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little italy | © hercigonja/Flickr
little italy | © hercigonja/Flickr

8 Things To Do And See In Little Italy

Picture of Sean Scarisbrick
Updated: 25 April 2017
Little Italy, despite its shrinkage induced by Chinatown’s expansion, has managed to hold its ground as a historic landmark of New York City. While some parts lean toward the tourist trap sect, from crowded streets to overpriced restaurants, there are still several cultural havens that are worth viewing, and in most cases, grab a bite at.


little italy | © hercigonja/Flickr

little italy | © hercigonja/Flickr

Di Palo’s

If you close your eyes in Di Palo’s and smell the air, you might just catch yourself dreaming of Italy. Known for its fresh, hand pulled mozzarella and prosciutto bread, Di Palo’s grocery usually has a line to the door that is completely worth the wait. Every traditional Italian food is sold here, simple or elaborate, and it’s impossible to be disappointed by the amazing quality of both the food, and the service.

Di Palo’s, 200 Grand Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 226 1033

Bacon Pasta - Italy - Chen Chen & Boon Chew | © Alpha/Flickr

Bacon Pasta – Italy – Chen Chen & Boon Chew | © Alpha/Flickr


Nearby on your lunch break and want a quick sandwich stop? Parm, the keeper of classic Italian heroes, satisfies both your palette and schedule with large, filling sandwiches that anyone can appreciate. The atmosphere is crowded but cozy, like Johny Rocket’s with an Italian bar-style twist.

Parm, 248 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 993 7189

italian pasta | © Roberto Zingales/Flickr

italian pasta | © Roberto Zingales/Flickr


Another great spot for a delicious and intimate lunch alone or with a friend. Rubirosa is complete with dim lighting, a spacious bar, charming staff and delicious food—known for its light but satisfying pizza.  Their pasta makes a name for itself as well, especially the delicious spaghetti carbonara.

Rubirosa, 235 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 965 0500

Mmm... pizza night | © jeffreyw/Flickr

Mmm… pizza night | © jeffreyw/Flickr

Grotta Azzurra

Grotta Azzurra fits into a stereotypical mold of a touristy Little Italy restaurant—loud, prominent, a sign filled with lights. However, the food itself—especially the lasagna and seafood— makes for classic, rustic traditional Italian food served in a pleasant and bustling atmosphere.

Grotta Azzurra, 177 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 925 8775

The Italian American Museum is housed in what was the Banca Stabile, which was much more than just a bank. It was also a boarding house, community center and an agency from which to book sea passage to Italy. Objects relating to all of these identities no | © Mark B. Schlemmer/Flickr

The Italian American Museum | © Mark B. Schlemmer/Flickr

Italian American Museum

A perfect place to stop by on a lunch break, this museum is simple, but effective. The Italian American Museum itself is a one floor with one round gallery of photos detailing the history Italian Americans and even Little Italy. The exhibitions change season-to-season and entry is free of charge, making it interesting enough to explore, learn a new fact or two and then grab lunch right nearby.

Italian American Museum, 155 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, USA  +1 212 965 9000

calamari | © stu_spivack/Flickr

calamari | © stu_spivack/Flickr

Umberto’s Clam House

Umberto’s is known for not only its historic food, but also historic events. In 1972, two months after its opening, New York gangster Joe Gallo was murdered in the restaurant. The current owner, Robert, is the son of the original owner Umberto Ianiello. The eatery is also known for its mussels, calamari and other seafood that are as rich as the restaurant’s history.

Umberto’s Clam House, 132 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 431 7545

Lasagna. OHYES. | © beccafawley/Flickr

Lasagna. OHYES. | © beccafawley/Flickr

Caffé Roma

Caffé Roma has always been another popular hangout spot for visitors and locals. Quaint but cozy, they are known for their veteran status, having been run by a single family in the same location since 1891. Their traditional Italian pastries are created on the premises such as cannoli, tiramisu and pasticciotto. Also be warned—they close every year from June 23rd to July 7th and only take cash payment!

Caffé Roma, 385 Broome Street, Suite A, New York, NY, USA +1 212 226 8413

Little Italy | © Constanza Gajardo León/Flickr

Little Italy | © Constanza Gajardo León/Flickr

Rossi E and Company

Rossi E and Company is a great option. If you want to buy a gift that is both useful and nice, from pasta makers to Nativity sets to prayer cards, there’s a great option for every Little Italy experience. The prices are fair compared to other gift shops, and Ernie, the owner, is very helpful and pleasant to the guests at his shop.

Rossi E and Company, 193 Grand Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 226 9254


By Rebecca Boorstin

Currently pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in Spanish language from Pitzer College, Rebecca is a native New Yorker with a passion for intercultural understanding through food, art, music and literature. She enjoys reading the New York Times, listening to Spanish pop music and exploring new eateries in the city when home from college.