A Chelsea institution that knows the secrets to NYC longevity

By David Farley

Owning and operating a restaurant in New York City is a very risky business—facing plenty of competition and a city full of discriminating eaters, it’s no surprise that 80 percent of restaurants here close within five years of opening. But occasionally you’ll come across a place that not only beats the odds, but buries them. And closing in on its 20th anniversary in business, Bottino in Chelsea is one of those rare exceptions.

So what’s the key to thriving for what amounts to an epoch of multiple generations in New York City years? For this Italian institution on Tenth Avenue, one of the surest clues is their ability to execute the dishes on their Tuscan-accented menu with the kind of verve and zest more typical of a restaurant that’s still only a few months old.

Another clue to Bottino’s success: They don’t give in to trends. You won’t come across pork belly, or kale, or bone marrow on the menu here. Instead, you get simple, flavorful, and well-executed Italian fare with very little fuss. The bruschetta, refreshingly free from of-the-moment toppings (oh, avocado), is more like what you’d get in Siena or San Gimignano: brimming with juicy tomatoes, crisp basil, and deliciously pungent olive oil, all atop a large chunk of country bread.
In larger plates, the orecchiette, laced with wild boar sausage and broccoli rabe and sprinkled with Tuscan pecorino, is emboldened by a garlicky flavor strata lurking at the bottom of the dish. And while it’s not often a wise move to go with the steak when you’re not at a steakhouse, the Angus New York strip at Bottino is packed with meaty flavor and cooked perfectly, with a crisp, rosemary-encrusted exterior and a juicy inside.

Whatever the secret to restaurant longevity in the city may be, Bottino appears to have it down. So raise a glass of nero d’avola to another successful 20 years.


dinner: Mon–Sat 6 PM–11 PM; Sun 5:30 PM–10 PM
lunch: Tue–Sat noon–3:30 PM

price range

$6 (bruschetta al pomodoro) to $32 (roast rack of lamb)