If you ask an NYC local where to go for legitimate Italian food, they’ll send you to South Brooklyn, or maybe Arthur Avenue. Have you ever wondered why? This is because downtown Manhattan’s Little Italy is home to pricey, wildly mediocre and overrated restaurants packed with nostalgic tourists. Can’t deny it. We just don’t flock to the city’s Little Italy anymore, at least not to the Little Italy of today, at least not like we used to.
But for a minute or so, if you pretend that you’re back in the early 19th century and head to Little Italy’s outer limits, you’ll come to know that Little Italy has a lot of dolce vita left in it. If you manage to breeze past those tourist traps with their promises of gratuito chianti, you’ll find yourself in a pocket-sized swath of land packed with top-tier dining.
With something for every appetite, here’s how you do this neighborhood right.
Rubirosa Ristorante – for its thin, crisp and dripping-in-red-sauce pizza
Where: 235 Mulberry St, New York
Emilio’s Ballato – for deadpan waiters, unrestrained food and superb wine
Where: 55 E Houston St, New York
Ferrara – for dessert and espresso that have been served here since 1892
Where: 195 Grand St, New York
Lombardi’s – because Lombardi’s has been tossing pizzas since 1905
Where: 32 Spring St, New York
Aunt Jake’s – an oasis for fresh pasta, rigatoni, and house-made lamb ragu
Where: 151 Mulberry St, New York
Di Palo’s Fine Foods – for this gastronomic represents all 20 regions of Italy
Where: 200 Grand St, New York
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