Top 12 Restaurants in NYC's Little Italy You Need to Try

Make Sure You Come Hungry and Ready to Feast at These Little Italy Restaurants

To enjoy a hearty and authentic Italian meal in New York City, you need to push past the tourist traps in order to find the true gems. In Little Italy, there are numerous bars and restaurants offering the best risotto, lasagne, tiramisu, and cannolis. If you are a fan of hearty and authentic Italian food, Little Italy is a must-see area to visit the next time you are in the Big Apple. Let’s explore the best restaurants in Little Italy for your next big dinner.


Dining out in New York City isn’t cheap. If your favorite New Yorker has a birthday or celebration coming up, consider giving them a GiftYa virtual gift card. You can customize the amount you put on the card and also add a personal message. GiftYa cards are completely virtual, making it easy for your loved one to carry theirs with them.

1. Rubirosa

Popular Little Italy Restaurant Specializing in Old School American-Italian Cuisine

Rubirosa offers a wide assortment of savory and creative pizzas. Image courtesy of Rubirosa.

235 Mulberry St | Nolita | rubirosanyc.com

For a delicious and hearty meal, visit Rubirosa in Little Italy. Founded by AJ Pappalardo, the son of Joe & Pat’s founder Giuseppe Pappalardo, the restaurant was designed in a similar fashion to the old Manhattan eatery. A 57-year-old family recipe also served as the inspiration behind the founding of Rubirosa. Everyone, both new and old neighborhood visitors, is welcome inside Rubirosa’s cozy atmosphere. 

The restaurant offers an assortment of authentic Italian dishes, including their Farfalle in Pesto, Fusilli, Caprese Salad, and Pepperoni bread. Rubirosa also offers an extensive selection of pizza, such as the Fresca, Bianca, Sausage & broccoli Rabe, and Rubirosa Supreme. Diners can enjoy a small plate of the Eggplant Parmigiano or the Broccoli Rabe as an appetizer before moving on to a hearty pizza or entree. An extensive drink menu filled with wine, cider, and cocktails is also available to hungry restaurant patrons.

“Food wise I cannot rave enough about the tie dye pizza (obviously) and decided on a calamari app. Between the two of us, it would've been a perfect amount of food - the large pie (18' vs the small 14 in') thin pizza slices with soooo much flavor and a heaping portion of calamari.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Rubirosa. 

2. Il Cortile 

Family-Owned and Operated Italian Restaurant in Little Italy

The lobster served in any style is a fine choice. Image courtesy of Yelp.

125 Mulberry St | Little Italy | ilcortile.com

Il Cortile is a family-run Italian restaurant that has served as a leading eatery in Little Italy since 1975. To this day, the Esposito family remains dedicated to presenting an impressive and innovative menu to hungry New Yorkers. 

Guests can start their meal with one of Il Cortile’s signature cocktails, including the Espresso Martini, Coconut, Mojito, and Lemon Drop Martini. A fine selection of red and white wine is also available. To tide you over for your entree, order an appetizer or salad. Some of Il Cortile’s most popular restaurants include the Rigatoni Speciale, Pork Chops, and Chicken Marsala. For dessert, you have the selection of the Homemade Mini Cannoli, Gelato, Sorbetti Ripieno, and Bomba.

“They started out with a breadbasket of awesome bread and breadsticks and we got oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in...I got a chicken dish that was stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, and vegetables. Very tasty.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Il Cortile. 

3. The Original Little Italy Pizza

Classic Italian eatery in New York City

Try a delicious slice of their popular thin-crust pizza. Image courtesy of Yelp.

1 E 43rd St | Midtown East | littleitalyon43rd.com

Whether you are planning to order a creative pizza pie to share with friends at a small party or an entree to share with your partner on date night, The Original Little Italy has the perfect meal for all occasions. Try the Amalfi pizza, which is topped with eggplant oreganata, roasted peppers, and black olives. For something with meat, order the Firenze, which features miniature meatballs, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and broccoli. Sandwiches and pastas are also available. For something hearty and filling, order the Chicken Chipotle sandwich of the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Their ziti, stuffed shell pasta, and manicotti are also great choices.

“I come here mostly for the chipotle chicken slice and sometimes the grandma's special sicilian slice. But the chipotle chicken slice is out of control. It's consistently delicious and doesn't taste like any other chicken slice in NYC.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for The Original Little Italy Pizza. 

