Residents of the Bronx proudly proclaim Arthur Avenue as New York City’s real Little Italy. And, by all accounts, it is.
Italian immigrants began pouring into the borough’s Belmont neighborhood in the early 1900s, when construction began on the nearby Bronx Zoo and New York Botanic Garden. They found work in these new developments, settled in the area, and began to open businesses there. They set up shop along a street called Arthur Avenue, opening family-run restaurants and stores.
Today, Arthur Avenue is packed with many of the same family businesses that existed some 100 years ago. The pizza-and-pasta-lined promenade is a treat for carb-loving locals and visitors alike. Aside from its legendary specialty shops, like Biancardi’s Meat Market and Cosenza’s Fish Market (where you can knock back a few oysters right on the sidewalk), the neighborhood is teeming with good eats in the form of restaurants and bakeries. Ahead, our picks for what to savor on your next trip.
Chicken Francese and Margherita Pizza at Mario’s
Like many of the restaurants on Arthur Avenue, Mario’s is a century-old institution. Waltzing through its doors feels like taking a step back in time—the classic Italian restaurant has long banquettes, double table cloths, and an abundance of old-world charm. There’s not a wrong choice on the menu, but there is a must-have: chicken francese, a delectable chicken breast that’s egg-battered and tossed with lemon, butter sauce, and wine. If you don’t fill up on pasta and chicken, you’ll want to try the margherita pizza, calamari fritti, potato croquettes, and spinach gnocchi. mariosarthurave.com
Breadsticks from Addeo Bakery
A family-owned fixture in the neighborhood for more than 80 years, Addeo Bakery is the prime spot to score fresh italian breads, doughs, and biscuits. Don’t miss adding an order of breadsticks onto your order: the crunchy morsels are seriously addicting. Go for the sesame-seeded ones. addeobakers.com
Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli from Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles
The Borgatti family makes noodles by hand and lovingly crafts little pillows of ravioli at their eponymous shop. We’re partial to the pumpkin-and-ricotta stuffed ravioli, but there are also options filled with spinach, meat, and more. The store’s handmade fettuccine comes in 10 flavors, including squid ink, tomato, carrot, mushroom, and basil, while cavatelli is sold by the pound. For an even more indulgent treat, stuffed manicotti comes by the tray, with four shells ready to bake. borgattis.com
Smoked Mozzarella from Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market
There’s mozzarella, and then there’s mozzarella from Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. On any given trip, you’re bound to see a cheesemonger stretching out a hunk of mozzarella behind counter—and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a shout from owner Dave Greco himself, who’s appeared on Throwdown! With Bobby Flay. The deli also serves fresh mozzarella, burrata, and a host of other cheeses, not to mention delicious Italian sandwiches made to order. Once you’re sufficiently stuffed, swing by the Bronx Beer Hall, just a few steps over, for a pint of blueberry ale. arthuravenue.com
Fresh Olives from Teitel Brothers
All of the independent grocers along Arthur Avenue are worth a stop, but you’ll want to pick up fresh olives and nuts from Teitel Brothers, a Bronx institution. Established in 1915 by Jewish immigrants, the store is in its third generation of owners, and sells a wide variety of gourmet Italian specialty items. While you’re there, you can peruse the extensive selection of pastas, cheeses, pestos, olive oils, tomato sauces, beans, and canned fish. And classic Italian sweets like galletti and wafer cookies make a perfect snack for the train ride home. teitelbros.com