In this city, restaurants come and go faster than you can say "sustainable locavore burger." And even though there are great new additions to the culinary landscape popping up every week, you've gotta give kudos to anyone who can stick it out for over a year. With that in mind, we bring you Still Got It, our tribute to establishments that continue to serve mouthwatering meals and drinks long after the buzz has faded—or if the lingering hype is still justified.
Mammoth Mario Batali food emporium Eataly has been holding down the Italian cuisine fort over in Flatiron/Gramercy for a few years now. But if you're looking to avoid tourists and $18 antipasti, you'll do better at low-key eatery Lamarca, which has been serving homemade pasta dishes in the neighborhood for the better part of a decade.
Lamarca is a small operation, and they're only open on weekdays from noon to 10 p.m. But when they are open, they'll give you a real bang for your buck. Pasta dishes run $15-$17.50 ($12-$15.50 for lunch), and come complete with a starter salad and a fresh roll with butter. And they've got a litany of lunch and dinner options for you to choose from. The Orecchiette All' Arrabbiata ($15) is a spicy offering of ear-shaped pasta buried in tomato sauce, prosciutto, onion and chili pepper. The paglia e feino con proscuitto ($15) is another favorite, a creamy sauce dotted with prosciutto and tossed over a bed of green and white flat pasta. And the garlicky farfalle primavera ($15) is a tasty alternative to the meat dishes, made with fresh vegetables and a light tomato cream sauce.
Lamarca also offers some heavier dishes, like chicken parmigiana ($17.50) and calamari over linguine ($17.50). But simple homemade pasta is what they do best here, so you're better off asking your waiter about the fresh pasta dishes on the menu before diving into something more complicated. Another bonus: like a ristorante in Rome, Lamarca offers super cheap glasses and under $20 bottles of wine, all of which pair well with any tomato-or-white-wine-drenched pasta dish. Your stomach and wallet will thank you.
Lamarca is located at 161 East 22nd Street between Lexington and 3rd Aves in Gramercy (212-674-6363). They do take credit cards, but gratuity is cash-only.