“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 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 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


Committed to the triple bottom line—people, planet and profit—our management team works to make our restaurant as environmentally conscious as possible. From water to waste, disposables to chemicals, locally sourced food to the materials we use to outfit our space, sustainability is always at the forefront of our minds. We are constantly trying to reduce our impact on the environment by taking action on operational efficiency, ingredients and carbon offsets.


the team

Joe Bastianich

  Joe Bastianich is one of America’s preeminent restaurateurs and TV personalities; he is also an author, musician and triathlete. In 2005, Joe was recognized as an Outstanding Wine and…

Dave Pasternack

In 2005, The New 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…

Ellen Scariati

Pastry Chef

Luigi Porceddu

General Manager