Get directions | 20 Union Sq W, New York, NY 10003
In the early aughts, there was a television show hosted by Xzibit called Pimp My Ride. We don’t currently have time to explain who Xzibit is, but the show itself always involved a very average car getting a big makeover. A van might wind up with a hot tub, for example, or an old TransAm might get a new paint job, a chandelier, and an incredibly impractical espresso machine.
Bocce Union Square isn’t a car, but it reminds us of this concept. This restaurant is, essentially, a nice sedan tricked out like a sports car. The Italian food here is perfectly good, but what really makes this spot worthwhile is the fact that it’s in an open-air space at the top of Union Square Park. It’s seasonal, which means you won’t be able to come here once people start putting scarves on mannequins in store windows – but if you hang out in the area, it’s currently one of your best options for some quality time outdoors.
The overall environment at Bocce feels sort of like an Italian piazza as envisioned by a South Beach millionaire who spent a week in Rome. The main structure (Union Square’s Pavilion building) has columns and a tiled roof, and there’s a big patio out front where you can sit and count the number of people who walk into the Barnes & Noble across the street. As promised by the name, this place also has bocce – but there’s only one court, and it’s small and kind of sad. So skip that, and get dinner or drinks instead.