The 10 Best Restaurants On Arthur Avenue

Old-school red sauce joints, impressive delis, famous salumerias, and more places to eat in the "real" Little Italy.
The 10 Best Restaurants On Arthur Avenue image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

Located in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, Arthur Ave (aka the “real” Little Italy) is chock full of some of the best red sauce restaurants in the city. It's also where you’ll find a bunch of great delis, salumerias, pastry shops, and stores that sell novelty aprons with cartoon Nonnas on them. You really can’t go wrong in this area, but we’ve put together a guide of our 10 absolute favorite spots. In addition to a solid selection of sit-down restaurants with old-school Italian American energy, this guide includes a fresh mozzarella monger, a sidewalk oyster bar, and a famous pork store with hundreds of hot soppressata hanging from the ceiling.


photo credit: Alex Staniloff



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We’ve never seen wait staff who are as effusive about their daily specials as the people at Tra Di Noi. They could just be good at their jobs, but the table next to you will also chime in to confirm that, yes, the swordfish is to die for. Get the swordfish—or any other seafood special, really—and a pasta per person to share. Tra Di Noi is everything you want out of your Little Italy red sauce experience. It’s got old-school Italian-American, checkerboard tablecloth charm, and the staff are warm and welcoming from the moment you walk in. There are only around 10 tables here, so make a reservation.

We aren’t sure what a store with hundreds of hot soppressata hanging from the ceiling is supposed to smell like, but the sweet, musky, cheesy smell inside this salumi shoppe shocks the system every time. Calabria Pork Store, simply put, is the sh*t, and a sandwich is the best way to sample their goods. Any meat you pull from the sausage chandelier will be your new favorite food, but the store specializes in hot soppressata served on ciabatta or a hero roll with cheese. They also carry culatello, which is pretty hard to find and will turn you into an absolute fiend once you try it.

If the sheer number of Italian spots on Arthur Avenue gives you a feeling of paralysis because you can’t decide where to go, we’re here to make your decision easy. Head to Zero Otto Nove. This place works well for almost any situation. Order the insalata di mare with eight different types of seafood in addition to the comforting baked rigatoni and meatballs smothered with melted mozzarella. Try to get a table in the main dining room, which is painted to look like a courtyard in Italy. It’s a little cheesy, but charming nonetheless.

The big NY slices at Full Moon Pizzeria will beckon you over when you walk in, but make sure to leave room for a calzone, roll, or stromboli in your order. They’re really good at pocket-style things here, and whichever one you get will have a crispy crust neatly packed with a neat layer of melted mozzarella around fresh chopped broccoli or various meats. They also do a perfect cheese slice that stays crispy all the way through the tip. This counter-service spot gets really busy, but they keep it moving, and you won’t have trouble nabbing a table.

Your mission upon arriving at Casa della Mozzarella is very clear: fresh mozzarella, preferably in between bread. The classic Casa—fresh mozz with prosciutto, sun dried peppers, and balsamic on a sesame hero—lets the mozz do most of the work, but the roast pork is good if you need something more filling. Plan on taking your sandwich to go. The only standing room inside is in the single file line along the antipasti counter of your dreams. Go ahead and get a carton of spicy olives while you wait.

Many have made their way to Mike’s Deli, set on getting a sandwich, only to find themselves faced with unimaginable choices. The deli is known for its eggplant parm, beautifully layered in between a hero roll with a sweet and slightly spicy sauce—but the big arancini, eggplant rolls, and thick slabs of lasagna bolognese sitting in the deli case also give us warm and fuzzy feelings. Mike's is in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, and Bronx Beer Hall is one stall over if you want to grab a drink while you wait.

There’s a lot going on at Enzo’s. You’ll hear conversations in both Italian and big Bronx accents, a playlist pulled from the Rat Pack’s Spotify, and someone scolding someone else for watching the game during dinner. All of that can be fun if you come for the right occasion. This restaurant is best for big groups who want to drink a boatload of wine and argue over which of the 12 pasta shapes to pair with which sauce. (The answer is bucatini alla carbonara and cavatelli with broccoli rabe.)

Sitting right at the intersection of Arthur Ave and Crescent, Prince Coffee House serves as a sort of town square for the neighborhood. The table-service Turkish coffee shop fills up on weekday mornings with regulars on their laptops, but it has more of a European feel on weekends when you’ll see groups linger for hours ordering a succession of Viennese cappuccinos in tiny cups. Light streams into the big, beautiful space through tall windows that are perfect for people watching, and they have a hundred tin Turkish coffee cups hanging from the ceiling.

Artuso’s is the first place we go when we’re forced to choose between the many excellent pastry shops in the area. It has everything from pignoli and tiramisu to lemon rolls and lobster tails filled with light, airy cream. Yes, you want powdered sugar on top. Things run out by the evening, so stop by for coffee in the morning and call first dibs on the best biscotti (almond). If these cannolis aren’t quite as crispy as you’d like, try the ones at Egidio, Gino’s, or Morrone. You really can’t go wrong around here.

Eating freshly shucked shellfish at Cosenza’s streetside oyster bar is one of the best experiences in the neighborhood. The selection varies by season, but they’ve had everything from Cherrystone clams to Kumamoto oysters that they’ll open up for you on the spot and serve with big slices of lemon. Dress your shellfish with hot sauce, horseradish, and more at the condiment bar, and eat it standing out on the sidewalk. (There are no seats.) You can also get specialties like sea urchin when available.

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