Il Buco

By William Sertl

Don’t you hate it when people ask “what’s your favorite movie?”, as if there’s just one? Same thing when quizzed about a New York restaurant. But if the question is “what’s the most romantic restaurant in New York?” the answer is easy: Il Buco. Here’s a place, on sleepy little Bond Street in NoHo, to rival any Tuscan country charmer in the categories of soft candlelight, hanging pots, and antique farmhouse tables. How wonderful that you’d still beat a path to the door of this dimly lit hideaway for the inspired locavore menu, even if it were served in an airport cafeteria. It’s that good. Mains, appetizers and pastas change daily, but you might find such dishes as gnocchi with ortiche (nettles) and pancetta, or risotto ai piselli (with sugar snap and English peas), as well as starters like burrata with spring market vegetables, crudo, or baccalà croquettes with fresh horseradish. Il Buco is the perfect spot for a long, leisurely lunch with someone special. Who knows? You might just come up with that favorite movie—together—while savoring a grilled Creekstone Farms rib eye with cipollini onions.

menu musts*

Porchetta Panini
Gnocci with nettles and pancetta
Risotto with peas
Creekstone Farms rib eye
*menu changes daily
view full menu here

sweet seats

Much of the seating is at long plank tables, where large sprays of flowers act as dividers. Smaller tables are scattered about, up against a bookcase or hidden away in a little nook. One of the most charming spots is the little cubbyhole in back by the kitchen. There’s even a wine room downstairs that feels like some kind of heavenly grotto.

chew on this

Il Buco opened as an antique shop in 1994, serving some food. Later, it morphed into a food shop that sold some antiques. Now it is a full-fledged restaurant, but many of the antiques and products, such as its olive oil (from a vendor that sells exclusively to them), are still for sale.


lunch: Mon.–Sat. 12 noon–4 PM
late afternoon short menu: Mon.–Sat. 4 PM–6 PM
dinner: Mon.–Thurs. 6 PM–11:30 PM; Fri.–Sat. 6 PM–12:30 AM; Sun. 5 PM–10:30 PM

price range for lunch entrées

$18 (pappardelle all Bolognese) to $34 (rib eye)


lunch: Mon-Sat 12 PM-4 PM
late afternoon: Mon-Sat 4 PM-6 PM
dinner: Mon-Thu 6 PM-11 PM; Fri-Sat 6 PM-12 AM; Sun 5 PM-10:30 PM