Even after only being open since October, Dell'Anima, the brainchild of some Babbo and Del Posto alums, is already tough to get into. Sure, it's partially because it's a small space, with seating for just over forty, but it's also due to the cozy, warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and for the delicious rustic Italian fare.


Grab yourself one of the six seats in the open kitchen and watch Chef Gabriel Thompson and his team at work, creating dishes like a perfectly tender grilled octopus with radicchio and lemony rice beans, spicy chicken “al diavolo,” and seared tuna perched atop pan-roasted artichokes, and a hearty braised boar, prepared in a "medieval" style with star anise and cocoa in the mix, with a creamy polenta. The pastas are all hand prepared daily in-house -- whatever isn't used during service becomes the staff meal. They are wrapped in individual portions and prepared to order -- a tagliatelle is bathed with a hearty bolognese, while a squid ink pasta is topped with a calamari ragu.

If you're looking for a wine suggestion, Joe Campanale, the General Manager, is more than happy to help you choose from the unique Italian wine list. His sommelier background means that although you might want a sparking wine to go with the grilled sweetbreads, you won't find your typical prosecco on the list, but instead you'll be treated to a white lambrusco (we didn't even know this existed before our first visit).

Dell'Anima is open seven days per week and offers aperitivo, or bar snacks starting at 4 PM, to go along with house cocktails designed by Dale Degroff. They're open late, until 2 a.m. in case you find it too busy during traditional dinner hours. Dell’Anima, 38 Eighth Avenue near Jane Street, Greenwich Village; (212) 366-6633