New York has a long-lasting relationship with Italian food, but lately it feels more like a torrid affair. Most of the city’s new restaurant boast an Italian inflection, from grocery stores to enotecas. We’ve handpicked a weekend’s worth of new--and classic--favorites.
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Torrisi Italian Specialties
This tightly packed space bridges classic and new-school Italian food--prepared, remarkably, without any Italy-born ingredients. By day, there are hefty subs, including garlicky roast turkey and textbook chicken parm; by night, it serves a decidedly modern take on Sunday suppers.
Do: Keep an eye out for Torrisi’s neighboring sandwich shop, Parm, which opens soon.
250 Mulberry St.; 212-965-0955 or piginahat.com
Part sprawling food court, part luxe Italian superstore, Mario Batali’s Flatiron establishment offers plenty of hard-to-source ingredients from afar, and several full-service restaurants. As if it weren’t big enough already, a new rooftop beer garden, La Birreria, opens this spring. Expect proprietary beers made in a copper-clad brewing system, and a meat-heavy menu.
Do: Pick up picnic provisions, like just-baked loaves of pane rustico bread and creamy Taleggio, and head to Madison Square Park for an al fresco feast.
200 Fifth Ave.; 212-229-2560 or eatalyny.com
Di Fara Pizza
Since 1964, Domenico De Marco has been making thin, chewy Neapolitan pizzas in his fluorescent-lit Brooklyn pie shop. And it’s well worth $5 for a slice topped with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil and basil. Dom recently renovated the space--which means a fresh coat of green paint and new linoleum floors--but thankfully, his pizzas have remained unchanged.
Go: Dom closes the store between 4:30 and 6 p.m. each day, so plan your trip accordingly.
1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn; 718-258-1367 or difara.com
Explore Little Italy at your own pace with this downloadable DIY audio tour. Narrated by actor-comedian Vinny Vella, it gives you the backstory on everything from bullets to buffalo mozzarella. Vella’s hilarious, expletive-ridden commentary is interspersed with excerpts from neighborhood characters, including Moe the Butcher.
Pit Stop: It’s not on the tour, but stop by Di Palo Fine Foods for tangy house-made mozzarella.
Book a room at this shabby-chic hotel for its proximity to Little Italy and its bohemian charm. The hotel restaurant, Gemma, is a rustic Italian brasserie that serves excellent fritto misto.
Borrow: The hotel has eight cherry-red bikes with wire baskets for exploring the 'hood (and stashing your finds).
335 Bowery; 212-505-9100 or theboweryhotel.com