Alto

★★★★☆
Alto is a luxury Italian restaurant featuring Michael White's interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine, located in the Rockefeller Center area. Alto features a selection of over 2500 different wines, showcasing the Grand Cru's of Europe and has received numerous Awards including the Award of Ultimate Distinction from the Wine Enthusiast. It recently received Three Stars from the New York Times and it is the only Italian Restaurant in NYC with Four Stars from Forbes Magazine For lunch, Alto offers a 2 course lunch for $36.00, it is $18.00 for any additional course. For dinner, Alto offers a 3-course prix-fixe is available for $75 per person, and a four course meal for $85.00 per person,as well as a 7-course seasonal tasting menu for $125.
  • 11 East 53rd Street

    New York, NY 10022

    Cross street: nr. Fifth Ave.

    Map & Directions
  • 212-308-1099

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Went to Alto for a nice dinner a couple weeks back, and it was just that: nice. At these prices, the food had better damn well be excellent, and it just met my expectations. Like a lot of fancy restaurants, the appetizers were far better than the entrees so I highly recommend spending your $$ on a few appetizers and choosing the less pricey main dishes.
The service was spot on -- attentive but not fussy.

2
★★★★☆

Went to Alto for a nice dinner a couple weeks back, and it was just that: nice. At these prices, the food had better damn well be excellent, and it just met my expectations. Like a lot of fancy restaurants, the appetizers were far better than the entrees so I highly recommend spending your $$ on a few appetizers and choosing the less pricey main dishes.
The service was spot on -- attentive but not fussy.

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Aqui va un comentario en Espa?ol sobre Alto: Reservamos para llevar a nuestro jefe que visito NY en las ultimas semanas y es muy exigente con la comida y fue una buena experiencia en general. Pagamos CARO (los vinos son costosos...) pero el servicio fue excelente y la comida muy recomendada. Los que ordenamos lamb o veal tuvimos mucha mejor suerte que los que ordenaron pasta. Dos puntos en contra: no me mato el fois grass y el postre que nos recomendaron parecian simples donitas rellenas que deslucian la comida. Sin embargo, al final nos dieron unos muffins para llevar y unos postrecitos muy ricos.

2
★★★★★

Aqui va un comentario en Espa?ol sobre Alto: Reservamos para llevar a nuestro jefe que visito NY en las ultimas semanas y es muy exigente con la comida y fue una buena experiencia en general. Pagamos CARO (los vinos son costosos...) pero el servicio fue excelente y la comida muy recomendada. Los que ordenamos lamb o veal tuvimos mucha mejor suerte que los que ordenaron pasta. Dos puntos en contra: no me mato el fois grass y el postre que nos recomendaron parecian simples donitas rellenas que deslucian la comida. Sin embargo, al final nos dieron unos muffins para llevar y unos postrecitos muy ricos.

.

I refuse to wait another minute to seat down!!! despite res. I had to wait what seems for ever to seat down to a not impressive, yet average meal...whatever happened with chef Scott Conant??? it was great then, it is simply awful now....please avoid the trip and delay, sounds just like a bad flight!!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I refuse to wait another minute to seat down!!! despite res. I had to wait what seems for ever to seat down to a not impressive, yet average meal...whatever happened with chef Scott Conant??? it was great then, it is simply awful now....please avoid the trip and delay, sounds just like a bad flight!!

.

I've been here both for lunch and for dinner and in each case have been far more impressed by the appetizers and the pasta than by the entrees. The veal agnolotti in particular stands out. It has been outstanding in each of the sauces in which I have eaten it. The entrees, however, have been a bit underwhelming. The seafood is high quality, but the preparations are very ordinary--in essence it is a good piece of fish served relatively plain. I can do that at home or get it any number of other places. I had hoped for something either more distinctly Italian or something more creative. The prix fixe does not offer good value; I would instead have an appetizer (or a half-portion of pasta as an appetizer) and a pasta and skip the entree altogether.

