Top 7 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.

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235 Mulberry St, Nolita

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

Fill your stomach with the Slider Trio. Image courtesy of Facebook

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. 

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“We picked up two pastas (carbonara and cacio e pepe) and a large tie dye pizza. The pastas were both great tasting. But the obvious star was the pizza. The pesto and vodka combo is impossible to surpass. Thin and delicious crust. It's one of my favorite special pizzas by far. Rubirosa still makes my top 10 pizza list.” - Yelp Review

Il Cortile

125 Mulberry St, Little Italy

Family-Owned and Operated Italian Restaurant in Little Italy

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

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. 

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“They start 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. The others in my party got Gnocchi, cheese ravioli, and linguine and everyone liked their food.” - Yelp Review

The Original Little Italy Pizza

1 E 43rd St, Midtown East

Classic Italian eatery in New York City

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

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. 

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“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. I come here when I need more than a classic NYC slice!” - Yelp Review

Benito One

174 Mulberry St, Little Italy

Fresh-Made Pastas and Savory Appetizers Await You

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

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

Sal’s Little Italy

384 Broome St, Little Italy, Nolita

Casual Family Dinner Spot Serving Hearty Italian Dishes

Dine on a plate of puttanesca. Image courtesy of Yelp

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. 

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“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

Emilio’s Ballato

55 E Houston St, Nolita

Old-School Italian Restaurant Known as a Celebrity Hangout

Try the Paccheri special. Image courtesy of Facebook

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. 

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“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


248 Mulberry St, Nolita

Diner-Inspired Italian Eatery Serving Delicious Classics

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

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.

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“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 

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


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