Cultures and tastes come together in Bay Ridge
Charming brick townhouses line Bay Ridge’s residential streets, and the graceful expanse of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is impossible to miss.
Yet for food lovers, the best reason to visit is the virtual United Nations of cuisine, found in the grocery shops and restaurants that line Third Avenue.
Take the R to 86th street and walk to Third Avenue, starting your food walk in the 90s and heading down to the 60s.
9124 Third Ave., 718-680-2347
A wedge of spaghetti frittata filled with anchovy and egg ($6.50) signals that this is not your usual Italian deli. They offer over 150 different and massive sandwiches on crusty Italian bread—from a simple, but favorite, mozzarella and peppers to hot sopressata, Bel Paese cheese and green olive paste. But don’t get too full— the cannoli are “to die for.”
Little Cupcake Bakeshop
9102 Third Ave., 718-680-4465
This is every child’s (or grown-up’s) dream. Small cupcakes ($2 each) with frothy icing in a rainbow of colors fill the cases, on top of which sit massive three-layer cakes such as Brooklyn Blackout and Southern Red Velvet ($4.75 a slice or $24 to $38 a cake). Grown-ups can indulge their caffeine cravings with Illy coffee concoctions.
9110 Third Ave., 718-680-0222
There’s a pizzeria on almost every block, but if you have to choose one, it should be Nino’s, and their “Gran MaMa” slice ($2.50 slice/$16 pie), a crispy ultra-thin square that stays rigid even when slathered with tomato sauce, mozzarella and olive oil. Other favorites are the vodka pizza, ($3 slice/$19 pie) and the grilled chicken Caesar($3 slice/$19 pie). The specialties, such as Sicilian rice balls ($3), are enticing, too.
Frank & Eddie’s Meat Market
302 82nd St. 718-836-9600 and 7502 Third Ave., 718-836-4168
This is where the locals go for excellent meats, fresh bread, authentic deli sandwiches, prepared salads and the kind of attentive service you’re never going to get in a Subway or
supermarket. Take home Frank & Eddie’s interesting homemade sausages, such as the small lamb sausages with wine ($4.23 a pound) and sweet pork sausages with cheese and parsley ($4.53 a pound).
Samia’s Mediterranean Food Products
7922 Third Ave., 718-748-3337
A glass case in the back is filled with prepared Middle Eastern specialties, such as savory pilaf dotted with chickpeas or cigar-shaped cabbage rolls stuffed with rice, veggies and more (most for $5 a pound). This warehouse-like store features haphazard arrangements of phyllo desserts drizzled with honey, large vats of olives, and olive oils, nuts, spices, and pitas galore.
7803 Third Ave., 718-833-1700
According to the menu, this is “a little spot for all your mango needs,” and, indeed you can have a mango mojito, mango chicken ($13), mango salad ($7) and, for dessert, mango sticky rice (fresh mango with sweet coconut sticky rice for $7). Not mad for mango? You can order Singaporean vermicelli ($9-11), old favorites such as Pad Thai ($9-11) and My Thai pancakes ($4) fried in coconut butter and a true, Malaysian street eat.
7704 Third Ave., 718-748-5600
With its rave reviews and 25 Zagat rating, Tanoreen has put Bay Ridge on every NYC foodie’s map. Palestinian chef-owner Rawia Bishara creates ample, singular dishes that are a tribute to her mother’s cooking in Nazareth, using signature “tanoreen spices,” an irreproducible mix of nine spices. The reasonably priced menu changes daily, but try to get a lamb fetteh, fried pita chips topped with moist chunks of lamb, thick yogurt, roasted pine nuts and, of course, “tanoreen spices.” Note: The restaurant will soon move to 7523 Third Ave.
Casper Polish-American Delicatessen
8122 Third Ave., 718-238-6894
Links of kielbasa, shelves of plum preserves, 25-cent sweets with untranslatable wrappers revealing liquor infused chocolate inside—these are just some of the cool comestibles at Casper’s “Polsky Delikatesy.” All kielbasa are pork and vary in degrees of smokiness and spiciness. An 18-inch link of typical Polish podwawelska ($4.99 a pound) and “mountain style” goralska ($5.49 a pound) cry out for dark bread, mustard and beer.
Anapoli Family Restaurant
6920 Third Ave., 718-748-3863
A Bay Ridge staple, this diner/ice cream parlor typifies the neighborhood’s laid-back, family-friendly appeal. Tile floors, pretty vintage-green walls, a long counter, and an outdoor “garden cafe” make this a charming place to meet a friend for a classic BLT ($4.95), a hot open brisket sandwich ($8.45) or a double old-fashioned sundae for only $3.70—less than you’d pay for a child-sized scoop at Ben & Jerry’s.
Nordic Delicacies, Inc.
6909 Third Ave., 718-748-1874
Bay Ridge was known as Little Norway through the 1960s, before construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge caused public outcry among residents, who up and left. Yet Norwegians return to stock up on fiskeballer (canned fishballs), krumkaker (classic Scandinavian cookies), vats of lingonberries, and Mrs. Olson’s potato lefse ($5.95), pancakes you can microwave and spread with cloudberry preserves and a dab of butter. You can also buy Norse tchotchkes, such as tiny trolls and T-shirts.