NYC

Like a Local: Best Restaurants, Pizza and Food Shops in Little Italy, Bronx

by Tracy Kaler  |  Published June 2, 2017

For many, New York City’s “Little Italy,” triggers an image of the tourist-filled pocket that lies next to Chinatown. But Little Italy in the Bronx (also known as Arthur Avenue) is off the beaten path and most often overlooked, yet promises a more authentic experience than its Manhattan rival. This quintessential Bronx neighborhood feels frozen in time, as it overflows with small-town charm, wonderfully fresh food, and Italian tradition.

Little Italy, also known as Arthur Avenue in the Bronx (Photo by Leonard J. DeFrancisci via Wiki)

Hop on Metro North to Fordham Avenue and after a brief walk, you’ll be in the heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy. Arthur Avenue and 187th Street are the main arteries where local businesses remain the lifeblood of this vibrant neighborhood.

A must for any Italophile, Little Italy in the Bronx is miles away from the Lower Manhattan neighborhood by the same name, which you’ll notice as you wander through this hidden gem. Within moments of arrival, you’ll happen upon a slew of mom-and-pop food shops, Italian bakeries, gourmet delis, and pizzerias, so bring your appetite. For your eating pleasure, we’ve curated a list of some of the best restaurants, pizza, and food shops in Little Italy, Bronx.

Casa Della Mozzarella
Mouthwatering mozzarella like you’ve never tasted, cured meats, olives, and other imported Italian delicacies fill this small and narrow shop where crowds flock and lines linger. Don’t let the queues deter you – all good things are worth the wait and that’s no more evident than at Casa Della Mozzarella, especially when you take that first creamy, cheesy bite.

604 E 187th St

Borgatti’s Pasta

Lines get long at Borgatti's during the holiday season, photo by Tom M via Yelp.

Borgatti’s draws crowds during the holiday season. (Photo by Tom M via Yelp)

Handmade noodles are a staple in Italian cuisine and you won’t come across any fresher than at this petite, family-owned pasta shop. Recognized far and wide for its ravioli, Borgatti continues to produce pastas of the highest quality more than 80 years after its opening. Choose from fettuccine flavors like egg, spinach, mushroom, carrot, and squid ink. Beyond hand-crafted pasta, Borgatti sells San Marzano tomatoes, vinegars, dried pastas, sauces, and other Italian specialties. Arrive early, as this shop also draws crowds, especially on weekends and holidays.

632 E 187th St

Full Moon Pizza

While you won’t find table service or much seating at this uber-casual pizzeria, you will taste possibly some of the best pizza in the Bronx. Full Moon landed in the borough in 1976 and continues to craft New York-style pies as well as Sicilian pizza, focaccia, calzones, panini and other Italian fare. Slices are on the hefty side by New York standards – broccoli mushroom, chicken parmigiana, and artichoke spinach are a few of the stand-outs. But the no-fuss cheese pizza with its savory sauce and perfectly crisp crust keeps Bronxites returning time and time again.

600 E 187th St

Tino’s Deli

Make no mistake, only the hungry venture to Tino’s. Every nook and cranny of this Italian grocer and deli is packed with edibles, be it salads, domestic and imported cheese, brick-oven pizza, or take-out dishes like eggplant parmigiana and baked ziti. Hero lovers won’t want to miss Tino’s extensive sandwich selection. A house favorite is Tino’s Combo with ham, salami, provolone, mortadella, lettuce, tomato, roasted peppers, oil, and balsamic. If you’re counting calories, Alessandra’s Delicacy is on the lighter side with grilled chicken, broccoli rabe, and fresh mozzarella. Finish off with scoop of delectable tiramisu gelato, or grab some cannoli to go.

2410 Arthur Ave

Randazzo’s Seafood

Find imported fish from Italy at Randazzo's Seafood, photo by Tracy Kaler

Find imported fish from Italy at Randazzo’s Seafood. (Photo by Tracy Kaler)

Stop by this no-fuss shop to select red snapper, halibut, swordfish, oysters, whole lobsters, tiger shrimp, as well as octopus and bronzini imported from Italy. The staple has served the neighborhood for nearly a century and rightfully maintains its “best seafood shop” in the Bronx status to this day.

