As an Italian (born and raised in the boot-shaped land) living in New York, I must say the Big Apple is one of the places where you can enjoy the best food. No matter the nationality of the cuisine, you will always find what you are looking for. It’s a real haven for those who, like myself, are what they call back in my country “a good fork” (i.e. a good appetite). But please bare in mind that certain Italian-American dishes have nothing to do with Italy!
Let’s begin with spaghetti and meatballs: this is truly an invention of the star&striped country. In Italy we do have “ragù” which is similar to the so called Bolognese sauce, but it’s blasphemy for an Italian to see the first course in the same plate as the second course.
Moving on: fettuccine Alfredo, have never been - and probably never will be - part of Italy’s typical dishes, just as pasta with chicken or veal chicken parmigiana. A true Italian would twitch his nose in disdain at the idea of putting those ingredients together.
Nevertheless once you have acknowledged the difference, it isn’t impossible to eat like a true Italian in New York. If you want to cook yourself a meal at home, the places to go food shopping are Eataly (200 Fifth Avenue) and Buonitalia in the Chelsea Market (75 9th Avenue). Whereas if you are in the mood for a romantic dinner date or a fun lunch with friends, Piccolo Café has several locations in Manhattan which will guarantee you a true Italian tasting experience.
But a very curious experience I have come across, while gourmandizing in the City, is that New York’s pizza is the best on earth! In Italy the most delicious Neapolitan pizza will never be as scrumptious as the one in the Big Apple, no matter if it’s a 99 cents slice you nibble walking down the street, or whether it’s a pie served in a sleek venue. Some say it’s because of the quality of New York’s water, that welds with the ingredients so wonderfully, and yet the mystery still remains unsolved. Is there any foodie out there who can solve the enigma?