Tag Archives: Sal’s

Top 10 Foods to Get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival

This list of top 10 foods to get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy is the definitive guide to the traditional foods eaten by Italian Americans.

1. If you try nothing else at the San Gennaro festival, you have to try cannoli.

La Bella Ferrara cannoli

Where to get cannoli:  the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

2. Sausage and peppers sandwiches–When Italians go to festivals, this is what they get.

Where to get sausage and peppers–at a stand.

3.  Zeppole are fried dough balls in powdered sugar–a staple of Italian festivals.

Where to get zeppole–at a stand.

4.  Clams

Where to get clams–at a stand, Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry.

5.  Pizza/calzones

Where to get pizza/calzones–Sal’s on Broome Street (the fried calzone is to die for!), the first pizzeria in America–Lombardi’s on Spring Street.

6.  Torrone–Italian nutty nougat confection

Where to get torrone–at a stand or at Ferrara on Grand.

7.  Italian cookies

Where to get Italian cookies–the legendary Ferrara on Grand, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, at a stand.

8.  Gelato

Where to get gelato–Ferrara on Grand, Caffe Roma on Broome, Mo on Mulberry.

9.  Pasta

Where to get pasta–Puglia on Hester, Vincent’s on Hester/Mott, Angelo’s of Mulberry Street, Benito One on Mulberry.

10. Italian pastries

Where to get Italian pastries–the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***


Dina’s Best of 2013

As 2013 ends, it’s a time to reflect on all the delicious meals and treats I had this year in NYC.  There were a lot!  Of course, there was the bad birthday dinner at Dovetail followed by two birthday saves at Quality Meats and Keens Steakhouse.  There were also some firsts.  I had white truffles for the first time.  I also had shaved ice for the first time.  I also had foie gras in its pure form, but I prefer not to remember that.  I returned to steak, as I hadn’t eaten beef in years and ate at a number of classic NY steakhouses–The Old Homestead, Keens and Delmonico’s.  I explored Asian cuisine more–especially ramen.  No, I didn’t get in on the biggest food trends of 2013–the Cronut or the ramen burger–only because I don’t do lines or eat burgers.  The favorites that I am listing here are my favorites of this year, meaning that I ate at the restaurant for the first time this year or tried something new this year.  (So this may not be my list of favorites of all time, just of this year.)  If something didn’t make my list, was it bad?  No, it just wasn’t exceptional.  You’ll notice a lot of trendy restaurants missing from this list.  Why?  Well, no particular reason other than they weren’t exceptionally delicious to me!  So without further ado–

Here are lists of my favorites for the year.

Dishes I go back for:

Balkanika dips

Balkanika dips

Ramen Takumi shio ramen


Fay Da coconut bun


Tous les Jours milk bread


Basta Pasta fusilli with free range chicken ragu, fresh tomatoes and prosciutto


Reunion totchos

tater tots

Royce white chocolate nama

NAMA white chocolate

My favorite dishes of the year:

Seafood strozzapreti at Saint Ambroeus


Kale with tomatoes at Saint Ambroeus


Pan roasted hake with braised artichokes, sugar snap peas, turnips and chervil bouillon at Tocqueville

Tocqueville hake

Truffled creamy parmesan grits and sunny side up country egg with squire hill farm’s araucana egg and house cured veal bacon at Tocqueville

Tocqueville grits

Smoked coconut cheesecake at Spot Dessert Bar

coconut cheesecake

Stuffed cabbage at Uncle Vanya

stuffed cabbage

Naga ice cream at Vosges


Steak sauce at Quality Meats

QM steak sauce

Shaved ice at Paris Baguette


Thick-cut smoked bacon at Keens Steakhouse


Butterscotch sundae at Keens Steakhouse


Fried calzones at Sal’s


Baked Alaska at Delmonico’s


My favorite restaurants this year:  (This includes food, service and ambience.)


Keens Steakhouse


My favorite ramen:

Ramen Takumi

Totto Ramen II (no wait, more space, same great food)


My favorite steak:

The Old Homestead

OH filet mignon




delmonico steak

My favorite ice cream:


Sal’s Pizza

I can’t believe I have never had Sal’s pizza before!  Sal’s has the best slice of New York pizza.  If you’re looking for New York-style pizza, Sal’s on Broome Street in Little Italy is the place to go.


While the pizza is great, you should also try the fried calzones.  Everywhere you go, calzones are baked.  They shouldn’t be!  We’ve always eaten calzones fried.  Both my grandmas would put mozzarella, ricotta and chunks of ham or salami inside the calzone and then fry it.  These were a special treat.  We make them now too but not as often, and this brought me back to those fun times.


I recommend the traditional at Sal’s.  It is phenomenal.  They even have one named the San Gennaro with sausage, peppers and onions.