The Non-Touristy Guide to Eating in New York’s Little Italy



When it comes to Manhattan’s tourist traps, Little Italy has sadly earned a spot at the top of the list. The area saw its heyday in the early 1900s, when tens of thousands of Italians called these cobbled roads home. Since then, Chinatown has all but swallowed up the neighborhood, and tenement dwelling families have long been replaced with deep-pocketed professionals.   

It also doesn’t help that the few remaining restaurants annoyingly troll for diners in the streets, and find themselves landlocked by gift shops on both sides. Fortunately, if you know exactly where to look, you can still experience a vestige of the old world nestled between the soggy pasta and commercialized cannoli.

Take Lombardi’s, for example. Sure, it’s a well-known tourist destination but unlike much of Little Italy, it’s earned its status for good reason. Established in 1905, it holds the title for the first pizzeria in the United States and makes a solid pie that’s beloved by New Yorkers and visitors alike.

And who can forget about dessert? Ferrara – America’s first espresso bar – also calls Little Italy home and has been dishing up sweet treats in the same Grand Street location since 1892. So while there may not be unlimited options for good eats along Mulberry Street, don’t let that dissuade you from giving the ones that are there a more-than-deserving chance.




A New York institution, DiPalo's holds court on the corner of Mott and Grand Street in the heart of Little Italy. A number of smart New York restaurants source their cheese from this mom-and-pop grocery, but that's only one of the reasons why...  Read More




Despite the name, The Butcher's Daughter is a juice bar and espresso stand that caters to the non-dairy, non-carnivorous crowd. The LA-esque menu features items like avocado toast, coconut yogurt or the shop's popular elixir shots - pressed...  Read More




Walking into The Mulberry Project, you can almost picture Frank Sinatra schmoozing with a beautiful lady in the corner booth. Hidden in plain view, this bespoke cocktail joint is easy to miss - keep an eye out for the unmarked red door and don't...  Read More


Ferrara Bakery and Café


Ferrara Bakery and Café opened its doors in 1892, the same year Ellis Island started welcoming new immigrants. Since then, nearly everything in New York has changed, except Ferrara's focus. From cannolis to cream puffs, gelato to Pignoli...  Read More


6
Nolita
Emporio


Helmed by alums of Italian resto, Aurora, Emporio is a Roman-inspired trattoria that serves up Neapolitan-style, thin crust pizzas and homemade pastas, made fresh on-site. Here's an insider tip: if you know what's good for you, you won't skip...  Read More




When Nolita's Peasant opened its doors, it did so to the applause of area residents, who craved a stylish alternative to the traditional Mulberry Street eateries. Everything is cooked in a wood-fired oven - the result a rustic, modern take on...  Read More


4
Nolita
Public


This hip eatery does all it can to defy definition. The space juxtaposes library items (book and card catalog shelves) with the cool, industrial aesthetics of a converted warehouse. Billed as free-spirited fusion, the fare incorporates...  Read More


3
Nolita
Rubirosa


Rubirosa is part of the new wave of Italian restaurants to hit the 'hood, but at first glance, you may think it's been here since the beginning. After finding the traditional red and white awning, step inside and come face-to-face with...  Read More




Although it's officially located in Nolita, Lombardi's is just a few steps from Mulberry Street and definitely worth the detour, especially for first-time visitors. This Spring Street restaurant was licensed by the city in 1905, officially...  Read More


Capri Ristorante
Photo courtesy of Paul Wagtouicz for Capri Ristorante


The newest kid on the block, Italian chef Franco Aliberti's Capri, opened in late March 2016 to rave reviews from critics and locals alike. Decorated in a 1960s throwback theme, the colorful tiles and wooden tables are meant to invoke the...  Read More


Map

Meet Andrea Wien

Andrea Wien was bitten by the travel bug from an early age, and has lived in New York, Seattle, Cleveland and Sydney, Australia since 2007.

When she's not traveling or planning a trip, you'll...  More About Andrea

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×

×