With the "best pasta" (NYPress) and the "best meatloaf" (New York Magazine) in New York City, Max brings the Italian dining experience to Manhattan with its warm, trattoria-style atmosphere and homemade, authentic, always fresh fare. max-ny.com
Tribeca: 181 Duane Street
East Village: 51 Avenue B max-ny.com
TimeOut New York: "This homey, low-ceilinged trattoria welcomes diners with tantalizing scents emanating from the kitchen. Tucked away on the list of sides, the melanzane al funghetto—diced eggplant served in a tangy tomato sauce—will have you sopping up every last bit of sauce. An appetizer of prosciutto and mozzarella di bufala arrives with a generous serving of greens and tomatoes. Rich lasagna, baked in individual pottery dishes, is a far cry from those tired Little Italy slabs. A special of lobster ravioli packs juicy morsels of seafood in a tomato-cream sauce."