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Arthur Ave...Bronx

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I'll be in NY for a few days. Staying in the Times Square area. Just found out about Arthur Ave. in the Bronx. Is it as awesome as it looks? All the shops with quality Italian staples? Love to hear your thoughts on if it's worth a trip up there. Also, anyone know how I can get there by public transportation?

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  1. We live in NoCal and visit NYC a few times a year. We LOVE the Arthur Avenue area. Some of the shops are amazing. Were it not for DiPalo's in Little Italy in Manhattan, I'd probably not go back to LI. Great restaurants also. I'm sure there's public transpo but we were coming from City Island so we drove. Others can probably tell you about that.

    8 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      I am not quite as big of a fan of Arthur Avenue as some. Sorry (c oliver). There are some nice Pork Stores, Cheese, Ravioli/Pasta, Bakeries and Restaurants for sure, but not enough to make a day of it.. The crowds for holiday shopping are insane.....maybe that's why I am not enamored like others.....the bad memories, but I admit I will still make a stop when I drive through the Bronx on occasion visiting relatives. Mario's, Roberto's and Dominick's are all good, but I definitely would not wait a substantial amount of time to eat in any of them....It just that there are a lot of great restaurants throughout the city....

      Walking through the neighborhood really doesn't take that long. If you do decide to go to the Bronx, go to Louie and Ernie's for pizza.

      http://offthebroiler.wordpress.com/20...

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/506112

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555055

      1. re: fourunder

        Is there anything comparable in Manhattan?

        1. re: arizonagirl

          Although the pictures of the retail market look great, the first time I walked through I was very disappointed after actually seeing it in person. Mike's Deli gets all the accolades, but in my opinion, it is the most over rated deli in all of New York. Look at the pictures in OTB....the sandwiches are seriously lacking in substance compared to other delis....especially ones in New Jersey where I am from. They do look pretty, but they fall short of being great.....just good. What bothers me most about the market is it's dingy......I can live with old.....but they could at least make it presentable. The stores are different. for the most part, they are much more presentable.

          Consider going to Chelsea Markets. Your closer to Little Italy and Chinatown as well as (c oliver) pointed out.

          When are you arriving in town? I'm leaving for a trip tomorrow, so I really do not have much time at the moment to post. I would be more than happy to follow up when I return.

          http://chelseamarket.com/

        2. re: fourunder

          No problem. I wouldn't spend a day there either. We got there around 10am, had a cappucino, walked around (the markets are really good compared to anything we see) and had lunch at Roberto's. We were there midweek, non-holiday times so no crowds. And certainly better from that standpoint than Little Italy. But if I only had a few days, I might not go at all. There's just so much in NYC.

          1. re: c oliver

            Can you recommend something similar in the city. Looking for good qaulity salumi, cheese, olives and pastries. Thanks

            1. re: arizonagirl

              Since I don't live in NYC I'm not the best person to respond. But here's a list of MMRuth's who is clearly a great cook and eats out also:

              http://www.chow.com/lists/33

              You might want to check her postings as she's a font of info.

              I also mentioned above DiPalo's above. Here's their website:

              http://www.dipaloselects.com/

              It's an amazing store with an incredible selection of cheeses and a really nice selection of sausage, fresh pasta and all types of "fancy foods." They just added a wine section which I haven't visited yet. Just going there is an experience - I recommend a week day as they get crowded. You take a ticket and stand in/on line. But you don't mind (or I don't anyway) because you know when it's your turn they're going to spend as much time with you as they have with everyone in front of you. Their hunter's sausage is fabulous and their gorgonzola dolce is to die for.

              As far as Little Italy, I just don't have a huge opinion. It is VERY touristy but that's alright. It's right beside Chinatown so it's easy to do dim sum for breakfast, Little Italy for lunch and then take a nap :)

              1. re: arizonagirl

                you can get cheese, salumi, and olives at dipalo's but won't get pastries. i adore arthur avenue, and love going out there. i'm surprised by all of the negative comments on this thread. it is a huge pain on public transportation (B/D/4 train to fordham, then the Bx12 bus) but worth it. the ravioli from borgatti's and ricotta from the calabria pork store have no equals anywhere in manhattan; and the pizza dough at madonia, the mozz at casa della mozzarella, pastries from morrone's and delilo's are all awesome. oh, and oysters on the street from randazzo's, and bureks from tony and tina's. though it does get overrun around holidays, at other times it's like a strange little anachronistic space where you get to shop with old italian grandmas and eat incredibly well.