4. Benito One

Fresh-Made Pastas and Savory Appetizers Await You

Take in the stunning interior of Benito One. Image courtesy of Yelp.

174 Mulberry St | Little Italy | benitoone.com

Since its opening in 1968, Benito One has served as a staple in the Little Italy restaurant community. The second you step inside, you are welcomed with a warm and inviting atmosphere and restaurant that is lined with family photos of the Benito family. Share a plate of garlic bread or stuffed mushrooms with the rest of your table or order a soup and salad to tide you over until your entree is ready. Speaking of entrees, Benito One offers a wide selection of pasta, poultry, seafood, and veal.

“Friends and I decided to visit this restaurant on our visit to NYC. The three-course dinner is unbeatable. There was so much delicious food. My favorite was the calamari, gnocchi, and shrimp entree. The restaurant staff was welcoming.” - Yelp Review

5. Sal’s Little Italy 

Casual Family Dinner Spot Serving Hearty Italian Dishes

Dine on a plate of puttanesca. Image courtesy of Yelp.

384 Broome St | Nolita | salslittleitaly.com

Founded in 1997, Sal’s Little Italy continues to serve as one of the leading pizza joints in Little Italy. The restaurant features an upfront pizzeria that sells by the slice along with a separate 60-seat dining room encased by a laidback exposed brick interior. Sal’s Little Italy is known for its hearty fried calzone, classic Neapolitan pizzas, and Italian comfort food. Some of its most popular selections include the Tutti Le Carni Pizza, Salato Calzone, and Meat Ball Parmigiana Hot Sandwich.

“Fried motz was so delicious. The sauce that went with it was really good. I've gotten slices here and they are real NY slices, which is nice considering that the quality of Italian I feel is going downhill a little throughout the city. I've also ordered the ravioli that’s good as well.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Sal’s Little Italy. 

6. Emilio’s Ballato

Old-School Italian Restaurant Known as a Celebrity Hangout

55 E Houston St | Nolita | ballatos.4-food.com

Ballato’s is a popular Italian restaurant in Little Italy that offers an array of hearty and authentic dishes. From the Caprese to the Gamberi Fra Diavolo, every dish is cooked to perfection. For a light starter dish, order the Cocktail del Molluschi, which is one dozen clams on the half shell, or the Zucchine Fritte, which is fresh, seasoned zucchini that has been breaded and flash-fried. 

As for the entrees, you have a wide selection of menu items to choose from. For instance, the Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese features homemade tagliatelle with beef, pork, and veal ragu. The homemade Ravioli con Ricotta is another fine selection. In the mood for seafood? Try the Gamberi Fra Diavolo, which features shrimp sauteed in spicy marinara sauce with linguine.

“The moment you walk in you're instantly sent back to the 50s feel of a classic Italian clubhouse. If it’s good enough for the numerous celeb diners that are posted all along the wall of fame, it's good enough for anybody. Warm welcomes from the family-owned joint that give this place that Sunday supper at granny's vibe in a cozy atmosphere.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Emilio’s Ballato.

7. Parm

Diner-Inspired Italian Eatery Serving Delicious Classics

Share a plate of mozzarella sticks. Image courtesy of Yelp.

248 Mulberry St | Nolita | parmnyc.com

While Parm® has multiple locations scattered around New York City, it’s original storefront can be found in the heart of Little Italy. For years, New Yorkers have gone to Parm for its famous chicken parmesan, Mario’s meatballs, and signature deli sandwiches. All of their dishes are made from scratch every day. Whether you are in the mood for some baked ziti or a saratoga club sandwich, Parm is sure to have something fit for whatever you are craving.

“Got the fried calamari and, of course, the spicy rotini side dish (only $8!!!). Both were delicious. The spicy rotini was super-rich, I'm actually glad we only got the side. Would love to get back soon and try the chicken parm and/or chicken parm sub, amongst other things.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Parm. 

8. Aunt Jake’s

Charming Italian Restaurants Where You Can Mix and Match Different Pasta Dishes

133 Mulberry St | Little Italy | auntjakesnyc.com

Who doesn’t love gorging themselves on a big bowl of pasta? At Aunt Jake’s you can expect to be treated to some of the best pasta in New York City. All pastas are handmade from scratch everyday. 