2327 Arthur Ave

Mario’s

A red-sauce frontrunner loved by locals and visitors alike, Mario’s serves up Italian classics with a side of old-school charm. Clams oreganata, calamari fritti, lasagna, and veal saltimbocca are just a few of the dishes you’ll encounter on the extensive menu. Barely noticeable in the antipasti section is the Margherita pizza, but Mario’s version is considered among the best New York-style pies in the borough.

2342 Arthur Ave

Artuso’s Pastry

Heavenly Italian pastries line the shelves of this nationally-recognized bake shop, which began as a single storefront and now takes up half a city block. Indulge in sfogliatelle, pasticiotti, pignoli, or biscotti in an array of flavors, not to mention decadent tarts, specialty cakes, and cupcakes. Can’t decide? Satiate your sweet tooth with a sugary selection to go.

670 E 187th St

Trattoria Zero Otto Nove

The Margherita pizza at Trattoria Zero Otto Nove is one of the best in the Bronx. (Photo by Jenn R via Yelp)

The Margherita pizza at Trattoria Zero Otto Nove is one of the best in NYC. (Photo by Jenn R via Yelp)

For one of the tastiest pizza Margheritas in New York City, stop in this old-world Italian trattoria. Baked in a Neapolitan wood-fired oven, the pizzas are the perfect combination of flavorful, crispy, and chewy. If a pie is not what you’re craving, Zero Otto Nove excels at other Italian dishes too. Choose from a list of first courses like Zuppa di Vongole (Mediterranean clams with cherry tomatoes & fresh squeezed lime); and Calamari alla Peperonata (sauteed calamari with yellow, red peppers, black olives & capers ). And for carb-hungry pasta lovers, Cavatelli al Tegamino (baked with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil); and Rigatoni e Zucca (butternut squash, peas and porcini mushrooms) are sure to satisfy.

2357 Arthur Ave

De Lillo

Brothers Rocco and Joe DeLillo founded this pasticceria in 1925 and have been baking decadent Italian pastries ever since. Enter to the pleasant aroma of fresh coffee, ideal for sipping alongside muffins, exquisitely decorated cakes, and rainbow cookies. For dessert enthusiasts, a luscious lobster tail with a perfectly frothed cappuccino could be the ultimate treat, and for coffee addicts, perhaps a hazelnut latte alone will do. Eat your dessert in the cafe or grab a selection of sweet treats for takeout.

610 E 187th St

Mike’s Deli

Considered the original “Arthur Avenue Italian Deli,” Mike’s delivers a legendary Italian sub, not to mention phenomenal Eggplant Parmigiana that won owner David Greco the title in celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Throwdown competition. Located in the Arthur Avenue Retail Food Market, this casual sit-down spot vends hot and cold foods such as cured meats, fresh breads, cheeses, dried pastas, and the chef’s own line of sauces, as well as a host of imported Italian ingredients including truffle products. Time it right, and you might witness Greco crafting his renowned buffalo mozzarella.

2344 Arthur Ave

Antonio’s Trattoria

Enjoy the hearty wild boar ragu and pappardelle at Antonio's Trattoria. (Photo by Antonio's)

Enjoy the hearty wild boar ragu and pappardelle at Antonio’s Trattoria. (Photo by Antonio’s)

Know where to look or you’ll skip this homestyle Italian eatery where classics like arancini, wild boar ragu and pappardelle, gnocchi, fruitti di mare (the house favorite), and other Italian fare emerge from the kitchen each evening. Tucked in between 187th and Arthur Avenue, Antonio’s puts out family-size portions, making it an ideal spot to share plates, dine with a group, or walk away with leftovers for another meal. Spoiler: The tiramisu is rumored to be some of the best in New York City.

2370 Belmont Ave

Roberto’s

Also tucked in an unlikely spot off Arthur Avenue, this destination restaurant from Salerno-born chef Roberto Paciullo attracts diners from near and far. Hearty antipasti dishes like Cotechino con Fagioli e Broccoli di Rapa (Northern Italian sausage, cannellini beans, and sautéed broccoli rabe), and Antipasto alla Pescatore (clams and mussels with fresh tomato and garlic) make for an excellent start. Move on to main courses like the Risotto al Barolo (Italian Arborio rice cooked in a Barolo wine with radicchio and taleggio cheese), and for carnivores, the Bistecca alla Peroni (Rib steak topped with cherry peppers and gorgonzola cheese in a Peroni beer sauce). Pair a bottle from Roberto’s diverse wine list; you have countless choices from regions around the world, with the largest concentration from Italy.

603 Crescent Ave

Related Posts on TravelMag.com