These appealingly sleek wine bars are like bits of modern Milan beamed wholesale into two distinctive Manhattan hoods. The glossy, warmly lit interiors, with back bar walls lined with wine bottles, are filled with perch-friendly stools (the larger Chelsea branch has a few tables, too) on which pretty people mingle and quaff glasses of Prosecco. Veloce offers dozens of well-priced, unusual vintages by the glass or the bottle, as well as quirkier refreshments including chamomile-infused grappa. When hunger kicks in, nibble on well-made panini and stuzzichini (Italian tapas) from the equally well crafted bar menu.
Tip: Don't be afraid to grill the dapper, comely, and chatty bartenders—some of the city’s finest—for recommendations.
Additional Location: 176 7th Avenue at 20th Street, Chelsea, New York; (212) 629-5300
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.