Best Places to Eat in Little Italy NYC - New York City Article

Little Italy NYC
Baby John, the Cannoli King at Caffe Palermo
Best Restaurants in Little Italy New York City 

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Best Restaurants in Little Italy New York City

Published Jun 12, 2019
Updated Jun 24, 2019

Buon Appetito! Dining in Little Italy NYC

Little Italy is one of NYC’s most iconic and established neighborhoods. It is also one of the city’s most colorful and traditional. Many of the restaurants and businesses here have been owned by the same families for generations. For that reason, many of the dishes served are from recipes handed down for decades. You won’t find a more authentic meal anywhere in the city!

The narrow but bustling streets still retain the charm they had over 100 years ago and create the perfect setting for a relaxing lunch, dinner and dessert. Buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries line the block and if you’re a fan of great architecture you’ll find much to be delighted about here.

Each year in September, Little Italy becomes the nerve center of the city as they hold the annual Feast of San Gennaro, a Salute to the Patron Saint of Naples. For 11 days over 1 million locals and visitors come to Little Italy to enjoy the festivities as well as the array of excellent and expertly prepared Italian fare.

In 2019, the festival will celebrate its 93rd year opening on September 12 and run through September 22. The festival runs along Mulberry Street between Houston Street and Canal Street, and on Grand Street between Mott and Baxter Streets.

Best Little Italy NYC Restaurants

No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to Little Italy! We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite Little Italy restaurants in this feature. Here you’ll find Lombardi’s, the first pizzeria in the U.S.; authentic old world Sicilian recipes at Paesano of Mulberry Street, Fine Italian dining at Il Cortile; find Little Italy’s best outdoor courtyard & garden at Da Nico; have some fun and “shake your napkin” at Puglia; and don’t forget Caffé Palermo is home to Baby John, the legendary Cannoli King!

Whether you start or end your culinary visit here, Caffé Palermo is a must-do NYC experience. Proprietor Baby John holds the well-deserved crown title of "Cannoli King" and his cannolis are the hands down, bona fide and certified best canollis you’ll ever eat! He uses the same magic on the rest of his pastries, including cheesecake, tiramisu and other tasty teats you won’t find anywhere else in the city. A wide variety of coffees and espressos round out the menu. For more than 46 years, Caffé Palermo has been providing the people of New York and the world over with the finest Italian pastries and best cannoli money can buy!

Founded in 1905, Lombardi’s holds the distinction of being the first pizzeria in the United States. Located at 32 Spring St., Lombardi’s Pizzeria still offers their original and beautiful smoky- crusted coal oven-baked pizza. Topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil, you can practically taste the history here! Other variations of pies and toppings are offered here, as well as fresh salads and savory calzones. Taste a slice of history at Lombardi’s, as locals and visitors have been dong since 1905!

Da Nico Ristorante offers fine Italian dining in a casual atmosphere. Their expansive outdoor garden has been a Little Italy centerpiece for more than 25 years. This family owned and operated Italian restaurant is a staple in the New York City dining community. They have proudly served countless native New Yorker's, celebrities and out of town visitors over the years. Da Nico Ristorante serves a wonderful array of homemade Italian dishes including individual brick oven pizzas, homemade pasta, fresh fish, steaks and lamb chops grilled to perfection. Come dine in or out with fabulous service in a fun family atmosphere.

Right in the heart of Little Italy, Il Cortile takes many years of rich family history and invites you to be part of it. Serving creative Italian dishes for more than 40 years with an extensive ala carte menu that is sure to appeal to even the pickiest pallets. Without a doubt, this is one of the best dining rooms in the City. The glass-enclosed garden room is also a must-do experience in NYC! The Esposito family continues the tradition of sparing nothing to provide the highest-quality ingredients in all of the dishes at Il Cortile.

Puglia is celebrating more than 100 years as a family-owned restaurant! They are still located in the same location at 189 Hester Street in Little Italy. Puglia is the region in Southern Italy from which Gregorio Garofalo, the restaurant’s original owner, immigrated. Today, Gregorio’s grandson Joey Garofalo is still serving the delicacies he made famous two generations ago and treating everyone like family. In addition to the fabulous and highly recognized Italian cuisine, Puglia is known for its live entertainment. Jorge Buccio and Debra Ente are crowd favorites and, after a few glasses of wine, successfully encourage everyone in attendance to “Get up and Shake your Napkin!” Come see what it’s all about. It’s a night you’ll never forget!

Old world Italian recipes are prepared traditionally and with love using only the freshest ingredients and served in a romantic candlelit setting at Paesano’s of Mulberry Street in Little Italy, New York City. You’ll feel as if you’re in Sicily! Paesano’s is open for lunch and dinner everyday and is one of the city’s very best Italian dining destinations. You’ll find exceptional veal, seafood, chicken, steak, vegetable and pasta dishes along with salads and a long list of delectable appetizers. Of course, Paesano’s also offers an exceptional wine list to compliment all menu choices.


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