Best of Little Italy

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Oct 26th, 2011, 04:29 AM
  #21
 
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Ferrara is the bakery famous for cannoli and cheesecake.


http://www.ferraracafe.com/home.php


Personally, I avoid restaurants that employ a tout to stand outside to lure patrons. You will find a guy like this outside many restaurants in the shrinking area that is known as Little Italy.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 04:40 AM
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ekscrunchy, which of the four restaurants above "employ a tout to stand outside to lure patrons"?
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Oct 26th, 2011, 04:41 AM
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"Il Cortile, La Mela, Sophia's and Puglia"
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Oct 26th, 2011, 05:09 AM
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There are touts all along those stretches. I don't know if the latter three places that you mention employ them but I will check next time I am there if you are interested. Il Cortile will not have a tout and reports of the food are not bad. I can't even find the others in the print Zagat guide.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 05:45 AM
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The best place in Little Italy is not a restaurant but an Italian provision store, DiPalo.

They have the most wonderful selection and quality of Italian cheeses and cured meats. You can have all the restaurants in Little Italy for one slice of their imported prosciutto with store made Mozzarella. Of course, they have a hundred other cheeses that smell wonderful and enticing.

http://www.dipaloselects.com/

Each to their own. It is a zoo on weekends.

Alleva a block away is pretty darn good also.
http://allevadairy.com/

And just a few blocks from there is Despana which makes the finest chorizo I have tasted in the United States and they have a small selection of tapas in the back with a few tables.

If they had their own Euro coin, it would imprinted with cheese and meat.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 06:27 AM
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I'll back the naysayers on Little Italy, as all reports suggest it's a tourist trap food-wise. Lombardi's is going to be your best bet here, and while their pizza is indeed good, I prefer other spots for this item.

Re being a "tourist," I don't consider part of my tourist experience anywhere to include eating bad food or patronizing places that might pull "clip joint" tactics, like sticking extra unexplained charges on the bill (as in Boston's North End, it's from all reports wise to scrutinize your check carefully in Little Italy spots and challenge any charges that seem suspicious). Life and funds are too short. And my experience also suggests that restaurants with touts trying to wave people in are lousy -- I haven't found an exception so far -- and that's also common here.

No reason not to wander around Little Italy, of course. But with the exception of Lombardi's, I'd recommend eating elsewhere, such as neighboring Chinatown.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 06:45 AM
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Well, we are making some progress here. We've gone past "Go elsewhere!" to actually making some suggestions. That's a good thing

I've wandered through Little Italy with relatives from home who wanted to eat IN Little Italy. We wandered in a restaurant, had a meal. It was okay. They were happy. All's well that ends well. They weren't looking for The Best Italian meal in NYC. They wanted to eat in Little Italy. I honestly don't see anything wrong with that. They also shopped the vendors selling knock-off purses. I do have a problem with that, but I am neither their parent nor guardian.

I was back less than 6 months later in the dead of winter and wandered in a random restaurant. Had a delicious lunch of mussels with wine and excellent service. IMO there's no problem for not wanting to eat in Little Italy, especially if you have favorite restaurants in your neighborhood. But I also don't see the problem with a visitor to the city wanting to eat in Little Italy.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 07:03 AM
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To each his own.

For this West Coaster, New York's Chinatown restaurants - sucks.

I once went specifically to a very highly recommended (on Chowhound) restaurant for XLB and it was the most inauthentic XLB one could ever get.

Past and subsequent experiences in NY Chinatown confirm that a lot of their restaurants lack authenticity and their food don't exactly taste great. Good maybe, but not great.

If you want to be a tourist diner, go to Little Italy and avoid Chinatown.

OTOH, I did find a very authentic Munich bar-restaurant in Lower Manhattan where they served weissbier from tap and even had weisswurst - but served like a hot dog (hahah!)...and at night. Wish I could remember the name, because that's one place in NY I'd go back to in a heartbeat.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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A local took me to a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown.
It was okay, not great.

A local took me to a Chinese restaurant in Oakland.
It was great!

I'm glad I had both experiences.

