While much of the focus of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is as a one-stop-shop for all your Italian market needs, this part of New York is more than simply the place to stock your Italian-American pantry. It's got a number of great restaurants, too. You can fortify yourself for the remainder of an Arthur Avenue walking tour or New York food tour, or you can make the trip specifically for a meal that will satisfy any Italian (or Italian-American) culinary craving.
These three restaurants are more than just places to get a good lunch or dinner, however. Traditions run deep here, and these family-run establishments make customers feel like long-lost cousins while sharing their history and heritage with every dish they make.
2357 Arthur Ave.
When you want an authentic meal identical to what you might find in any good restaurant in Salerno, you go to Zero Otto Nove. (The name of the restaurant comes from Salerno's telephone code.) Roberto Paciullo's second restaurant, opened in 2008, as a more casual version of Roberto's with a Neapolitan style pizza oven. The menu is packed with all sorts of southern Italian dishes, though, from pasta to seafood to parmigiana di melanzane. Always let the waiter tell you the specials. Anything made al cartoccio (cooked in a foil bag) is reliably good as is their short rib special cooked in Peroni and gorgonzola sauce with sweet cherry peppers.
622 East 187th St.
One block from Arthur Avenue, Chef Marco Coletta brings more than a half-century of culinary know-how to Trattoria Tra Di Noi, his cozy "between us" classic Italian eatery. The restaurant is listed in Zagat and the Michelin Restaurant Guide, and the menu features lots of Italian favorites. Don't forget to peek at the chalkboard for the daily specials, though, and I recommend ordering whatever is listed there (especially if it's the trippa alla romana).
2342 Arthur Ave.
Nowhere on Arthur Avenue will you find better Italian-American cuisine than at Mario's Restaurant, a staple here since 1919. Mario's started as a pizzeria and later became a fine dining restaurant. Today, the fifth generation of the Migliucci family has transformed Mario's once again to give it a more relaxed atmosphere with the same focus on high-quality food. Pizza is still a highlight here, and Joe Migliucci makes fresh mozzarella by hand each day for his pies. If you're with a group, order the mixed hot and cold antipasto.