“He’s an honest-to-God fisherman, in love with the ocean, and ESCA is his ongoing ode to it”. – New York Times

ESCA– Italian for “bait,” the stuff of temptation and enticement– is a southern Italian trattoria devoted to celebrating the fruits of the sea.

Created by James Beard award-winning chef Dave Pasternack, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich in 2000, ESCA is revered for its less-is-more approach to cooking. Its elegant simplicity. In his 3-star New York Times canonization of ESCA as the ultimate Italian seafood destination, Frank Bruni coined Dave “an honest-to-God fisherman, in love with the ocean, and ESCA is his ongoing ode to it.” 


Dave’s distinctive crudo dishes are emblematic of ESCA’s menu. The freshest, most pristine fish is carefully chosen, expertly sliced, and dressed with one of at least a dozen different extra virgin olive oils from all over the Italian peninsula and sprinkled with any one of ten different sea salts, depending on the flavor of each specific piscatorial divinity. One bite of tilefish with Sardinian oil, for example, will transport you both to the sea in the Gulf of Mexico and the land in Olbia. The varied Italian wine list, composed with value in mind, pairs brilliantly with both the esoteric and the sublimely intuitive.

ESCA’s intimate and elegant dining room is superb for any occasion and the outdoor patio offers a lovely, quiet experience amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City’s theatre district. Your meal will be, as Mario says, in the “hands of Zen Master Fisherman Extraordinaire, Chef Dave Pasternack.”

ESCA is a pearl of the West Side of Manhattan dining.

“A focused, sensible fellow, he understands the fish business better than just about anyone, in ways intuitive, visceral, and pragmatic.” – New Yorker


the team

Mario Batali

With restaurants worldwide and a host of television shows, including ABC’s “The Chew,” Mario Batali is one of the most recognized and respected chefs working today. Mario is also the ...

Joe Bastianich

Joe Bastianich is one of America’s preeminent restaurateurs and TV personalities; he is also a New York Times bestselling author and triathlete. A renown authority on Italian wine, in 2005, ...

Dave Pasternack

In 2005, TheNew Yorker identified Dave’s strength as “knowing when something needs a little something.” Similarly, Frank Bruni, in his three-star New York Times review of ESCA, called Dave a “fish whisperer.” ...

Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich is one of the best-loved chefs on television, a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. Lidia has married her two passions in life ...

Alexander Zecena

Pastry Chef

Stefan Neacsu

General Manager


Always hiring

and excited to add new talent to our team.

For a list of available positions, click here to see our job board. Whether or not we have an appropriate position listed, submit your resume and cover letter and we’ll review your information promptly.

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