Service has been good every time I have been there, and the wine list (more of a wine book) is impressive, if perhaps a bit over the top. It does helpfully have a briefer section containing recommended selections; for all but the most avid wine consumers I think the briefer summary is more than ample. I like the ambiance as well, particularly in the smaller, quieter sections of the restaurant.

2
★★★★☆

I've been here both for lunch and for dinner and in each case have been far more impressed by the appetizers and the pasta than by the entrees. The veal agnolotti in particular stands out. It has been outstanding in each of the sauces in which I have eaten it. The entrees, however, have been a bit underwhelming. The seafood is high quality, but the preparations are very ordinary--in essence it is a good piece of fish served relatively plain. I can do that at home or get it any number of other places. I had hoped for something either more distinctly Italian or something more creative. The prix fixe does not offer good value; I would instead have an appetizer (or a half-portion of pasta as an appetizer) and a pasta and skip the entree altogether.

Service has been good every time I have been there, and the wine list (more of a wine book) is impressive, if perhaps a bit over the top. It does helpfully have a briefer section containing recommended selections; for all but the most avid wine consumers I think the briefer summary is more than ample. I like the ambiance as well, particularly in the smaller, quieter sections of the restaurant.

Pros: Pasta, appetizers

Cons: Average entrees

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I went for my birthday with my husband. It is not the most romantic place I have ever been but it is nice. I had the veal and fontina agnolotti and the flavor was amazing! My husband likes the traditional and he ordered the spaghetti. It was a fresh and great dish and he loved it. For dessert we ordered the chocolate ganache and brioche. Great way to finish my birthday dinner.

2
★★★★☆

I went for my birthday with my husband. It is not the most romantic place I have ever been but it is nice. I had the veal and fontina agnolotti and the flavor was amazing! My husband likes the traditional and he ordered the spaghetti. It was a fresh and great dish and he loved it. For dessert we ordered the chocolate ganache and brioche. Great way to finish my birthday dinner.

Pros: Food and wines

Cons: Not very romantic

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Went there last evening for dinner. Very stuffy and conservative and the atmosphere was formal and cold. The maitre'd was very friendly and I appreciated the gardenia. The head waiter was a bit rude and rushed. The selection of foods was very good and varied. I loved the grilled pumpkin with chestnuts appetizer. For the pasta course, i had the papardelle with lamb, which was a tad bit salty but still delicious. The main course was the only real sore spot. My lamb loin was tasteless as was the venison. An all around boring preparation. The fish dishes looked better but i didn't try them. The desserts were good, but again, nothing to die for. After all the good reviews, it was just ok. I wouldn't go back.

1
★★★☆☆

Went there last evening for dinner. Very stuffy and conservative and the atmosphere was formal and cold. The maitre'd was very friendly and I appreciated the gardenia. The head waiter was a bit rude and rushed. The selection of foods was very good and varied. I loved the grilled pumpkin with chestnuts appetizer. For the pasta course, i had the papardelle with lamb, which was a tad bit salty but still delicious. The main course was the only real sore spot. My lamb loin was tasteless as was the venison. An all around boring preparation. The fish dishes looked better but i didn't try them. The desserts were good, but again, nothing to die for. After all the good reviews, it was just ok. I wouldn't go back.

Pros: I like the wine bottles on the walls

Cons: Food was a bit disappointing and not very satisfying

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I work at a law firm and this summer we took many recruits to various top restuarants in mid-town and this place was the worst. Our waiter was condescending. One of us ordered the soft-shell crab, which you could finish in two bites but costs a fortune. The waiter noticed our shock at how small the portions were and rudely commented whether we wanted more bread to soak up the juice from the plates. There are much better restaurants in the area without the arrogance.