                1. re: rose water

                  I agree with all you've said, Rose Water. Was just there this weekend with an out of town visitor. It's a nice manageable place to shop for high quality Italian items. I bought some gorgeous dates at Teitel Bros. ($5/lb.) and worth it. Randazzo's has fresh sea urchin now, so you can have your uni on the half shell! Everything I've ever bought there is pristinely fresh, and the shop just smells so good!

        3. Not worth a trip. It is a pain by public trans and it is overrated. Not that there isn't anything good and/or cheap but not a way to spend part of a short stay.
          DiPalo is the best and overall cheapest, it is mentioned by others.
          If you go on a weekend(or maybe even certain times weekday), you might have a wait. If you take a numbered ticket wait to hear what number is next and have something planned around the area to kill some time. Do not wait in the store, if there are 10 numbers from what they are serving until yours, that can be an hour if you see the store is crowded.
          Well, you can wait in the store but there isn't much to do there for more than 10min looking around and if crowded, that is not happening.
          You can also call in an order if you know what you want though you will probably have to wait when you get there a bit, nonetheless.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dietndesire

            Anyone who says that Arthur Ave. in the Bronx is over-rated is not a foodie and simply doesn't get it! Arthur Ave. is the real deal for food lovers interested in buying good ingredients for making that perfect Italian meal. I've been going food shopping there since I was a little girl with my Grandmother. Now I shop there with my adult daughters who "get it" and love it.

          2. Having worked nearby and shopped there regularly for six years, it's certainly worth a trip, if not a for a full day. I'd recommend late weekday morning with lunch of brick oven pizza and a glass of falanghina at Trattoria Zero Otto Nove. As for quality and variety: there is nothing else so concentrrated anywhere in the city, even if you can find similar items scattered in Bensonhurst. In about 16 small square blocks: four traditional bread bakeres. Three traditional and excellent butchers. A superb salumeria (Calabria), and a two cheesemakers. One world-class pasta maker (Borgatti). Two big fish markets. And Teitel for staples at great prices. I agree about the pallor of the enclosed retail market, and the hype surrounding Mike's, but it's still a unique spot. Finally, it should be noted the stores serve a by and large nongentrified clientele, including working and middle class folks who come for such non-flahsy things as pork shoulder for ragu, or big wedges of provolone, or a few pounds of sausages or baccala. Service is usually efficient and unpretentious. As for transport: come on, it's no big deal. Try Metro North to Fordham Rd (17 minutes from Grand Central), walk east on Fordham Rd for 5 minutes and you're at Arthur Avenue, where you'll make a right turn and walk down 4 short blocks, You can make a day with visits to either the Bronx Zoo or Botanical Garden, both nearby.

            6 Replies
            1. re: bob96

              I want to thank bob96 for saving me the trouble of responding. I agree with him 100% (including the recommendation of taking the Metro North railroad from Grand Central. And for non-NYers, AA can give the feel of what a NY ethnic shopping area is like. And no, there are no places in Manhattan like it.

              1. re: bob96

                I certainly agree that AAve area is worth the trip. If fresh pasta of anything approaching the quality of Borgatti can be found in Manhattan I would like to hear about it here. I suspect that the Arthur Avenue denigraters have not really shopped for foodstuffs in the area.

                Since I do not get up there as often as I would like, could those who know the area comment on Trattoria 089, please. What are their strong dishes? Pizza?

                What is considered to be the best pizza in the area?

                Thanks!

                1. re: erica

                  The trattoria specializes in dishes native to Salerno, Roberto's home town, and features a brick pizza oven that produce thin, foldable, nicely charred pizzas. Our favorite ("Riccardo", I think) has an unusal combination of butternut squash, pancetta, and smoked mozz. There's a pretty extensive menu (I also like the pasta "al forno"), and prices are a bit less than the flagship Roberto's restaurant.

                  Here's a link with menus, etc.:
                  http://www.roberto089.com/cuisine_089...

                  For traditional NYC pizza, Full Moon (187th and Arthur) is fine. Mario's pizza (the restaurant) has its fans, but I'm not familiar with it and can't comment beyond the mention.

