We know you’ve probably heard about the “real” Little Italy in the Bronx, and we also know you’ve probably never been. So, as an incentive, we’re going to do you a solid and spoon-feed you every place you need to visit. Don´t be fooled by my last name, I´m half Evangelista and I know my way around a burrata ball (or five).
Arthur Avenue in the Bronx used to be solidly off-the-boat Italian, but today there are Kosovar souvenir shops and Hispanic delis side by side with Italian bakeries and cheese shops. It´s still the real deal for anything Italian, and the changes only add to the coolness of the neighborhood. This isn’t how New York used to be, but is rather what New York has always been – albeit with a serious dose of guys named Vinny or Paulie and more gold jewelry than you can handle.
Hop on the D train, do some shopping, and stay for dinner. With any luck (and a little bit of help from us), you’ll end up becoming a regular.
Hardly a secret, and for good reason. This is the best and cheapest spot in NYC for fresh pasta, which you can watch being made as you wait in line for grandma to serve you up. Buy too much, freeze the extra, and don´t skip the ravioli.
Calandra is the last dedicated cheese shop in the neighborhood. Some of the cheeses are homemade, but most are imported from Italy. Go nuts and try everything, but make sure you grab a bag of fresh ricotta. Kudos if you make it home without digging into it on the subway.
We know you’re not fluent in Italian, but you can probably figure this one out. And since you’re making a day of it, you should try the burrata at Joe’s Italian Deli, too. If you decided not stick around for dinner, they have an Italian Combo worth checking out.
Yeah, yeah. You´re here for the Italian stuff, but part of the point of being in NYC is that you have everything from everywhere right at your fingertips. This Yugoslavian deli has been on the block for the last 30 years and imports all things Balkan, from Montenegrin beer to the freshest, most insane Bulgarian feta you haven’t had yet. You’ll need this for your growing cheese collection.
Get something to take the edge off of dinner. We’ve yet to meet an Italian-American that doesn’t love cigars, so of course you can get excellent, freshly rolled Dominican cigars at a few places on the block. These guys are the best in the business and are located in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, which is an absolute must-visit – especially if you're short on time and need to pick and choose. This market is one of four left in the entire city and was set up during the Great Depression to “clean up the streets of New York.” The best Italian heroes on Arthur Avenue are at Mike's Deli, also inside the Market. Get rice balls to go with, and don’t be afraid to ask the big guy any questions you might have – he´s really nice.
All that cheese requires some meat, which you can get at several places. Calabria Pork Store, simply put, is the sh*t. They’ve got the best sausages in the city. Regulars know that the hot soppressata lining the entire ceiling is the all-time favorite. Also know that they carry culatello, which is pretty hard to find in general and will turn you into an absolute fiend once you try it. This is full on pork indulgence heaven.
Vincent’s Meat Market is our butcher of choice and has good cured meats as well. It’s also good for meat products outside the Italian scope, particularly of the Balkan and Hispanic variety.
If you come at the right time, you’ll be helped by the bald, meatball-like former chef behind the counter. You’ll know for sure when you pick up a bag of pignoli nuts and he immediately launches into a rant about why Chinese pignolis are “ABSOLUTE SH*T” and how to make the perfect pesto. You didn’t even ask, and that’s the beauty of it. This is our favorite place for imported dry goods, olive oil, and other Italian products. They make pretty mean hot and sweet sausages, too.
Randazzo’s is the best for seafood, and if you come during the summer you'll get to enjoy the makeshift raw bar they set up outside, with everything from oysters to sea urchin. They’ve been in business for almost a century and have an impressive and quality selection, mom and pop operation or not.
Madonia is where you’ll pick up fresh bread and our favorite cannolis to go with all this food. If you stray from plain types of bread, the olive loaves are a good bet.
Artuso Pastry Shop also has great cannolis, and their lobster tails are the stuff of dreams…or nightmares, depending on your level of self control. Gino's Pastry Shop is worth a stop, too.
Tra di Noi is absolutely your best bet for high quality red sauce, complete with checkered tablecloths.
Emilia’s, which has great homemade ravioli, decent enough red sauce options, and fantastic homemade Sicilian-style cheesecake is an A+ option for dinner as well.
Zero Otto Nove2357 Arthur Ave.
Run by a guy named Roberto who really wants you to know that Italian food is so much more than chicken parm (although he’s got that, too).