Caffè Storico, New-York Historical Society
Overlooking Central Park and bathed in warm, contemporary design elements like white-marble tables and butter-yellow banquettes, Caffè Storico, New-York Historical Society’s hidden gem, is anything but stuffy. The 74-seat Upper West Side restaurant offers up cicchetti (inspired by the small snacks served at local bars in Venice), as well as housemade Northern Italian fare, such as arancini risotto, hand-rolled garganelli pasta and pappardelle with duck ragù and shaved chocolate. Led by restaurateur Stephen Starr and Philadelphia-born chef Jim Burke, a James Beard–award nominee and Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chef in 2008, dinner prepared at Caffè Storico promises a break from the ordinary. 170 Central Park W.; 212-485-9211; nyhistory.org.