                  1. re: Striver

                    Many thanks, Striver. I have had Mario's pizza, but not recently. I like Roberto's main restaurant so was thinking about trying this place; glad to hear the pizza is good..

                    Do you know anything and do you care to comment about Tino's, which I think is a deli in the area. Any great prepared dishes? )I am a big fan of DiPalo's eggplant parmesan)

                    It has been too long sinceI've been to that area.

                  2. re: erica

                    In my opinion, the best pizza in the area is in the retail market at Cafe del Mercado. It's not a fancy place to eat but I have a slice each and every time I shop on Arthur Ave. I was very disappointed in Trattoria 089 and would not go back.

                    1. re: FrancescaP

                      Try the pizza at Mario's Restaurant (no slices) and then compare. It is the best pizza around.

                2. Here is one of my favorite Arthur Ave discussions. It was started in '99, but most of it took place in '07, and is incredibly thorough:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/235328

                  I am a frequent shopper in that area, and would recommend it to anyone in the NYC area as a place to experience what it left of a true Italian working class neighborhood with terrific food finds. As an out-of-town visitor, you probably have many things you want to see, and getting to Arthur Ave is no easy feat with public transport. You will need well over an hour for travel time each way.
                  If you are looking to do shopping and don't mind carrying hunks of cheese and sliced meats (not to mention the jars and jars of imported treasures to be found), then I say go for it. But don't go expecting it to look like Little Italy- the only cafe with comfortable seating is Palumbo, and its not good at all. If you are looking for pastries/cookies, I suggest DeLillo. But don't get coffee there. Get your coffee at Tino's. As a matter of fact, get your deli lunch(best chicken parmigiana wedge in NY) at Tino's, too. I have to agree with whomever it was downthread that declared Mike's to be overrated.
                  I like Tino's for cold cuts other than hard sausage/sopressata, which I get a Calabria Pork Store. I also buy cheeses at Tino's. but Casa della Mozzarella is head and shoulders above the rest for fresh house-made cheeses.
                  I like Addeo the best for breads- the smell in there is intoxicating.
                  I think the retail market is great-not just for produce but for various Italian 'paraphernalia' and for the myriad imported products from the vendors along the left wall.

                  Borgatti's fresh pasta, particularly the spaghetti alla chitarra and the ravioli, are better than anything you can buy in Manhattan.

                  In short, I would say go but make it a half day. Get there early, do some shopping, have lunch and get back to Manhattan before school lets out and the roads are clogged with vehicles (I am imagining you loaded down with bags and trying to find a bus to the train).

                  Should you decide to stay in Manhattan, do check out DiPalo (Grand & Mott streets) and BuonItalia in the Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market is worth visiting for anyone interested in NY 'food market tourism'!

                  Buon Appetito!

                  1. I for one think it is worth it. I still leave go once a month from the city up there for quality meets and cheeses and funny enough atmosphere. I live in Morningside Heights which is hip enough due Columbia University and the whole gentrification of Harlem but there is nothing of quality here and am always disappointed when I go down to little italy in the city. If you are staying in the Times Square area you can hop on the D train at 42nd street and take it to Fordham Road and be there in half an hour express times or not, the only thing is you will have to walk about 15 minutes or take a 6 dollar gypsy cab to Arthur Ave. I don't think it warrants a whole day but I think an enjoyable weekday afternoon can be spent there while acquiring quality goodies. AND if you buy too much stuff to hop on the subway a cab back to midtown would cost you 25 dollars.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: kayEx

                      Yes, well, you are in about the most convenient location to it plus you don't only have a few days in town.
                      Little Italy sucks for goods pretty much except DiPalo which has most things, some great, and very good prices. Wait is bad but that is why I mentioned having something planned to do in the area.

                      1. re: dietndesire

                        I am in a pretty convenient location to it which is why I did not give my transport time but what public transportation time from the times square area would be which is what would be pertinent to the OP, as well as mention that I find the little italy area in the city inferior to Arthur Ave to support my opinion of why I think it is worth a trip. I happen to not agree with you opinion of Arthur Ave regarding quality of most products in the area as well as the wait time during a non-holiday crush. Based on Arizona's girls request for thoughts on the area and public transportation info I added my 2 cents worth, which happens to differ from yours, and as is the case when discussions take place difference of opinions happen often.