1
★★☆☆☆

I work at a law firm and this summer we took many recruits to various top restuarants in mid-town and this place was the worst. Our waiter was condescending. One of us ordered the soft-shell crab, which you could finish in two bites but costs a fortune. The waiter noticed our shock at how small the portions were and rudely commented whether we wanted more bread to soak up the juice from the plates. There are much better restaurants in the area without the arrogance.

Pros: The decor was nice.

Cons: Rude service staff. Overpriced and small portions.

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I've tried Del Posto and the other "big" Italian places in Manhattan, but Alto is a cut above and really impressed me. It's innovative, sophisticated and doesn't stick to that rustic, Southern Italian schtick that the others do (Babbo etc.). The prix-fixe tasting menu is a bargain when you consider the quality and level of food you get. If you're a serious foodie, this place is worth checking out.

2
★★★★★

I've tried Del Posto and the other "big" Italian places in Manhattan, but Alto is a cut above and really impressed me. It's innovative, sophisticated and doesn't stick to that rustic, Southern Italian schtick that the others do (Babbo etc.). The prix-fixe tasting menu is a bargain when you consider the quality and level of food you get. If you're a serious foodie, this place is worth checking out.

Pros: Food, Service, Excellent wine list

Cons: midtown

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I was taken here by some friends for a lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant. We all ordered the lunchtime prix fixe menu and it was a terrific value, so terrific in fact that we could reasonably afford the wine pairings. We'd heard very good things about the mushroom appetizer and it was great - the mushrooms placed on top of a small portion of creamy polenta - it was one of the better apps I've had over the last few months. I ordered the roast chicken as an entree, not expecting much from it, since it's "just" chicken, but it turned out to be perfectly cooked and moist. One other note, be sure to try the pretzel bread - a nice twist on the usual dinner roll or sourdough bread you get at a restaurant.

2
★★★★☆

I was taken here by some friends for a lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant. We all ordered the lunchtime prix fixe menu and it was a terrific value, so terrific in fact that we could reasonably afford the wine pairings. We'd heard very good things about the mushroom appetizer and it was great - the mushrooms placed on top of a small portion of creamy polenta - it was one of the better apps I've had over the last few months. I ordered the roast chicken as an entree, not expecting much from it, since it's "just" chicken, but it turned out to be perfectly cooked and moist. One other note, be sure to try the pretzel bread - a nice twist on the usual dinner roll or sourdough bread you get at a restaurant.

Pros: Great prix fixe menu

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I must say I was completely shocked to read the older reviews for this restaurant from 2005. Whatever happened in the past year I can safely say that Alto has fixed it all. I ordered off the restaurant week menu (which they are retaining for the rest of the summer) and was shocked at what I received for my money. The homemade spaghetti may not seem like much of a dish on the menu, but the pasta was cooked perfectly and the slightest hint of red pepper gave the sauce a wonderful kick. The chocolate ganache for dessert was also wonderful, and a generous portion for a restaurant week menu. The other members of my party ordered off the regular menu and were equally pleased with their dishes. My friend specifically commented on the freshness of the fish he ordered. The staff was beyond attentive and helpful. I cannot wait to come back here!

2
★★★★★

I must say I was completely shocked to read the older reviews for this restaurant from 2005. Whatever happened in the past year I can safely say that Alto has fixed it all. I ordered off the restaurant week menu (which they are retaining for the rest of the summer) and was shocked at what I received for my money. The homemade spaghetti may not seem like much of a dish on the menu, but the pasta was cooked perfectly and the slightest hint of red pepper gave the sauce a wonderful kick. The chocolate ganache for dessert was also wonderful, and a generous portion for a restaurant week menu. The other members of my party ordered off the regular menu and were equally pleased with their dishes. My friend specifically commented on the freshness of the fish he ordered. The staff was beyond attentive and helpful. I cannot wait to come back here!

Pros: Service, entrees, desserts

Cons: Said they had no availability but when we got there the restaurant was empty

.

