i Sodi (Christopher Street near Bleecker Street) – sweet Lordy the best pasta I’ve had in NYC. This is the best lasagna I've ever had, and the fried artichokes are also great. A quiet, minimalist, romantic restaurant tucked away along a busy, not-so-romantic street.
Perla (West 10th and West 4th Street) - owned by the Joseph Leonard/Jeffrey's/food crush group and recently moved locations offering non-stuffy, simple Italian fare in a more casual setting. Everything I've eaten there is perfect. Just don't go with someone who is doing Whole 30.
Pagani (Bleecker Street near 6th Avenue) - a newer Italian spot in the neighborhood but really fantastic. It's a bit of a sexier dinner spot: velvet curtains, dim lighting, charming waiters. But my favorite part is the "half orders" of pasta, which are so generous I'm basically eating two plates of of pasta.
Piadina (West 10th and 6th Avenue) – one of my favorite casual Italian spots that is less crazy than its sister restaurant, Malatesta. Cozy, warm, and delicious (and cash only). Handwritten menus and handmade pastas in a candlelit setting.
Malatesta (Christopher Street and Washington Street) – owned by the same folks as Piadina, bigger and noisier, great in the summer where they open up all the sides of the restaurant. Must order spinach gnocchi w gorgonzola.
Malaparte (Bethune Street and Washington Street) – ALSO owned by the same as Piadina and Malatesta, more focused on fish and pizza. They have awesome mussels, a great ambiance and take reservations!