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Aug 30, 2009 09:05 AM

Where to Buy Marinara Sauce in Little Italy (Manhattan)

Can anyone recommend a good place to buy great pasta sauce in Little Italy? I live close by and imagine the fresh sauces I could get there would be much better than the Ragu-type, grocery store sauces.

Ideally something reasonably priced in the $5 a bottle range.


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  1. DiPalo's. I can't personally vouch for their sauce, but everything I've bought there (olives, various cheeses, roasted peppers) has been excellent. It's at 200 Grand St., near Mott.

    17 Replies
    1. re: small h

      Actually I don't like DiPalo's ravioli and pasta sauce much. I prefer Piemonte, right down the block at Mulberry and Grand. If you want more options and are willing to walk up a bit, Rafferto on Houston between MacDougal and Sullivan has great sauces.

      1. re: nohofoods

        I'm in such a DiPalo's rut. Does Piemonte and/or Rafferto make good mozzarella? Because I love DiPalo's mozzarella, but I really hate spending 20 minutes standing around waiting for it. When there are like 4 people ahead of me. Come to think of it, a trip to DiPalo's always makes me want to kill someone.

        1. re: small h

          :)))) I hear you. I often take a number, run to Piemonte to get sauce and then run back to DiPalo's to get cheeses.
          Piemonte doesn't make fresh mozzarella at all. They are strictly sauces and pastas in all shapes and sizes. I've only run in and out of Rafferto for ravioli, so I'm not sure if they make mozzarella.

          1. re: nohofoods

            I'll check out Piemonte for pasta, then. And continue to grieve that I can't find DiPalo's quality mozzarella with Whole Foods quality line management.

            1. re: small h

              I'm a fan of Piemonte's bolognese sauce.

              fyi, it is a bit on the sweeter side buth that's how i like it.

              1. re: was_bk

                I do too. To change it up a little, add a splash of red wine while heating it up, delicious!

                1. re: nohofoods

                  I just moved into the neighborhood and the woman who works at Dipalo's there came out and introduced herself, welcomed me to the neighborhood and gave me a hug.. It was really sweet..

                  1. re: Daniel76

                    They are lovely, lovely, lovely people. Who exist on an entirely different plane than I do - a plane that does not acknowledge the passage of time. I am all over this Slow Food thing, but I prefer to confine it to the growing and preparing and cooking part - not so much to the shopping part. Perhaps I will find enlightenment one day.

            2. re: nohofoods

              Raffetto's makes pasta and sauces.
              Joe's Dairy is across Houston on Sullivan Street - one of the best mozzarella makers (check the smoked) in town.

              1. re: Chuck Lawrence

                I forgot about Joe's, shame on me! yes that's a great place to get mozzarella. And at no time it's nearly as crowded as DiPalo's.

            3. re: small h

              I look forward to Jury Duty just so I can soak up DiPalo for thirty minutes while waiting to buy a delicious hunk of cheese for lunch. I detest Whole Foods and all that it stands for. Honest real people who care, or a huge perfectly run machine? Give me the slow caring real people any time! I'd rather die than live in a world of Whole Foods soulless machines.

              P.S. My wife has no patience for DiPalo (or for Rafettos on Saturdays). But I still love her dearly. And she hates Whole Foods as much as I do.

              1. re: DavyTheFatBoy

                I don't really know what Whole Foods "stands for," although I have a suspicion it's "selling stuff." Soul is what I imbue my food with once I get it home - it doesn't come in the package. But shop on, my patient friend, shop on.

              2. re: small h

                I really hate their system sometimes. Last time I went, I wanted to pay for an item off the shelf but the person that rings also does the counter service so I couldnt interupt the line just to pay for my item. I just left. They should have a register only line.

                1. re: DarthEater

                  I agree completely, but they seem to be doing just fine without trying to please people like us. I've gone there around Christmas time (because I am an idiot) and waited in a huge unruly mob for over an hour. There were people who apparently wanted to try every single kind of meat before making that all important purchasing decision.

                  1. re: small h

                    The last several times I've been there - in August - I noticed several people who wanted to pay for just one item grabbed off a shelf who just politely interjected and asked a person behind the counter if the one item could just be rung up for them. That didn't seem to cause any kerfuffle. I just assume that I'm going to have to wait on line when I'm there, and the length of the line is often not a perfect indicator of how long it will take. A couple of weeks ago the place seemed pretty empty, but one couple was buying more food that I have ever seen purchased there before.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I tried that once myself, and a woman who had a lower number than mine got very bent out of shape. She'd been waiting! That was in July, though. Maybe in August, everyone calms down a little.

                      1. re: small h

                        Ha ha. Well, at least now you know that that woman wasn't me. Now, if it was someone who wanted to get ahead of the line for a pound of parmesan, that would be different!

          2. Thanks for the info, everyone. I'll check out the sauces at Raffetto.

            An Italian friend recommended I try making her own with a simple recipe. I tried that tonight and result was definitely better than the store bought sauces--and on my first attempt.

            7 Replies
            1. re: sumit

              YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anything you make at home is always going to be the best. Congrats.

              1. re: sumit

                Well, now you have to post the recipe. It's the law.

                @c oliver: if you'd been there for my sorry-ass attempt at shrimp fritters, you'd rethink that "home made is best" thing right quick.

                1. re: small h

                  Uh oh :( Did YOU have a recipe? Have you tried again? Maybe start a thread about it?

                  1. re: c oliver

                    It was a recipe from the New York Times, which - I just searched - has apparently been purged from their website, and rightly so. I was not an experienced cook then (late 80s), so I didn't question the fact that there was no binder in the ingredient list. Chopped shrimp, scallions, ginger - that's about it. Form into patties (hah!) and fry (double hah!). I had invited a gentleman friend over for dinner and to his credit, he ate the result, which I will charitably describe as shrimp hash. It was pretty disgusting, because I kept throwing things into it in a desperate attempt to make it cohere - eggs, flour, butter, whatever. I'm still friends with the guy, and he still mentions that evening from time to time. And not in a positive way.

                    1. re: small h

                      I chuckled over that :) Those are the meals that stand out, aren't they? Rather than the 100s of successes. But I love a good story even when I'm the brunt of it..

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Failure is as interesting to me as success - maybe more so. And to be honest, I'll take a good story over a good meal any day. I'd rather dine out on my failures than bulk up on my triumphs. Which makes me a lesser chowhound, I suppose.

                        1. re: small h

                          No way, babycakes. It makes you someone that most of us want to hang out with - rather than the snooty-hooties who will never admit to their failures. We're going to get the d-word if we don't stop this fun :)