I have been to this restaurant several times....It is near my office. I have found that it is perhaps the only Italian in New York or The US. that truly represents the food of Italy's North. The service is nothing but gracious and attentive, the food is always ALWAYS inspired, fresh and interesting but not off putting.
It really does match the great restaurants of Italy. Also, the wine list so think and vast......It is just a find. Also the private rooms are very nice. Too good to identify by Italian standards. It is far ahead of the pack.

2
★★★★★

I have been to this restaurant several times....It is near my office. I have found that it is perhaps the only Italian in New York or The US. that truly represents the food of Italy's North. The service is nothing but gracious and attentive, the food is always ALWAYS inspired, fresh and interesting but not off putting.
It really does match the great restaurants of Italy. Also, the wine list so think and vast......It is just a find. Also the private rooms are very nice. Too good to identify by Italian standards. It is far ahead of the pack.

Pros: Food, Service, Wine list

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Why is this restaurant participating in restaurant week? 4 at lunchwith 1:45 pm late reservationsonly to be seated in a far corner of an empty dinning room--to be virtually ignored The expected restaurant week entrees, chicken, pasta, and salmon but the appetizers were at a new low -- a beet and goat cheese salad that tasted& looked fresh from Gristedes, (the goat cheese reminded us of synthetic cream cheese) slivers of scallops that had know better days and a mushroom polenta that was like baby food with presentations close to a coffee shop--rabbit pasta was salty and tasteless and the salmon dry--the desserts were similarly uninspired--portions were minisicule --the bread, pretzels rolls and potatoe and onion, with a good olive oil they obviously give "real customers" was the best part of a really bad meal that shows obvious contempt for customers and restaurant week.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Why is this restaurant participating in restaurant week? 4 at lunchwith 1:45 pm late reservationsonly to be seated in a far corner of an empty dinning room--to be virtually ignored The expected restaurant week entrees, chicken, pasta, and salmon but the appetizers were at a new low -- a beet and goat cheese salad that tasted& looked fresh from Gristedes, (the goat cheese reminded us of synthetic cream cheese) slivers of scallops that had know better days and a mushroom polenta that was like baby food with presentations close to a coffee shop--rabbit pasta was salty and tasteless and the salmon dry--the desserts were similarly uninspired--portions were minisicule --the bread, pretzels rolls and potatoe and onion, with a good olive oil they obviously give "real customers" was the best part of a really bad meal that shows obvious contempt for customers and restaurant week.

Pros: bread, olive oil

Cons: service, food

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The sommelier was surpiringly rude, considering the rest of the staff was delightful. We found it odd that they don't open the bottle of wine at your table. Instead, they show you the bottle unopened, take it to the back, and open it in private, and allegedly taste it first as well. When we asked the sommelier about it, he was not only defensive, but arrogant and rude in his response... and almost refused to open the bottle at the table until we insisted. He was very unprofessional and very unbusinesslike. I loved this restaraunt but i most likely will never go back there because of the way he treated our party.

2
★★★★☆

The sommelier was surpiringly rude, considering the rest of the staff was delightful. We found it odd that they don't open the bottle of wine at your table. Instead, they show you the bottle unopened, take it to the back, and open it in private, and allegedly taste it first as well. When we asked the sommelier about it, he was not only defensive, but arrogant and rude in his response... and almost refused to open the bottle at the table until we insisted. He was very unprofessional and very unbusinesslike. I loved this restaraunt but i most likely will never go back there because of the way he treated our party.