                        1. re: kayEx

                          Y, no worries. I just not sure I would want to spend 4 hours or more of my limited stay for it. It is not exactly Bologna or Verona or wherever. Your point is taken and I do not completely disagree. No crowds makes anywhere better and makes Arthur Ave a far better choice, same for DiPalo, I don't recommend going to the latter and standing in the store for an hour or more like some people seem to do. I assume that is not what people enjoy but if Zonagirl does, then that is fine.
                          One thing I will say is this, it is NOT every shop with great Italian goods. As in most places, there are some that are worthy and some that are worthless. That is research for the OP to do unless she does not care.

                          1. re: dietndesire

                            Will you please stop saying that it take 2 hours to get from midtown to Arthur Ave. Did you not notice the advice in Bob96's post. Take Metro North to the Fordham station from Grand Central. 17 minues plus a five minute walk from the station to Arthur Ave. Yes, it's more expensive than the subway and runs less frequently (but on a published schedule), but it is a pretty easy and quick way to get to a unique food centric neighborhood in NYC.

                    2. Arizonagirl, I'm not saying that Arthur Avenue is a "must see" like say the Grand Canyon, but since you'll be in NY, come on up and experience what so many transplants reminisce about. Many Italian-Americans who have moved away from the Bronx have fond memories of Arthur Avenue and the satisfaction they received in shopping or eating there. They can't all be wrong, and most of them wished they could switch places with you right about now. Plan your visit, come early, come midweek, and leave with bags full. You'll have a memorable visit if you do your homework. As for transportation, take Metro North from Grand Central station to the Fordham stop. From there it's about a ten minute walk to Arthur Avenue. This is the most direct and most convenient way there. Enjoy.

                      1. Arthur Ave is a living, functioning relic of the ethnic NYC of the 50's that's worth a visit if you have the time and the specialized interest.

                        To make it a full day, combine your trip to Arthur Ave with a morning visit to the world-class Bronx Zoo (5 minute walk from Arthur Ave and open 365 days a year) or catch the Orchid Show at the Botanical Gardens (opens 2/28). Then go to Arthur for lunch (I recommend Roberto's Trattoria 089 folowed by coffe and pastry at De Lillo's), buy some snacks for later (the mozz at Casa dell Mozzarella, bread from Addeo or Terranova, etc.) and have a great day.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Striver

                          Thanks to everyone for responding. I like the idea of combining AA with a visit to the zoo. At least if AA is not everything I'm expecting (which it sounds like it will be) I also got to see the zoo.

                          1. re: arizonagirl

                            Just make sure that you check ahead and don't go to the zoo on "school groups" day!!! We went then and it was a nightmare. We especially wanted to see the meerkat exhibit. Because it was raining out and the exhibit was indoors, it was packed with screaming schoolchildren and all the associated steam from all the wet clothes. Not one of my favorite memories :) But the zoo is great. I also went to the orchid show last year and it was stunning.

                            1. re: arizonagirl

                              I am a relatively new resident of the South Bronx and have made shopping on Arthur Avenue every Saturday morning a part of my regular routine for the past year. There are in fact a lot of mediocre and downright crappy places in the neighborhood, however, after taking the time to get to know the place through trial and error, I can say without a doubt that the following places I am listing (as many other people in this thread have already mentioned) rate among the very best in the city and are definitely worth the trek, especially when visited collectively and combined with a trip to the zoo or garden. The orchid show at the garden is particularly spectacular and serendipitously starts this weekend, so I would begin there at around 10am. After a two or three hour visit, I would then walk over to Arthur Avenue for lunch (it's only about a 15 minute walk). If you go on a weekday, I would highly recommend Robertos on Crescent Avenue for a bottle of wine, a mixed green salad and one of their amazing pasta specials of the day (the lunch portions of the pasta are huge and are meant to be shared between two people). The food is purchased fresh every day from the surrounding neighborhood and the pasta specials are always unique and inventive - we rarely see the same exact dish twice). It's not cheap, but I do feel it's worth the splurge for lunch since it's a much better deal than dinner and no where near as crowded (keep in mind they stop serving lunch at 2:30pm).

