For years, Little Italy (located in the center of everything in lower Manhattan) was the prime destination for true Italian cuisine. Indeed, a visit to Mulberry Street, with its bustling crowds and loud restaurant hosts beckoning patrons to try the many restaurants that lined the street, was both a cultural and gastronomic experience wrapped into one.
As is the way with New York City, the neighborhood has changed, and in fact, after the turn of this century, changes to the demographic of downtown, rising rents and gentrification have threatened the very existence of the neighborhood as a hub of Italian cuisine. However, like so many comeback stories, don’t count this neighborhood out just yet. While it’s still possible to be served an old-school eggplant parmesan and chianti meal, a new food scene is emerging along Mulberry Street and beyond, and it’s not to be missed.
Listed below are just a few of the many places to check out in Little Italy.
This Australian cafe on Mott Street specializes in millennial favorites, such as avocado toast, and burgers and fries.
This eatery channels a retro vibe, with modern lunch counters and comfortable booths, and serves diner classics with a sophisticated twist.
A family owned and operated restaurant dating back to 1919, Puglia is a popular destination for not only those looking to try traditional Italian meals, but for diners wanting to be entertained as well. Live music and party packages are just a few of the amenities included here, and are some that keep both tourists and locals coming back time and time again.
This retro luncheonette serves up hand-rolled and baked on premise bagels, as well as other standard Jewish fare, including blintzes, knishes and egg creams.
It is not uncommon for patrons to line up for as much as an hour to stock up on the quintessential Italian specialties at Di Palo’s. This market boasts a healthy selection of hanging cured meats, wheels of cheese and house-made ricotta cheese and pastas. Rest-assured, there’s plenty of free samples to nibble on while shopping, so customers should plan to come hungry.
Not all of the must-visit eateries in Little Italy are new. After all, when something is the best, it sustains. Ferrara Bakery has been offering up the best selection of Italian treats and sweets since 1892. In particular, the house-made cannoli is not to be missed.