There are more than a few neighborhoods in Brooklyn with strong Italian roots. These days, most areas are a diverse mix of new arrivals and older residents, but that classic Italian heritage remains, especially when it comes to food. Here are a few neighborhood classics not to miss. Mangia!


Named for Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, Carroll Gardens has long been an Italian neighborhood, a fact made clear by the mom-and-pop restaurants and storefronts along Smith and Court Streets, the two main drags.

queen-restaurant-carroll-gardens-capesante-con-piselli1-8708210Capesante con piselli | Queen Restaurant

Queen Restaurant, though technically in Brooklyn Heights, deserves a mention because it’s so close to Carroll Gardens and is a family-owned restaurant. Brothers Pasquino and Vincent Vitiello took over cooking from their father, Anthony, who opened the restaurant in 1958. The pollo alla fiorentina and house-made mozzarella are not to be missed, nor is the zabaglione when it comes time for dessert.

mazzola-bakery-carroll-gardens-easter-baking-bread-3835989An Easter tradition | Mazzola Bakery

Marco Polo has a great selection of fish dishes and a raw bar. Their excellent pastas include fettuccine al vino rosso, which is tossed, table-side, in a hollowed out parmesan wheel. If you’re more inclined to snack than to dine, check out Court Pastry (for the sfogliatelle or lobster tail pastry), Mazzola Bakery (for the lard bread) and Caputo’s (Italian specialties of all kinds, from meats, cheese, and olive oils to breads and pastas). Get cannoli at each one and compare! (more…)