It’s pretty safe to say that Il Buco dominates the Noho dining scene. Considering its ongoing hype and popularity, it’s hard to believe this iconic Italian restaurant has been a New York City staple for over 20 years! Along with L’Artusi, Il Buco is always my go-to for a great Italian meal with an authentic New York vibe.
Il Buco is located on cobblestoned Bond street, in what is one of the most charming dining spaces in Manhattan. The Italian farmhouse-inspired restaurant has a warm, rustic-chic decor unlike anywhere else in the city, that will make you feel like you’re dining in a Tuscan cottage. But the reality is this place is as New York as it gets, in a landmark building that used to house a historical antique shop and a 2-century old cellar where Mr. Edgar Allen Poe himself was a regular!
Make a request to sit in the downstairs cellar when you book your table!
Although Il Buco is always packed and buzzing, everything from the surroundings, the lighting to the vibe, sets the mood for a cozy and intimate dining experience. Despite the sophisticated setting, the overall atmosphere is casual and relaxed. Il Buco is always a win for any type of occasion or crowd, but it’s first and foremost the perfect date spot! The main dining room has a lively scene and is where most of the action happens. You might feel a bit cramped if you’re sitting at one of their communal tables, but comfortably intimate nevertheless. For the ultimate dining experience, the downstairs cellar is among the most seductive and crazy romantic rooms in the city, beautifully designed and filled with wines up and down the walls. This space is most often reserved for private parties (I might or might not have fantasized about having my rehearsal dinner here one day… ) but in case you’re lucky, make a request to sit downstairs when you book your table. If you’re on a late-night date, a post-dessert snog in this magical room is almost a guarantee! 😉
As for the food, you can never go wrong with a meal at Il Buco. Its menu is famed for its authentic Italian fare, focusing on classic recipes from Umbria. However, the various Mediterranean flavors make me want to refer to the cuisine as Spanish-Italian instead. The Barcelona-native chef Roger Martinez (who’s a very cool hombre by the way), includes notable Spanish influences in many of his dishes. The appetizer menu is seasonal, and the entrees and pasta dishes change daily. No meal at Il Buco is complete without their signature Cavolonero (a pioneer of the kale craze way back when!), a pasta dish (their risotto is always spot-on as well) and of course vino from their extensive wine list.
To add to the stellar dining experience, the top-grade waitstaff should not go unapplauded. Let me insist by saying that the service is always top notch: friendly, accommodating and personal, without a glimpse of pretension.
Il Buco has held a safe spot in every New Yorker’s food bucket list for over two decades without ever losing its authenticity. Although I consider it as more of a cozy dinner spot, lunch at Il Buco is just as great, especially in their cute outdoor street-side tables during warmer months. Reservations are highly recommended.
Open for lunch and dinner:
Lunch: Mon-Sat 12:00pm-4:00pm
Late afternoon: Mon-Sat 4:00pm-6:00pm
Dinner: Mon-Thurs 6:00pm-11:00pm / Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12:00am / Sun 5:00pm-10:30pm
Also check out Il Buco‘s more casual outpost Il Buco Alimentari & Vinera!