                              Afterwards, I would stroll through the Arthur Avenue Retail Italian Market which is around the corner and not exactly "pretty" but can be a very rich and rewarding social experience. Mike's is overrated, however, the fruit and vegetable stand is pretty good and often carries Italian produce such as Puntarelle that you can't find anywhere else in the city. Their prices are also much lower than anywhere in Manhattan, i.e., our grocery bill is a half to two thirds lower than when we shopped at the Fairway in Harlem. There is also a great specialty counter along the back side wall of the market with amazing little delicacies such as sun dried red peppers, cooked lupine beans, marinated octopus salad, Galeffi digestive, etc.

                              After strolling casually through the market, I would then walk around Arthur Avenue to check out the indiviual shops. The following are the "best in class":

                              - Calabria pork store (delicious testa and mortadella sliced paper thin, sausage with fennel, hot sopressata, etc.)
                              - Randazzo's Seafood (excellent selection, pristine environment, friendly service, super fresh sidewalk clam and sea urchin bar)
                              - Biancardi's for high quality butchered meats, poultry, rabbit, etc.
                              - Teitel Brothers for dried goods and cheeses (the Grand Cru is a reasonably priced Sardinian sheep cheese to which we are currently addicted)
                              - Addeo Bakery for the most deliciously simple spongy fresh baked bread
                              - Borgatti's for extremely fresh pasta (at ridicuosly cheap prices)
                              - De Lillo's on 183rd is the best for pastries and a cappuccino (their lobster claws are fantastic)

                              Unfortunately, if you go on a Saturday, Robertos does not serve lunch and is almost impossible to get into for dinner, so I would recommend either Trattoria 089 (which is also run by Roberto, but is less formal and slightly cheaper than the original Robertos Restaurant) or Tino's Delicatessen (which is run by Roberto's brother and is even less formal, but also extremely good and very well priced). After your explorations, I would just take the Metro North train back to midtown. If you don't have the time to make a day out of it, BuonItalia in the Chelsea market is also a wonderful place to buy Italian goodies, however, the atmosphere is completely different. The Chelsea Market is cool and industrial with a hipper, trendier clientele who generally come from a higher socio economic bracket while the Arthur Avenue Retail Italian Market is primarily comprised of "old Italian grandmas and working class locals." I do not disparrage either group and enjoy shopping at both locations, however, I have to say there is a certain ambiance that is simultaneously refreshing and nostalgic around Arthur Avenue that has become difficult to find in any of the boroughs due to all of the gentrification. I'm not saying you can't find it at all, but when you do, it is very special and vulnerable and should be appreciated while it lasts. If you do make it up, I hope you have a wonderful visit. Good luck with your adventure!
                              P.S. Don't even bother going up on a Sunday because almost everything is closed and it looks like a deserted ghost town.

                              1. re: Lisa in da Bronx

                                Lisa: Thank you,thank you, thank you!

                                1. re: Lisa in da Bronx

                                  This is great. thanks

                                  1. re: Lisa in da Bronx

                                    Many thanks, Lisa; you've captured the appeal, even for this veteran shopper and working local. Especially when you touch on its unforced diversity, a home to folks who work in the area but live elsewhere, and families that come down from Westchester, Connecticut, and other points along the Italian golden road, to stock up on staples (and I mean stock up). Lunchtimes weekdays is a lovely mix of professionals from Fordham, hospitals, the courts; older Italians; Albanians and other Balkans sipping brandies and coffee; local Hispanic school kids from a community now largely theirs (and African American); and tourists--it was always wonderful to hear busloads of seniors exclaim and inhale as they walked the streets so similar to those of their own lives. Even if there were only one place instead of four to buy superb pane di casa, the trip's still worth it.

                              2. Besides the excellent and numerous food choices, there's the colorful atmosphere on Arthur Avenue. Lots of interesting characters and talk. Keep your ears open!

                                1. We adore going to Biancardi's for meat. Sal is our guy there, and the veal cutlets are absolutely first rate and much less than what we find in Westchester. One day, Ed Giobbi was standing next to me as I ordered and pointed out that Sal is one of the few butchers you will find with a college degree. The ricotta at the cheese store (I forget the name) at the end of the block is so thick that they cut it with a knife to weigh it out for you. My husband loves the Calabria pork store where he gets fantastic finocciono and other salumi. Arthur Avenue is not some tricked out, fancified Italian market. I love that many of the shop owners speak to me in Italian first, and I love how much Italian you still hear on the street. However, we never eat there except to catch a quick bite in the Retail Market (try the pepper and egg sandwiches at the place in the back).