Why is this called the “Real Little Italy?” Because the very popular Little Italy in downtown Manhattan has become a caricature of itself having catered to tourists, but slowly shrinking down to almost nothing because of rent increases. However, walking on the long stretch of blocks in the Belmont section of The Bronx is like walking the local street markets of Italy.
Best on an early Saturday or Sunday afternoon, Arthur Ave is a bustling neighborhood filled with both locals and visitors who have been informed that this is where the best pasta, pizza, risotto, espresso, etc. is made. I can attest to the fact that the best pizza and risotto can be found here.
Everyone that works along these Italian themed blocks are both charming and welcoming, ready to strike up a conversation about anything! The wait-staff at various restaurants are family members whose establishments have been passed down for generations.
The Arthur Avenue Retail Market is where I like to get freshly prepared mozzarella and salami. There’s even a few gentlemen hand-rolling cigars in the open. Cosenza’s Fish Market has every seafood imaginable including a small open raw-bar out front to enjoy freshly shucked oysters and clams. Artuso Pastry Shop is where you will find all the desserts imaginable including, my favorite, pistachio cream-filled cannoli.
Traditional and delightful, Arthur Avenue is a one-stop-shop for everything Italian. The neighborhood can easily be reached by taking the Metro-North train from Grand Central Station to Fordham.