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Dine out in the Bronx (Illustration: Mary-Louise Price Foss)

10 Restaurants in the Bronx Worth the Subway Ride

'Da best eats in the city's northernmost borough are wide-ranging and lip-smacking, from a slice that'll knock your socks off to a deli where not much has changed since opening day in 1953

Long a patchwork of neighborhoods settled by different immigrant populations, the Bronx has the culinary landscape to reflect that history. Arthur Avenue is considered a Little Italy par excellence (or is that per eccellenza?), and Riverdale attracted and has retained a substantial Jewish population. In recent years, the demographic makeup has shifted, with increasing West African, Dominican and Bangladeshi populations. At every step of the way, newcomers have brought their own traditions — and, often, irresistible eats.

And while the food-loving set has long since figured out that hopping on the 7 train can get you to a world of culinary wonders in Queens and that Brooklyn has its own culinary claims to fame, the Bronx might just be New York’s most diverse — and least discovered — eating destination. Here are 10 Bronx restaurants worth climbing on the subway for, from old-school Riverdale delis to homestyle Mexican fare in Parkchester.

 

Louie & Ernie's (Photo: Joe Hall/Flickr CC)

Louie & Ernie’s (Photo: Joe Hall/Flickr CC)

Louie & Ernie’s
Every borough has its classic pizzerias, and the Bronx is no exception. The family-run, cash-only Louie & Ernie’s, up near Pelham Bay, is as old-world New York as it gets, from the stripped-down menu to the no-nonsense “PIZZA” sign out front. Opt for the ricotta-covered white pie or the excellent sausage and onion, with delicate balls of fennel-flecked sausage that flavor every bite. The circa 1987 pizzeria has a small indoor seating area and a few spots in the backyard, weather permitting. 1300 Crosby Ave., Bronx, 718-829-6230

 

Zero Otto Nove dining room (Photo: Courtesy of Zero Otto Nove)

Zero Otto Nove dining room (Photo: Courtesy of Zero Otto Nove)

Zero Otto Nove
Whereas Louie & Ernie’s is all New York in style — and we mean that in the very best of ways — Zero Otto Nove in in Belmont hews closer to Italy, with antipasti and linguini and ricotta cheesecake all on its long menu. (The murals inside evoke an Italian village.) But here, too, pizza is the main draw, Neapolitan-style pies from a massive central oven, made according to tradition: fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce, thin, blistered crusts. You can’t go wrong with the margherita, but feel free to branch out with a ham-mushroom capricciosa or sausage-broccoli rabe la san Matteo. 2357 Arthur Ave., Bronx, 718-220-1027, roberto089.com

 

Interior of Roberto's (Photo: Courtesy of Roberto's)

Interior of Roberto’s (Photo: Courtesy of Roberto’s)

Roberto’s
Arthur Avenue is one of the city’s true Italian-American neighborhoods, and you can still buy fabulous fresh cheeses, salumi, breads and Italian imports at its various specialty stores. But in terms of Italian dining, our money is on Roberto’s, a relative newcomer at around 12 years old and sister to Zero Otto Nove. Here, the focus is on the food of southern Italy, from indulgent appetizers like the eggplant-zucchini-mozzarella Parmigiana di melanzane e zucchine to a full range of pastas and elegant entrees like veal chops and grilled rabbit. 603 Crescent Ave., Bronx, 718-733-9503, roberto089.com

 

Bangladeshi offerings at Neerob (Photo: Brian Silverman/Friedneckbonesandsomehomefries.com)

Bangladeshi offerings at Neerob (Photo: Brian Silverman/Friedneckbonesandsomehomefries.com)

Neerob
Not just a Bangladeshi restaurant, but a well-known gathering point for the local community, this “modest, sunny establishment serves as a de facto social center,” writes Dave Cook in The New York Times, “partly for the genial atmosphere.” Come to the Parkchester spot for the warm greeting, but stay for the cuisine, including mashed vegetable bhartas, complex fish dishes and curries, all often inflected with green chilies and mustard oil. Skip a written menu in favor of walking right up to the steam table — follow your instincts (and your nose), point to what calls you, and you’ll end up with a plate of something delicious. 2109 Starling Ave., Bronx, 718-904-7061

 

Hot dogs at Liebman's Bronx Delicatessen (Photo: Courtesy of Liebman's)

Hot dogs at Liebman’s Bronx Delicatessen (Photo: Courtesy of Liebman’s)

