I make about four pilgrimages to the Bronx’s Little Italy which is on and around Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section because besides counting on a very solid Southern Italian meal of very high quality and shareable size portions, it’s tons of fun to visit the old school speciality food stores in the neighborhood. The super “must shop” spots for me after eating at a legendary resto like the 100-year-old celebrity favorite Mario’s are Madonia Brothers Bakery (where you can take home the world’s freshest olive loaf and rainbow cookies) and Borgatti’s Homemade Ravioli & Egg Noodles )where you can purchase raviolis made that same day with a choice of at least a dozen fillings).
This is the best time of the year to get yourself a great three course lunch or dinner “on the cheap” thanks to Little Italy In The Bronx Restaurant Week which runs now through February 13th. Get an early start on Valentine’s Day with a special meal that will only set your back $20 or $30 per person. Some restos even include wine! Reservations can be made at the following participating eateries directly or by using the link at the very bottom of this post:
• Ann & Tony’s – Established in 1927 by Eugenio and Rosa Napolitano, Ann & Tony’s has been passed through four generations of the Napolitano family. They have been serving classic Italian-American cuisine for over 90 years on Arthur Avenue.
• Antonio’s Trattoria – All their dishes are based on authentic, traditional recipes that emulate nonna’s home cooking. The voluminous menu includes entrées with fresh local ingredients, handmade pastas, Italian American comfort food, and more. Their motto is “when you’re here, you’re family.” Note their restaurant week offering is 15% off the regular à la carte food menu.
• Arthur Avenue Fiasco – With all their pasta made in-house, this Italian-American eatery is part of Chef Roberto Paciullo’s restaurant group which also owns and operates Roberto’s Restaurant and Zero Otto Nove in the neighborhood.
• Gerbasi Ristorante – Known for their homemade pasta and fresh mozzarella, this Italian ristorante is also owned and operated by locals who treat each guest as family.
• Mario’s Restaurant – Celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year, Mario’s is the first restaurant to join the portfolio of specialty stores in the Arthur Avenue Centennial Club. Notables who have dined at Mario’s include Elizabeth Taylor, Governor Rockefeller, Anna Moffo, Martin Scorsese and others, while a scene of HBO’s The Sopranos was filmed at the restaurant. Restaurant week menu is available for dinner only.
• MichaelAngelo’s – With over 20 years of experience, this Arthur Avenue family-owned and operated restaurant features a brick oven and sources locally grown produce and meat. The large welcoming space has a unique layout, with the kitchen in the front and the seating in the back of the restaurant.
• MangiPasta – Inspired by genuine experiences, authentic friendships, and real conversations, MangiPasta opened in 2018 as the newest fast casual eatery and believes in the Italian tradition of crafting homemade pasta from scratch. Co-owned by a couple who hails from Naples, MangiPasta cooks strictly Italian cuisine and has a passion for fresh produce which drives them to use only the finest ingredients, prepared on-site, by hand, every day. Honoring this legacy of authentic dining is at the heart of everything they do.
• San Gennaro Ristorante – Born in Capua near Caserta in Italy, Chef & Owner Gennaro Martinelli was trained in Paris and attended the French Culinary Institute, then opened various restaurants in Belgium and toured the world with various culinary projects in Austria, Kenya, Thailand, Brazil and Switzerland. Chef Martinelli opened San Gennaro on Arthur Avenue in 2014, serving true Italian dishes with imported and local ingredients and handmade pastas.
Arthur Avenue is located within approximately 30 minutes of nearly any point in the NYC metropolitan area. In addition to ride sharing services, visitors can get to the Belmont neighborhood via Metro-North, NYC’s Subway’s D/B line or driving. I am an Upper East Sider without a car so I find it easiest to take a Metro North train from Grand Central or East 125th Street. It takes only ten minutes to get to the Fordham stop on Metro North (from 125th and Park) and then I personally take a five or six minute UBER trip from the train station to Arthur Avenue. You can walk the mile from the Fordham train station to Arthur Avenue as well.
To make reservations or just to find out more information on Little Italy in the Bronx Restaurant Week, visit www.bronxlittleitaly.com/arthur-avenue-restaurant-week/.