New York City is a cultural mecca. Where such diversity thrives, restaurants pop up to cater to the unique tastes of each cultural palette. And where this diversity merges over time, restaurants will begin to add their own unique twists to traditional foods in order to represent an array of tastes that will appeal to the multi-cultural clientele. That is why it is easy to find great traditional foods in New York City from a wide selection of different cultures. And it is also why New York City offers modern restaurants that provide foods which fuse the traditions of various cultures to create great meals.
Take, for example, Italian food in New York City. The Italian culture is as much a part of New York City as the statute of liberty is. This means that you can find an astounding selection of traditional Italian family restaurants offering everything from that famous New York pizza to foods straight out of Old World kitchens. At the same time, you can also find modern Italian fine dining which not only provides traditional plates but also offers American, Mediterranean and other influences to create a new sensation for your gastronomical senses to indulge in.
New York City’s Little Italy
You don’t have to scour the entire city of New York to find the great Italian restaurants located there. You simply need to go to the part of the city where the majority of them are located. That part is, of course, New York’s Little Italy. Cobblestone streets offer the ambience that will make you feel as though you are walking through the real Italy. If you get a chance to go there in September, you can enjoy the tastes of many different restaurants at the San Gennaro Festival. But no matter when you go, every restaurant in Little Italy offers that great Italian food that you are seeking.
Here are some of the Little Italy restaurants to keep an eye out on your trek through this famous New York neighborhood. Note that they’re all located on Mulberry Street which is the restaurant row of this area but that other great Italian restaurants can be found on surrounding streets.
Amici II – This is a true family-owned Italian restaurant that will probably live up to your ideals when you imagine in a Little Italy comfort spot.
Casa Bella Ristorante – There are three different dining rooms here but you might want to wait for the outdoor seating that is hard to come by but worth the delay.
Da Nico – Little Italy visitors who are seeking a basic pizza-and-pasta restaurant will want to walk until they’ve reached this spot on Mulberry Street.
Il Palazzo – Many people go to Italian restaurants in large part because they love that bread that comes to the table before the meal. With three different types to choose from and Italian-style olive oil to dip it in, you won’t be disappointed at this restaurant if that’s the style you love.
Pellegrino’s – Italian food lovers who like traditional dishes like chicken parmesan will enjoy the menu at this Little Italy favorite.
Umberto’s Clam House – If what you’re really seeking out is Italian food that focuses on the seafood dishes of the culture then this is the Little Italy restaurant that you’re going to have in mind.
New York City’s Pizza
Franny’s – This Brooklyn pizza joint offers the best pizza for those who like a thin crust.
Grimaldi’s – There are many different styles of pizza in New York but if you’ve never had coal oven pizza then this is the time to try it!
Lombardi’s Pizzeria – Do you imagine an Italian pizza place that’s got candles and checkerboard tablecloths for décor? If so, treat yourself to pizza at this place.
Una Pizza Napoletana – Spending time in the East Village? You’ll think that you’re eating pizza in Italy at this place.
New York City’s Best Fine Dining
You’re not going to want to eat pizza for every meal. Sometimes you’ll want to get all dressed up and go out to a nicer spot. New York has numerous terrific fine dining Italian restaurants. And no, they’re not all in Little Italy. Here are some of the other great restaurants that you might like to enjoy:
Acqua at Peck Slip – Located in the South Street Seaport Historic District, this upscale restaurant provides a setting that makes you feel almost as though you’re on the Italian water front.
Babbo – Many people want to make sure that they eat at a well-known, celebrity-chef restaurant while they’re in New York. Babbo is such a place. It’s also popular because of that and requires reservations well in advance but the atmosphere and the foods are worth the extra planning required.
Ennio and Michael – This is a well-known Italian restaurant which tends to be frequented by the low profile celebrity and the trendy tourist.
John’s of 12th Street – People in New York always liked John’s because it has great food and great ambience. However, it gained particular attention after being featured in Italian favorite TV show The Sopranos. It is now that nice Italian restaurant that you go to in order to do some celebrity-sighting while enjoying your meal.
Lupa – This Manhattan restaurant provides a unique American modern twist on traditional Italian plates. For example, you might order a pasta with a cauliflower sauce or fish with pear and radicchio.
PT Restaurant – The most outstanding feature of this Brooklyn restaurant is that the menu is based on fresh and seasonal foods. Modern diners interested in the local market movement will favor a restaurant such as this one. It’s also popular because of the cozy but upscale atmosphere it provides to diners.
Vespa Restaurant – This is one of those Italian restaurants that has great traditional Italian dishes but also offers plates that put a twist on those old familiar favorites. The twist here is Mediterranean so it’ll all taste Italian but may differ slightly from what you’re used to. There’s a tasting bar that’s highly popular where you can sample seasonal foods with complimentary wines.
Eating Italian In New York City
It’s difficult not to want to spend every minute in New York eating since the restaurants here are all so delicious. Since you can’t do that, you’ll want to choose wisely among the many Italian restaurants that the city has to offer. Keep your eye out for those annual food festivals that will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy multiple restaurants in one location.