Emilio, owner of the historic trattoria in Manhattan is a real character. In the past the place was the secret meeting place of big New York mobsters. Nowadays, Emilio’s day is taken up for the most part by answering phones and rejecting dozens of reservations in his full house. A first come, first served rule, regulates table assignment. Native of Sarno, Emilio offers southern Italian cuisine that’s slightly adapted to suit US palates, yet retaining the fundamental characters of traditional Italian dishes. Tomatoes play the starring role, in many typical recipes. Think soup and ragout, or used as a topping for excellent paccheri pasta from Gragnano or the exquisite spaghetti al pomodoro: authentic and flavourful, beautifully cooked to al dente. Another recipe we have to recommend is the pasta e fagioli, a humble, yet delicious comfort food that brings you to Italy in one bite. The biggest celebrities have dined here, and the wine list is excellent. So much so that there is a room especially designed for the viewing cave, which is perfect for desire of grandeur that’s so typical of the US customer.