Calling all foodies! As the Italians say, qui si mangia bene–here, we eat well! Whether you live in the Big Apple or are traveling in from afar, taking a trip to Mulberry Street to eat is a must. NYC’s Little Italy is steaming hot with savory Italian cuisine, and centuries-old recipes straight from Nonna’s cookbook.
In the late 1800s, Italians emigrated to the United States in droves and stuck together in a tight-knit, but large, cultural community that we’d soon call Little Italy. Now, just three blocks-wide off of Mulberry Street, Little Italy is a small-but-mighty reminder of the Italian heritage that built the neighborhood, with food remaining as the strongest fixture. Some of NYC’s oldest restaurants, cafes, and eateries are right in the artichoke-heart of Lower Manhattan’s Little Italy, the number one destination for all things Italiana. Little Italy may be shrinking, but it’s food, flavor, and family-like spirit are as big as ever.
Stroll down Mulberry Street and enjoy vintage storefronts and restaurants, many of which have not changed since they were established. Inside, you’ll find some of the most decadent, authentic, and filling Italian dishes in all of New York City. Buon appetito!
Piemonte Ravioli Co.
You’ll never cook a box of pasta again after tasting the handmade, homemade ravioli at Piemonte Ravioli Co. Established as a family company back in 1920, all pasta selections at Piemonte are made fresh on-location every day using centuries old recipes. Dine on their cozy patio while you sample every pasta you can think of. And with their dry pasta delivery services, you can send your favorite selection home right to your front door. As its name suggests, Piemonte is known specifically for its handmade and unique raviolis, so don’t leave without having a sample. The ravioli fillings range from standard cheese and spinach to lobster, veal, pumpkin, mushroom, and gorgonzola, and have made Piemonte a landmark restaurant for foodies of all tastes and palates.
If you’ve never had “the best cannoli in New York,” then you need to head to the corner of Broome and Mulberry straight to Caffe Roma. Since 1891, this family-owned and operated cafe boasts bold and creamy fresh espresso, hand-made gelato, famous cannolis, and homemade Italian cheesecake. Bring your sweet tooth to indulge in these fine Italian pastries, and prepare to be treated like famiglia when you walk through the front door.
Meet the oldest cheese shop in America, Alleva Dairy! Established in 1892 from Italian native Pina Alleva, this classic outpost is famous for producing and importing the highest-quality mozzarella and ricotta cheese you can find in the nation. Alleva Dairy is a great spot for a quick lunch or snack: Order a sandwich at the counter, grab homemade sauce from the cooler to take home or indulge hot mozzarella sticks right out of the oven. There’s even a gelato counter out front and plenty of Italian groceries inside. Whatever you choose, be sure to keep an eye on the walls where you’ll find historical photographs and advertisements from the shop’s humble beginnings.
Indulge in five generations of Italian desserts at Ferrara cafe, where the tartufo, cannoli, sfogliatella, and gelato recipes are tinkered and improved upon every day. That’s right–each pastry behind the sprawling, bustling bakery counter at Ferrara’s evolves over time, except of course, their Italian cheesecake, who’s proprietary recipe hasn’t changed in two hundred years. Enjoy freshly-ground espresso or dessert wine from Ferrara’s substantial menu full of Italian dessert classics, all of which are delivered via table service with an air of fine dining.
Established in 1919, Puglia was named after Puglia itself, the small Italian town in which the founder, Georgio Garafalo, was born and raised. After 103 years in business, Puglia still offers classic Italian dinners and, of course, nostalgic decor throughout the storefront. Head in with an empty stomach and order from a wide variety of pasta, pizzas, soups, salads, desserts and Italian wine. Puglia also offers a pre-fixed 4-course menu, ideal for any traveler dining on a budget.
Di Palo’s Fine Foods
Pedaling fine imported Italian cheeses and specialty meats, Di Palo’s Fine Foods is the place to be for cured meats, pastas, and homemade Italian sauces. Di Palo’s is also a destination for Italian groceries in authentic Italian packaging, for those interested in a taste of what Italians keep in the pantry. The Di Palo family prides themselves on customer service, and ensures that each guest leaves knowing more about Italy than they did walking in. Trust them, they quite literally “wrote the book on it”–Di Palo’s Guide To The Essential Foods In Italy is the unofficial Bible for cuisine and recipes across Italy’s twenty distinct regions.
Craving more of what New York has on offer? Check out Around the World in New York: A Neighborhood Itinerary