A visit to the Holiday Train Show (New York Botanical Gardens, Bronx) with the family, was the perfect excuse for me to get my Arthur Avenue fix! So, pretending to be an Italian for a day, I planned an immersive Italian experience for my family, in Bronx’s Little Italy. Naturally an authentic Italian meal is the most important item on such an agenda. The other very important thing to do is to make sure your delicious experience lasts for lot longer than your visit to Arthur Avenue. So, one has GOT to stop by all the stores selling sweet and savory Italian treats … a little somethin’ somethin’ to take home, hmmm?
From a stop at Borgatti’s for some decadent, freshly-made ravioli… to gourmet Italian groceries at Teitel Bros… to Arthur Ave Market for a bit of everything… to Calabria Pork Store for some dried cured meats… to the precious little Calandra Cheese shop for the most delicious selection of cheeses…. to a stop at Morrone Pastry Shop & Cafe for some desserts to eat right then and there …plus more to take home. Yep! That’s what a well planned day on Arthur Avenue looks like!
Once all the shopping plans were in place, I made reservations at Tra Di Noi for lunch, a cozy little spot on 187th street, right off of Arthur Ave. I loved the old-school vibe here. With a no-fuss menu and service, this restaurant serves classic Italian dishes spanning the antipasti, pasta, insalata and secondi sections on the menu. There is also a fairly large daily specials menu one can choose from. Most people, I talk to, recommend Zero Otto Nove for dining on Arthur Avenue. I tried it once and was not too impressed. Perhaps it was a bad night in the kitchen…. but that one meal was enough to convince me to try other options in the area.
Everything at Tra Di Noi tasted like your Italian grandma made it. Classic preparations, presented in a very homely manner…. just as it would be if you are dining at grandma’s house. Tra Di Noi means “between us”. It has a ring of intimacy to it, right? And yes, its a cozy place to take your honey for a dinner for two, but don’t expect fancy presentations here. To me, that’s the charm of it!
In this current culinary landscape where so many innovative and creative ideas are on display on the menus all across the globe, one can sometimes get tired of it all and feel a strong urge to go back to the authentic roots of a cuisine. Well! A meal at Tra Di Noi is just that. Here it easy to guess all the ingredients and flavors in each dish. None of that fusion-stuff going on here and no mystery ingredients. It made me realize that old school is still cool.