Pros: food, service

Cons: sommelier

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Having dined in many of New Yorks Italian restaurants I must say the creative approach to Scott Conants Alto is a breath of fresh air to an otherwise mundane level of Italian cusine throughout the city. There are no meatballs and Lasagne here, there was actual thinking behind the menu. Our server Michealango was outstanding and made us feel very comfortable we had a great time. Next time we come to New York we will definatley be back can't wait

2
★★★★★

Having dined in many of New Yorks Italian restaurants I must say the creative approach to Scott Conants Alto is a breath of fresh air to an otherwise mundane level of Italian cusine throughout the city. There are no meatballs and Lasagne here, there was actual thinking behind the menu. Our server Michealango was outstanding and made us feel very comfortable we had a great time. Next time we come to New York we will definatley be back can't wait

Pros: New Style, sleek room, cocktails

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This is the first time I've been moved to add a review to a restaurant, I am so unhappy with the treatment we received. I took 4 work colleagues for lunch, we took the 'expresso' menu. It took over an hour and a half to receive appetiser, main and coffee (20 minute wait just to get cappucinos). Despite the fact that we were all in business attire, we were seated away in a corner, and it was very difficult to get service - even though the restaurant did not appear to be busy. Servings were small, acceptable quality, but should have not taken so long to considering they were on a prix fix. I just hope the reason that we got such bad service was not because my four work colleagues were indian and chinese.

0
★☆☆☆☆

This is the first time I've been moved to add a review to a restaurant, I am so unhappy with the treatment we received. I took 4 work colleagues for lunch, we took the 'expresso' menu. It took over an hour and a half to receive appetiser, main and coffee (20 minute wait just to get cappucinos). Despite the fact that we were all in business attire, we were seated away in a corner, and it was very difficult to get service - even though the restaurant did not appear to be busy. Servings were small, acceptable quality, but should have not taken so long to considering they were on a prix fix. I just hope the reason that we got such bad service was not because my four work colleagues were indian and chinese.

Cons: slow service, small servings

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Had high hopes for this Conant venue. Service is over-attentive and forbearing. Menu sounds creative but often misses the mark. It seems that the staff have not eaten many of the items they are recommending. Just felt like details were missing or a lack of and enthusiastic endorsement. This atmosphere may work for some but came off as sterile to our group.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Had high hopes for this Conant venue. Service is over-attentive and forbearing. Menu sounds creative but often misses the mark. It seems that the staff have not eaten many of the items they are recommending. Just felt like details were missing or a lack of and enthusiastic endorsement. This atmosphere may work for some but came off as sterile to our group.

Cons: Service, Atmosphere

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The whole fish was excellent--not overcooked and served in a light tomato broth. The soft shell crab in a pea soup concoction was excellent. The cheese serving was skimpy. They treated me, as a single, very nicely. I would go back.

2
★★★★☆

The whole fish was excellent--not overcooked and served in a light tomato broth. The soft shell crab in a pea soup concoction was excellent. The cheese serving was skimpy. They treated me, as a single, very nicely. I would go back.

.

Wonderful service and delicious food. We had to leave early and couldn't do all the course meals, but the restaurant was very, very nice about it and made sure that we got to have a good dining experience nonetheless. On top of superb food, impeccable service from start to finish.

A little chilly inside so should bring a jacket or shawl. It may be good to know that they serve prix fixe menus for dinner at the table and a la carte at the bar.

2
★★★★★

Wonderful service and delicious food. We had to leave early and couldn't do all the course meals, but the restaurant was very, very nice about it and made sure that we got to have a good dining experience nonetheless. On top of superb food, impeccable service from start to finish.

A little chilly inside so should bring a jacket or shawl. It may be good to know that they serve prix fixe menus for dinner at the table and a la carte at the bar.

Pros: good, service, ambience

Cons: price

.

Awesome favor, balance and creativity, this is something you will not find in this city. The chef Scott Conant doesnt go after the main stream Italian dishes, nope he goes where most have never tasted. For those of you that are familiar with the writings of Ayn Rand, I would tell you that Mr.Conants new restaurant reminds me of the book the Fountainhead. His motivation for food is his ego, and he practically ignores the ideas of others. After meeting Mr. Conant he beamed of self-confidence that makes
his food irresistible. 'The self-sufficient, self-confident, the end of ends, the joy of cooking personified.' Conant is a chef who does not follow the typical path to success--he follows his own ideals rather than the rules of his predecessors. He achieves success without compromise. Bravo Mr. Conant Bravo!! Alto is a gleam of culinary delight all must experience.