Liebman’s Bronx Delicatessen
High-quality delicatessens are a dying art in the five boroughs. But you’d never know it at Liebman’s Bronx Delicatessen in Spuyten Duyvil, a sit-down spot that looks like it hasn’t changed much since its opening in 1953. Order the classics — pastrami or corned beef on rye, a hot brisket sandwich or a Reuben — all served with a fat pickle and coleslaw. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s everything that a proper deli should be. 552 W. 235th St., Bronx, 718-548-4534, liebmansdeli.com

 

Chicken and beef at Ebe Ye Yie (Photo: Dave Cook/Eating In Translation)

Chicken and beef at Ebe Ye Yie (Photo: Dave Cook/Flickr/Eating In Translation)

Ebe Ye Yie
“Home to an exploding population of Ghanaians that is the largest in the States, the Bronx has, in recent years, started to gain traction as a destination for honest, cheap West African food,” wrote Bronx food expert Chris Crowley on Serious Eats. While plenty of similar restaurants aren’t much to look at, Ebe Ye Yie in Fordham has a cheery, colorful dining room and dishes compelling enough to draw in any visitor. Walk up to the Plexiglass window and choose your meal: generally a spicy stewed meat, swerved with fufu, a yam-cassava mixture mashed into a paste that soaks up everything you dip it in. 2364 Jerome Ave., Bronx, 718-220-1300

 

Bronx Ale House (Photo: Courtesy of Bronx Ale House)

Bronx Ale House (Photo: Courtesy of Bronx Ale House)

Bronx Ale House
You might think of microbrews and upscale pub food as more Brooklyn than the Bronx. But Bronx Ale House in Kingsbridge disputes that notion, with 16 rotating taps, an extensive list of bottles and beer knowledge thorough enough to please any aficionado. The brick-walled, dark wood-accented space is cozy and pubby, and as you’d expect the bar dominates the space. To eat, perhaps fried pickles, or chorizo-topped nachos or a hefty pulled-pork sandwich — all of which, of course, have beer as a best friend. 216 W. 238th St., Bronx, 718-601-0204, bronxalehouse.com

 

Camarones (shrimp) at Taqueria Tlaxcalli (Photo: Garrett Ziegler/whrtny.com)

Camarones (shrimp) at Taqueria Tlaxcalli (Photo: Garrett Ziegler/whrtny.com)

Taqueria Tlaxcalli
Opened eight years back by Mauricio Gomez, an immigrant from Mexico City, Tlaxcalli in Parkchester has a menu that stretches far beyond the typical carnitas and al pastor. Those, too, are excellent: but so is the cactus salad, the barbacoa, the alambres and the sopes — it’s hard to mis-order here. While not fancy, the décor is definitely a step or two above corner taqueria and you can peek into the bustling open kitchen to see the magic happen. Even The New York Times took notice: “A restaurant as solidly good as Mr. Gómez’s is always a happy surprise,” wrote Pete Wells in a 2013 review of the Parkchester spot. 2103 Starling Ave., Bronx, 347-851-3085

 

Picaditas at El Atoradero (Photo: Iwantmorefood.com)

Picaditas at El Atoradero (Photo: Iwantmorefood.com)

El Atoradero
Head to Taqueria Tlaxcalli for the tacos, but go to El Atoradero for genuine homestyle Mexican fare. It’s a tiny little restaurant in Mott Haven with only a few seats, but the Village Voice calls owner Lina Chavez’s carnitas some of the city’s best, and they’re worth an order in any form. Show up on weekends for the numerous specials, which might include her rich, stewed-for-days mole or chipotle-sauced albondigas meatballs. 800 E. 149th St., Bronx, 718-292-7949

 

West African dish from Patina African Kitchen (Photo: Courtesy of Patina)

West African dish from Patina African Kitchen (Photo: Courtesy of Patina)

Patina African Kitchen
Serious Eats called it some of the Bronx’s best West African food — Patina Africa Kitchen serves the fare of Yoruba, within Nigeria, from whence the chef and owner hails. Her standout dishes include efro riro, essentially stewed greens with spices and funky smoked fish; egusi, with turkey, goat and melon seeds all cooked together; and “Banga,” or palm nut stew. The dining room is small but pleasant and dishes are served on real dishware, a homey touch in keeping with the restaurant’s vibe. 823 E. 169th St., Bronx, 718-378-7700

Want more outer borough eats? Check out our 10 Brooklyn Restaurants Worth a Subway Ride and 10 Queens Restaurants Worth the Subway Ride.

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