The best mornings are the ones with memorable food. Therefore, your morning exploration of Little Italy begins at Egg Shop, where food is beyond great and original. The restaurant has become so popular that it spread into two additional locations in SoHo and Williamsburg. There’s even a cookbook that lists out the restaurant’s signature dishes and breakfast cocktails. And all this based on Egg Shop’s love for the taste and art of the egg. Egg Shop has more than 15 dishes that offer a variety of versions of eggs such as the Spandex (poached egg, miso quinoa, roasted pumpkin seed and goji berry), and Fish Out of the Water (smoked salmon, pickled egg, cucumber, fresh dill, caper berry mustard on rye).
There’s a long, dark and deep history to Little Italy, a major hotbed for organized crime for many decades. The fact leads you to Umberto’s Clam House, where famed gangster Joe Gallo was assassinated. The place also happens to be one of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Umberto’s has become famous for its calamari, clams, scungilli and mussels above anything else, but it also offers some impressive seafood risotto and shrimp Francese.
The most famed street in the city – next to Broadway – may just be Mulberry Street. The street has so much history, given how it was at the very core of the infamous Five Points in the early 20th century. In the late 1700’s, the street was the center of slaughterhouses. Today, the street maintains much of its original architecture, and is filled to the brim with restaurants and Italian food stores. The biggest landmark on the street is the 1885 Puck Building.
When in Rome, eat like the Romans do. When in Little Italy, pay a visit to DiPalo's Fine Foods. The long-time Italian deli has the best cured meats in the city, hands down. The shop also features incredible homemade burrata and truffle cheese. But you can’t leave the deli without order the famous DiPalo’s porchetta (slow-roasted pork). I’m yet to leave DiPalo’s without two bags filled with pure deliciousness.
Banca Stabile Building (one of the oldest banks in the area, built in 1885), houses the Italian-American Museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving the culture of Italian-Americans and detailing the struggles the Italian immigrants experienced in the city. On display are oral histories, documents, home objects, and artwork that detail the Italian journey in America. The museum also points out the many important individuals in the Italian-American history such as Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio.
The food in Little Italy is a competitive marketplace, and hands down an experience like no other. There are so many choices for Italian food - from Rubirosa, to Da Nico Ristorate, Ill Palazzo, Lombardi’s and Capri. Tonight, you opt for Vincent’s. The family-style eatery offers authentic Italian food in a modest setting. Vincent’s claim to fame are their unforgettable lobster ravioli and linguine with red clam sauce. If you’re in the mood for even more real Italian experience, go for the gnocchi, the homemade lasagna or the homemade meatballs.
You are in Little Italy, which naturally means you need to visit Ferrara Bakery & Cafe to savor the best pastries you’ll ever taste. Ferrara’s has a house-made gelato that will blow your socks off. As you step inside you notice long lines of people lining up for a chance to grab some fresh sweets like the eclair, cream truffles and pasticciotto crema (fluted tart of pasta frolla, filled and baked with a light lemon custard cream). Above all else, you can’t leave this place without trying out the lobster tail.
The Feast of San Gennaro originally started as one-day celebration, only to transform into today’s weeklong event filled with music, food, and treats. The feast has become popular that it expanded into other parts of the country – Las Vegas, Hollywood and Seattle. It’s also been featured in “The Sopranos,” “Mean Streets,” “The Godfather Part II” and "Laverne & Shirley.” Walk around and take in the lights, the sights and the scenery. Have your own feast from one of the rows of food stands with zepoles and sausage & pepper sandwiches.
The night scene in petite Little Italy isn’t quite as vast as in other New York City neighborhoods. But the drinks at The Randolph at Broome give the neighborhood some credibility. They serve some great classic cocktails such as Pimm’s cup and signature drinks like Michael Derry (Stella Artois, vodka and lemon juice). With the rustic settings, the atmosphere is chic and trendy – there’s events happening weekly so be on the lookout for them.