Italian coffee culture pervades in New York City. Espresso bars and coffee shops dot the entire island of Manhattan, whose inhabitants’ urban lifestyle runs on caffeine. In fact, New York takes its espresso so seriously that Manhattan now has more independently-owned coffee shops than it does chains and Little Italy is no exception. Read on to find out what makes this charming neighborhood’s up and coming and classic cafés uniquely New York.
This bright, minimalistic café rests on the outskirts of Chinatown, one street over from the bustle of Mulberry Street. Unassuming yet difficult to miss, Two Hands carries small bites and snacks, along with an array of coffee, tea, and juices. It is perfect for a light lunch, a refreshing break, or a place to spend the day chatting with friends.
Nolita Mart & Espresso Bar is a café that doubles as a small grab-and-go gourmet grocery. The espresso bar prides itself on ‘slow coffee,’ with each cup taking no less than three minutes to craft. This relaxed café acts as a stress free oasis to recharge or pick up last minute groceries. Nolita Mart also carries an eclectic selection of ice creams, including Los Angeles’ famous Cool Haus.
Landmark has an old school charm that’s hard not to fall in love with. Reminiscent of a 1960s diner, customers feel right at home among the simple yet cozy baby blue tables and checkered tiles. This no fuss café serves American comfort food along with all day breakfast, and is easy on the wallet.
Rather than just carrying coffee, Happy Bones stocks its walls with local art and publications. As a result, this café has a clean and artsy vibe, almost reminiscent of the New Museum. With an intimate vibe and size, this art café is a dream for creative types on the go.
Ferrara Bakery & Café is famous within Little Italy, having been a local favorite since its establishment in1892. From cannolis to cakes, this family-owned café satisfies sweet tooths and coffee connoisseurs alike. Enjoy the gelato at this festive Little Italy spot and enjoy sitting at a table outside, watching the crowds stroll by.
Caffé Palermo is a Little Italy institution, and has been since its opened its doors in 1973. Voted home of the best cannoli in New York, Caffé Palermo boasts a modest interior that transforms into magic at night, especially beneath the outdoor string lights on Mulberry Street. For both tourists and locals, there is hardly a better way to pass the time in this neighborhood than with a coffee, a cannoli, and the merriness of Mulberry Street.
Sambuca’s Café also sits beneath Mulberry’s string lights, and carries some of the tastiest tiramisu in Little Italy. This café is not flashy and more laid-back than many others, which makes it a great fit for wandering tourists or locals looking to settle down for an afternoon bite.
This neighborhood Italian café, bakery and gelateria has been around for decades, so visitors can trust that most treats here are tried-and-true delicious. The green walls and wood trim give Caffé Roma a classic vintage feel. Caffé Roma is also open late, until around 11:00 pm, making it the perfect perch for night owls.
A company from North Carolina known for their superb coffee roasting, Counter Culture Coffee is Manhattan’s flagship store. Visitors can stop by for weekly free cups or coffee tastings, and attend lectures on the art of brewing. However, rather than a café, Counter Culture is an educational space for serious java drinkers who want to learn more about the coffee making process.
Known more for its Greek yoghurt, this shop also serves Intelligentsia and butter coffee, made with grass-fed butter. Greecologies is an airy space that features a garden with outdoor seating, where visitors can enjoy a cup of hand-crafted Greek yoghurt or coffee.