The patience of New Yorkers has paid off as spring has finally arrived in the city. The warm sunshine and clear skies gets us in the mood for two things — food and drink. The options are abundant in a city that relishes seasonal ingredients and al fresco dining. As your spring social calendar begins to populate, keep these gems in mind for the best tastes of the season.
Da Silvano Cantinetta
260 Sixth Ave., 212-982-2343
At Da Silvano's younger sister — an extension of the classic New York spot — variety is the spice of life. Don't be intimidated by the endless menu options at Da Silvano Cantinetta: The chefs manage to do the impossible, executing everything perfectly. The specials are constantly changing, but try to catch the green and white asparagus salad and a true sign of the season: soft-shell crabs. You'll feel transported to Florence, especially if you snag a sidewalk table. Tip: For dessert, nothing has tickled our fancy more this season than Da Silvano's fennel sorbet.
45 Mercer St., 212-966-9288
New Italian red sauce joint Galli has launched a Buon Giorno menu for spring, available every day until 4 p.m. On it find the eatery’s gooey baby rice balls (which are more toddler-size, if you ask us,) old-world style pastas and parms, plus breakfast additions like a cappuccino and croissant duo and housemade granola with agave, fruit and Greek yogurt. Opt for a seat in the open-brick back room, surrounded by boxing-themed artwork (“galli,” after all, is the Italian word for “roosters.”)
174 Bleeker St., 212-777-9077
This newer addition to the West Village is making its mark this spring with new menu offerings like Montauk lobster sliders (yes, please) and chili-dusted scallops. But it's not all about the fish — if you happen to be of the meat and dessert variety, you'll be mesmerized by a concoction known as the boozy bacon ice cream shake, complete with Bourbon, bacon drippings, maple, cinnamon sugar and bacon powder.
55 Third Ave., 212-420-9800
The old Smith you know and love has reinvented itself with a brand new seasonal menu. Nothing says spring like throwing back oysters on the half shell, and you can find Montauk Pearl and Beau Soleil on the menu. Still hungry? Don't miss the salmon with leeks, asparagus, oyster mushrooms and soft herbs. Or, if you're in the mood for something a bit more carnivorous, opt for the braised lamb shank with steel-cut oat risotto.
213 N. Eighth St., 347-763-1506
Did you know there is a winery in Brooklyn? And did you know that wine isn't the only thing it offers? With a wine list that pairs perfectly with the menu, this just might turn into your spring headquarters. The experts at Brooklyn Winery recommend the rosé or zinfandel with the seared diver scallops and smoked eggplant caponata. If you do the standard flight, which includes six wines, you might want to pad your tummy with something hardier. Try the sweet potato and chickpea falafel or the lamb sausage with rutabaga sauerkraut.
525 Broome St., 212-966-9620
This SoHo hot spot just got a lot hotter with a menu that combines everything we love about spring. This restaurant has somehow managed to take a hearty dish and make it light in the form of spring vegetable carbonara with applewood smoked bacon and pecorino. If you're a fan of sweet and savory, don't miss the grilled swordfish with wheat berries, yellow carrot and blueberry. Bonus: For that late-night craving, the Dalloway offers "midnight brunch" beginning Saturday nights at 11 p.m.
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
53 Great Jones St., 212-837-2622
We've always thought of a bloody mary as more of a meal than a cocktail, but Il Buco has a twist that makes it extra-satisfying on that Sunday morning after a long night out. It's made with Breckenridge vodka, tomato juice, spicy Calabrian chili oil, freshly grated horse radish, anchovy, rosemary, thyme and sage. Hangover, be gone!
27 Broadway, Brooklyn, 646-568-6622
Kick off a warm spring night with a cool cocktail in hand at this Brooklyn watering hole. The whole drink list is sure to please, but the one that caught our eye is the Sundowner, made with Appleton V/X Rum, Gran Classico, coconut cream, orgeat, lime and orange juices. It doesn't get more spring that that!
106 E. 57th St., 212-752-7470
Grapefruit is so last year. Pomegranate isn't as cool as it used to be. Get funky and fruity with a kumquat caipiroska instead. The bartenders at BLT mix up this unique cocktail using three kumquats, kaffir lime leaves, and cinnamon and sugar on the rim. It's not every day you can say you drank something like that!
Contributed reporting by Meredith Engel. Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter at @CassieAtMetro.