Acqua, New York
Situated off the beaten path (literally, it's in an alley off of a cobblestone street in Peck Slip), Acqua serves up authentic Italian cuisine and wines to the South Street Seaport area. Sicilian-born chef Sebastiano Cappitta has created a menu of simple, fresh food that includes options like tuna tartare, homemade spinach gnocchi, Tuscan-style grilled sirloin, and thin-crust pizzas from the wood-burning oven. Brick walls and a palette of muted oranges combine with dim lighting to create a warm, modern ambiance accented on summer nights by a breeze through large, open doors. Daily specials often feature fresh seafood, and the dessert menu is almost as extensive as the regular menu with homemade items like tiramisu and chocolate cake.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.