2
★★★★★

Awesome favor, balance and creativity, this is something you will not find in this city. The chef Scott Conant doesnt go after the main stream Italian dishes, nope he goes where most have never tasted. For those of you that are familiar with the writings of Ayn Rand, I would tell you that Mr.Conants new restaurant reminds me of the book the Fountainhead. His motivation for food is his ego, and he practically ignores the ideas of others. After meeting Mr. Conant he beamed of self-confidence that makes
his food irresistible. 'The self-sufficient, self-confident, the end of ends, the joy of cooking personified.' Conant is a chef who does not follow the typical path to success--he follows his own ideals rather than the rules of his predecessors. He achieves success without compromise. Bravo Mr. Conant Bravo!! Alto is a gleam of culinary delight all must experience.

Pros: Wine, Service, Food

Cons: Location

.

Scott Conant has done it again. I am an huge fan of L'Impero and when I heard that they were opening up another restaurant called Alto I could not imagine how different it could be. Well from the moment you step foot in the door to the 7000 bottles of wine incased in glass, the most comfortable chairs and bankets. I had the tasting menu and have gone back again to have even more. One must try the smoked trout, strangolopreti, squid ink cappuccino, smoked fois gras carpacio, seared seabass, rack of lamb. The overall quality of the food coming out of the kitchen has surpassed any Italian restuaruant I have ever been to. Save room for the ruhbarb strudel and steamed chocolate pudding. My new favorite drink is no longer a Mojito or Cosmo but what they call the Basil Clap. Alto is a cut above the rest.

2
★★★★★

Scott Conant has done it again. I am an huge fan of L'Impero and when I heard that they were opening up another restaurant called Alto I could not imagine how different it could be. Well from the moment you step foot in the door to the 7000 bottles of wine incased in glass, the most comfortable chairs and bankets. I had the tasting menu and have gone back again to have even more. One must try the smoked trout, strangolopreti, squid ink cappuccino, smoked fois gras carpacio, seared seabass, rack of lamb. The overall quality of the food coming out of the kitchen has surpassed any Italian restuaruant I have ever been to. Save room for the ruhbarb strudel and steamed chocolate pudding. My new favorite drink is no longer a Mojito or Cosmo but what they call the Basil Clap. Alto is a cut above the rest.

Pros: Private rooms, Attentive service, Beautiful setting

Cons: Hard to find

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I will not return even if they serve up good pasta.
We were left to dine at the bar counter next to women who were loud, drunk and flirting. Fine.......but when tables began to clear up, it seemed polite to seat us comfortably in the dining area instead of having us twist our backs to talk, perched on bulky high chairs at the bar with no place to put our handbags (which the waiter happened to drop and expose contents later on).
The first course came 45 minutes after we had ordered, service dragged on longer after that. The manager brushed off my feedback as "well, it is a prix fixe". The waiter was knowledgeable about his food, and at least tried to translate the Italian names for truly exotic ingredients...with some snobbery no less, something we did not care for by the end of a tiring and unfulfilling night.

1
★★☆☆☆

I will not return even if they serve up good pasta.
We were left to dine at the bar counter next to women who were loud, drunk and flirting. Fine.......but when tables began to clear up, it seemed polite to seat us comfortably in the dining area instead of having us twist our backs to talk, perched on bulky high chairs at the bar with no place to put our handbags (which the waiter happened to drop and expose contents later on).
The first course came 45 minutes after we had ordered, service dragged on longer after that. The manager brushed off my feedback as "well, it is a prix fixe". The waiter was knowledgeable about his food, and at least tried to translate the Italian names for truly exotic ingredients...with some snobbery no less, something we did not care for by the end of a tiring and unfulfilling night.

 

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