I just don't see the problem with a TOURIST wanting to eat in a place they have heard of for years. It's a meal...not a lifetime committment.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 07:09 AM
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This one??


http://loreleynyc.com/
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Oct 26th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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I have not been to Ferrara's in many, many years, but it was one of my all-time favorite places in the entire world when I was a child/teenager/young twenties. Assuming that it hasn't changed (and it doesn't look like it from the website) the pastry really is very, very good and it is an interesting experience. It is also a good example of a place that New Yorkers may dismiss as touristy, but is very far from terrible, and is a remnant of a really vanished city.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:10 AM
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I agree. There are places that have been around for years and continue to attract many tourists, and many locals, because they have retained the quality that made their reputation in the first place. Katz is one example. The fabulous and wonderful DiPalo is another. The bakeries of Arthur Avenue attract knowledgeable tourists but they are also in that category. Most, if not all, restaurants in Little Italy are not. I don't know about Ferrara because have not been there in decades. But how bad could ricotta cheesecake be??
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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Ferrara's is fun. And I had a really good sandwich (proscuitto, soprassata, provolone on delicious italian bread) and rice ball in an italian store in Little Italy (sorry, I can't remember the name of it but it could be the one Aduchamp mentioned). All I remember is that it was on a corner near Ferraras.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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Starrs
You mentioned four restuarants in Little Italy

"Il Cortile, La Mela, Sophia's and Puglia"

When was the last time you ate at them and what you recommned?
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I do not trust any on-line restaurant review like Yelp, Chowhound, and especially Trip Advisor, etc. especially for ethnic food. I trust individual reviews like on these fora, especially when they are less than a year old.

We are very close to a Chinese-American family and we go where they go, for the most part. The food is better in Flushing, Queens and due to competition, it is improving in the Manhattan Chinatown.

When I first started going to Chinatown in SF, thirty years there were places that served Parker House rolls with the meals. It is improved greatly since then. But the best Chinese food, for me in the United States in Monterey Park, a largely Asian-American community near Los Angeles.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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There is absolutely NO comparison between restaurants in Little Italy and Arthur Avenue.

While tourists may visit Arthur Avenue, it is a vibrant area frequented by local [and that encompasses a wide radius reaching far into suburbia] who shop and eat there on a very regular basis.

Little Italy may have been like that decades ago, but is now clearly a tourist oriented stop. There is nothing wrong with tourists doing tourist things; we all have done exactly that while visiting areas [especially on first trips].

But when someone returns for a 2nd or 3rd visit, they often seek to leave the obvious for the more subtle both in terms of sites, restaurants, experiences etc. Yet some prefer to do the exact same things over and over again. Viva la difference.

Eat,drink and be merry - whether at a tourist locale, or one where the locals go. Life is too short...
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:33 AM
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"Little Italy may have been like that decades ago, but is now clearly a tourist oriented stop. There is nothing wrong with tourists doing tourist things; we all have done exactly that while visiting areas [especially on first trips]."

I agree.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Starrs

I do not think you have ever eaten at the restuarants that you recommended for Little Italy and have probably not been in NYC in at last two, three years, yet you insist on arguing with people who live and use the city every day.

As you would say interesting.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:43 AM
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Hi, ek!

Thanks for trying!

No, this one. Finally found it! A real bit of Bavaria!

http://www.lederhosennyc.com/index.shtml

If you're a big party sit in the back, otherwise, the best place is at the bar in front where you can watch all the behind-the-bar action.

If you don't want to get too drunk on beer, try the Radler.


Talking about Italian restaurants not in Little Italy. Last trip to NY, I had an incredible deal-meal at a restaurant called Intermezzo.

http://intermezzonyc.com/

During their early-bird prix fixe (stops at 6:30pm or 7pm), I had a whole bowl of mussels as appetizer and a meat dish (want to say veal scallopini) for less than $20, which is a real deal anywhere, but especially in New York. Great taste - and I know my mussels!

Like I've said, lots of great neighborhood places to eat in New York!

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Oct 26th, 2011, 08:53 AM
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Adu, well you would be wrong on all of those guesses. You seemed obsessed about my visits to NYC which I do find interesting. I've been visiting regularly since 1990 and have dined with a half dozen Fodorites in the "last two, three years,". You've made it clear that you don't like me posting on NYC threads and despite your territorial attitude, I simply don't care and will continue to post. Sorry. I'm sure that disappoints you.
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Oct 26th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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I'm not a New Yorker, but I played one on vacation a few weeks ago. After our visit to the Tenement Museum, we were starving and since Little Italy was close by, we walked over there for a quick bite. We had lunch at La Mela. It was nothing to write home about. I wouldn't recommend it to someone planning a trip to NYC, but if you stop in, the Rigatoni Bolognese was fine.

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