food is delicious, but the racket can make a meal disappointing.

M
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I loved Porsena and would have given it 5 stars all around but their A/C was not working and it was very hot. To their credit they called us to warn us but we had already left for the restaurant. They did give us a complimentary delicious dessert.

OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Very good food, but it was very hot inside the restaurant due to the weak A/C and heat outside, which made it uncomfortable to enjoy ourselves. Would definitely go back (and rate higher) if it was cooler weather.

WK
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite Italian restaurant in NYC! Feels like a place you would find unexpectedly on a side street in Florence and keep going back to.

FS
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Loved those “theme” dinner nights ! Basque night was divine !!!

LB
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an incredible time at Porsena--the food was heavenly, the service was lovely--we weren't rushed, had a leisurely, relaxed time, and have not had authentic Roman & Umbrian cuisine anywhere this good outside of Italy. I will be returning frequently!

JW
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sophisticated yet cozy and casual, this is the embodiment of a Village Italian restaurant. Food was heavenly and perfectly prepared. We were not extremely hungry, so we just had starters and pasta. Can't wait to savor a main dish next time. It's obvious that the chef and the establishment know exactly what they're doing. I'll be back.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always, excellent. Totally consistent.

JE
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I am always impressed by Porsena. We were a large table and they accommodated us graciously. The food is consistently outstanding. The friends I brought enjoyed themselves immensely and commented repeatedly that they would be sure to return. An exceptional value.

AD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place; ambience. Love the little window seat. TBH we came for the refugee food festival with Syrian Chef Diaa. It was excellent. Will return to try the Italian menu.

o
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Fantastic pastas

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t
New York Area
34 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Don't miss their weekly Tuesday prix-fixe menu highlighting one of the regions of Italy. Keeps me coming back for more!

m
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Authentic, traditional Italian, perfectly sized portions, very fairly priced. The perfect spot if you're missing Tuscany.

WA
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was SO flavorful and unique, but not crazy off the wheels either. Nice and quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Sat right in the front window with my family which was nice. Waiter appeared pretty intoxicated (slurry, alcohol smell), but was perfectly nice and didn't mess our orders up or drop anything! Would definitely recommend and go back!

OT
Toronto
5 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an amazing meal at Porsena after the Blue Man Group. Exceptional service and great atmosphere. Highlights were the Ceasar salad and Prosciutto appetizer. Also enjoyed the Ravioli! Thank you for a great meal!

J
Austin
11 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved the food, wine choices, staff and ambience! Highly recommend!

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent experience. Great food. But the acoustics in the dining room need to be fixed. The design was quite nice but the noise was magnified by the design.
The bar area does not suffer from this issue.
Overall, I love the restaurant.

ES
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Extremely underrated place in the East Village! Been here several times and always fantastic! They also change the menu so there’s always something great to try - can’t say enough good things! A favorite!

d
Dallas
12 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious pasta, great service and I loved the goat’s milk cheesecake!! We go every time we go to NYC.

RB
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Burrata appetizer and lamb sausage pasta were delicious!

RL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food, service and wine list at Porsena are all fantastic. It is the increasingly rare NYC restaurant where one can have a truly excellent meal in a casual setting. The quality of both the ingredients and the cooking is such that no matter what we order, we are guaranteed a delicious dish. We have been going to this restaurant for years and we are pretty fussy gourmands. We regularly eat at the best restaurants throughout the city for both business and pleasure, and find ourselves returning repeatedly to Porsena. Highly, highly recommend.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic dinner. The table was not ready, but we were able to comfortably sit at a high top until the host gave us a very large table that was by the window. It was lovely food and company.

JR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Great place before or after a show at the Public Theater

EA
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A superlative and delicious meal, created by people who truly care about the food they produce. Delicious, warm, welcoming environment.

SG
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Italian food that impresses Italians when they get off the plane from Napoli. Don't sleep on this cute little spot in favor of something flashier or chain. This is Italian food as it should be, with a seasonal menu based on what's freshest. Save the Olive garden for the in-laws you hate, this is where you take the mistress...

k
New York Area
50 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The staff is always welcoming, the service very good and the food tasty! We often enjoy sitting at the bar for dinner - great bartenders make us feel welcome. They have a good and fairly priced wine list. This is a neighborhood gem!

NF
New York Area
65 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Porsena is reliable. You can count on a good meal and audible conversation, a combo nearly extinct in New York City.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Music was really bad/loud at one point but It was kinda funny

EV
New York Area
282 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow, this is one of those slightly off-the-beaten track places we really need to keep on our radar. A wonderful menu, with great options for appetizers, pastas and main courses. Friendly and helpful service. Every bite was delicious, and the portions were more than adequate. Delicious snap pea salad stood out among our appetizers, and both the prom tenderloin main and the garlic sausage and wilted greens pasta were superb.

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