I could eat Italian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So when my Uncle came over to drop off Christmas presents and told us about his recent trip to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, I had to go and see it for myself. We called my Aunt Nancy in the short 40 minute car ride from my parent’s house and she gave us the insider scoop on where to purchase the best breads, salami, cheeses and pastas. I absolutely loved this charming neighborhood. After all, the stores and owners haven’t changed in over 50 years. We left with tons of goodies and even picked up a little New York accent which lasted the entire car ride home. Youz guyz really have to check it out!
Ask any New Yorker about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and you get either puzzlement or a flood of loving sentiment about the real Little Italy of New York, the best place for bread, pasta, meat, pastries,espresso machines, the only place to buy Italian sausage, and more. The paradox is real: Many New Yorkers never heard of the place, while for others it’s home away from home … although it is often a well-kept secret.
- Arthur Avenue Indoor Market (founded by Mayor Laguardia in 1940). Check it out for the scene and expresso machines.
- Addeo Bakery. There are two locations and my Aunt said she finds the bread is better at the location behind the Indoor Market (less crowded too!). Buy the pizza dough and a fresh loaf of crusty Italian bread here.
- Casa della Mozzarella. Purveyor of the best Italian cheeses around. Buy dry mozzarella for making pizza. The parmegiano reggiano is some of the best I’ve ever had.
- Borgatti’s Pasta Shop. They’ve been making pasta in this location for over 70 years. Enough said. Purchase the small ravioli (it’s still quite large) and the spinach tagliatelle. You can choose from a variety of pasta gages (we chose #2).
- Instead of buying Cannolis, make your own Cannoli dip…another secret from my Aunt. Try this recipe.
- Zero Otto Nove. Authentic Italian fare at its finest.
Quickly becoming as mandatory a stop on the tri-state pizza-pilgrim map as Coney Island’s Totonno’s and New Haven’s Pepe’s, Zero Otto Nove is not only a pizzeria but a sprawling trattoria with an expansive menu and a pretty impressive pasta al forno. The Neapolitan wood-fired-oven pizza, though, is the thing. It’s light and puffy-lipped, tender to the bite with just a hint of chew, nicely balanced, and topped with first-rate ingredients. Purists will want to try the margherita ($13.95), of course, made according to strict Neapolitan-pizza-police guidelines, with buffalo mozzarella. But don’t forgo the relatively outré La Riccardo ($13.95)—smoked mozzarella, pancetta, and butternut-squash purée.
Non riesco a sopportare quelli che non prendono seriamente il cibo.
– Oscar Wilde (I can’t stand people that do not take food seriously.)