With the “Create Your Own Pasta” special, guests can choose the shape of their pasta and decide what sauce they want to pair it with. Butternut squash noodles, tagliatelle, and cavatelli can be paired with savory sauces like the Mushroom Ragu and Roasted Garlic Pecorino. 

Specialty dishes like the Shrimp Scampi and Chicken Parmigiana are also a hit with guests. Whatever you order, don’t forget to pair it with one of the many wines, cocktails, and bottled beers on the menu!

“I have been coming to Aunt Jake's for many years now & the food is delish. The restaurant is spacious & is COVID friendly. We are indoors. Outdoor seating is available. The pasta and appetizers were so good. Great portions.” - Yelp Review

9. Da Nico

Italian Eatery That Has Mastered Recipes Brought Over From the Old Country

Treat yourself to a hearty dish like the Lobster al Diablo with gluten-free noodles. Image courtesy of Yelp

164 Mulberry St | Little Italy | danicoristorante.com

Since 1993, Da Nico Ristorante has hosted a diverse and impressive list of clients. Everyone from the Yankees to Mayor Giuliani has stepped foot into Da Nico. As soon as you take your first bite, you’ll see why Da Nico is a favorite among so many New Yorkers. 

The most popular food on the menu is probably the brick oven pizza, which is cooked inside the restaurant’s authentic coal-fired oven. Guests also love Da Nico’s risotto and pasta dishes. Want to try a full course? Da Nico offers a prix-fixe dinner for $24 a person at a maximum of 10 guests. Special house red and white wine is typically paired with the dinner.

“I came here for dinner on Saturday night & was seated in a lovely tent-covered back patio with trees, plants & Roman statues. I enjoyed delicious, authentic Italian food.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Capri Ristorante.

10. Ferrara Bakery

Family-Owned Bakery Offering Dozens of Sweet and Delicious Desserts

195 Grand St | Little Italy | ferraracafe.com

After you fill yourself up with a hearty Italian meal, don’t forget to stop by Ferrara Cafe for a sweet dessert! This charming dessert cafe offers over 200 Italian pastries and sweets that are made fresh daily. Want something a little more than a light snack? Ferrara is also a popular spot for brunch! Whether you want something filling and savory like the Steak & Eggs or something to satisfy your sweet tooth like an Éclair, you will be more than pleased with your selection. 

In addition to their wholesale selection of cookies and mini pastries, Ferrara also offers specialty cakes and desserts for private events. 

“These are the real deal. Ferrara has been a staple in New York City forever. I haven't been there in years and when I shoved one of these perfect morsels into my semi-dieting pie-hole yesterday, my head nearly exploded.” - Yelp Review

11. Gelso & Grand

Chic and Contemporary Restaurant Featuring a Charming Outdoor Patio

186 Grand St | Little Italy | gelsoandgrand.com

There’s nothing better than a dish made from local produce and some hand-rolled pasta. Luckily for you, Gelso & Grand serves both! Classic Italian dishes like Fettuccine Bolognese, Margherita Pizza, and more await you at this popular restaurant! Many of the dishes are made inside the restaurant’s classic wood fired brick oven. What comes out is a savory dish that you won’t be able to get enough of. 

“Love this spot in Little Italy! The ambiance is amazing indoor as well as outdoor. Did you know their foot long cannoli is seasonal? We got to try out their red velvet cannoli and when we hammered it open m&m's came out.” - Yelp Review

12. Piacere NYC

Organic Italian Dishes Served Inside a Charming and Rustic Atmosphere

Photo of Piacere - New York, NY, United States
Who doesn’t love a hearty Italian dish? Image courtesy of Yelp.

351 Broome St | Nolita | piacerenyc.com

Situated inside a charming and rustic building, Piacere will immediately make you feel right at home. On the menu, you’ll find a wide selection of authentic and organic Italian cuisine. An extensive wine and beer list is also available and ready to be paired with one of Piacere’s many dishes. From the fresh-baked oven pizza to the hearty pasta, you won’t be disappointed with Piacere’s selection of Italian dishes. 

“This is our fav place to go to with exceptional service. Went out for a late night date with my wife. We got grass-fed sliced rib-eye beef  and linguine w/ mixed seafood in a tomato sauce. Everything was super delicious. Highly recommended.” - Yelp Review

There is no shortage of authentic and welcoming Italian restaurants in Little Italy. Which ones are your favorites? Tell us in the comments!

Back

Related Articles

All Related Articles