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What's worth the $ at Citarella? (besides seafood)

Sauntered into the Harlem Citarella Saturday afternoon, and cobbled a lovely lunch out of their samples of bread with olive oil and two kinds of balsamic (the 25-star at $24 being so black and thick and amazing I probably had about $5 worth- not quite as good as what I've tried at Williams Sonoma for about 2 to 3 times the price, however), spicy, chunky merguez, salami, spicy pork sausage, lentil soup, and butter cookies. All was made in-house, save the salami, and all was quite good. Nonetheless, the prices shocked me. Everything in the store was at least a buck or two more than I'd find at, say, Fairway.

So that got me to thinking- is any of it really worth it? What do you splurge on at Citarella, besides seafood? Searching past threads brought up challah and other baked goods. Anything else? Should I stick with Fairway?

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  1. The pastas, especially the tortellinis and raviolis. My faves are the pesto ravioli and the sun tried tomato tortellini.

    1. While I do shop at Fairway occasionally, I can't really compare the prices. But, Citarella is my basic grocery store - certainly cheaper than Food Emporium - I don't buy sugar, flour etc. there, but meat/seafood/cheese (though not my fav. place) etc.

      1. I haven't been up there in eons since I moved out of the city a while ago, however, I think it was Citarella that had this amazing gigantic, white bean salad (I don't remember what kind of beans they were - but it was the only one of its kind) that was to die for. It was very basic, just in olive oil with fresh herbs but it was really transcendent. I might be wrong, could have been Graces - but for some reason I'm thinking Citerella, since I used to go there more often. If it wasn't - I'd run up to Graces to get that alone.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sivyaleah

          UES Citarella has a Greek Bean Salad that sounds like what you're describing. Huge white beans, olive oil, herbs, tomato sauce. (Theirs is red). It's found over by the counter with the sliced salmon. I had higher expectations especially at $5.99-$6.99/lb.

          1. re: Cheese Boy

            No, it did not have tomato in it - just the olive oil and herbs. Maybe it was Graces now that I'm thinking about it...

        2. I'm right in the Fairway/Citarella zone on the UWS. I think Citarella makes a superior roasted chicken. Otherwise, I stick to Fairway for just about everything else - fish included.

          1. I agree with harrison, the roast chicken is impressive. And while I do get seafood there often, I've sort of soured on the quality -- there are times when it's just blatantly not fresh, even in the middle of the week, after they've theoretically gotten their daily shipment (I'm talk about the 3rd Ave/75th location).