Matt Yohalem's intimate neighborhood trattoria is a lively gathering spot for pre-opera-goers and post-gallery-hoppers. Windows overlook busy Marcy Street, a block from the Plaza, and butcher paper covers the tightly spaced tables. You'll always find a half-dozen entrée and starter specials, but devotees swear by Yohalem greatest hits like pumpkin ravioli with toasted pine nuts and a sweet-and-savory brown butter-sage reduction. Don't miss the dessert of chocolate-dipped cannoli stuffed with feathery ricotta.
Tip: Il Piatto's chummy bar is one of the better spots in town to meet locals, and the lengthy Italian wine list helps facilitate conversation.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.