******* PLEASE DONT POST THIS ON TRIP ADVISOR 😉 ***************
You just came back from your first trip to Italy. You are antsy and eager to talk about all the wonderful stuff you did and ate with your colleagues and friends. You are taking more than your usual water cooler breaks in order to bump into as many people as you can. No one does any real work on their first day after vacation anyway. You talk about your trip, like people talk about their babies. You receive pleasure even when you realize they are not listening. Your wife and kids want to eat those rice ball thingies they had on a walking tour in Rome and you now find yourself on a mission again. Here’s a quick guide to help you out
Panzerotto at Mr. Panzerotto (West Village). This is the Calzone’s younger cousin from Puglia. It’s a small fried pocket usually filled with cheese, tomato and other ingredients. The dough is light and airy. While not quite like the one I had in Padua in December, this was surprisingly good and filling for a $5 snack. Blink and you’ll miss it (look up) on Mcdougal.
Suppli at Martina (East VIllage). The Roman answer to Arancini. Rice “balls” but closer to small fat mozzarella sticks. They are filled with rice, cheese and tomato, then dipped in egg and bread crumbs and fried. You go to Martina for the Roman pizzas but you can also have all sorts of interesting snacks like the great meatballs, beans and these Suppli. This is possibly the most satisfying snack of the bunch
Piada at Non Solo Piada (Hell’s Kitchen) – This is a flatbread folded like a taco. Dough is usually made with lard (rendered pig fat) or olive oil. A specialty of Emilia Romagna coastal area (Rimini, Ravenna… Owner from Rimini). Eataly Downtown made them when they opened but it’s now a Ravioli stand. This place is getting very popular and I recommend people try it but I wish they’d find a way to make the dough a little crispier and more fresh tasting.
Trapizzino at Trapizzino (Nolita) – A relatively new Roman invention, a triangle pizza pita pocket stuffed with various combinations and ragus like oxtail and chicken. It made a brief cameo appearance at Madison Square Eats 7 years ago from something appropriately called Broken English. They also sell Suppli and Italian Sodas like Chinotto (*like*). Spacious and inviting space in the increasingly touristy NoLita
Panelle at Ferdinando’s Focacceria (Brooklyn) – These are flat chickpea Fritters you can have as is or in a sandwich. You can find them in the famous street markets of Palermo, or Ferdinando’s Focacceria in Brooklyn. They can be a little greasy but still delicious when done right. Ferdinando’s making them since 1904 is like a mob movie movie set. This is as old school as it gets
Cecina at Santina (West Village)
– Made from Chickpea flour Like Panelle but bigger like a pancake or pizza in some cases. A Tuscan coast specialty, but can be found all over the Liguarian coast. Also called Farinata. In Lucca they cook them in wood burning pizza ovens like pizza. At Santina its round, soft and spongy like the Ethiopian Injera, allowing you to make wraps with the items you order with it (Tuna, shrimp, Mushrooms, etc) or eat it anyway you want. Can be a nice (albeit expensive) snack after your High Line stroll.
Calzone at Tramonti (East Village) – I dont eat Calzones very often these days but this was a standout and possibly the best I ever had in NYC. Dough is light and delicious with top notch imported ingredients inside including the spicy Soppressata. Tramonti is one of many underrated pizza gems in East Village. Owners from the village of Tramonti in Naples, the place that invented pizza. At least thats what they’ll have you believe if you stay long enough and have a few drinks. Just nod and smile
Arancini at Piccola Cucina Osteria Siciliana (Soho)
– These are the famous Sicilian rice balls normally stuffed with ragu, cheese and peas. A more common way to find them is from the Arancini Bro’s in ballparks and festivals. But I recommend Piccola, probably the most Sicilian focused menu in the city. We are talking about the real Sicily here. Not Brooklyn.
Tramezzini at Tramezzini (Lower East Side) – Fat crustless sandwiches you can find in the north like Venice and Cremona. I never had Tramezzini here or any Tramezzini in NYC for that matter. But still listing it here for that water cooler dude from the top paragraph who just wont shut up about his trip to Venice