My search for the best pizza in New York continues….

One of the newest tours I give is a food tour up on Arthur Avenue, which any New Yorker will tell you is the real Little Italy. The Bronx neighborhood is densely populated with traditional Italian bakeries, cheese shops, butchers, and amazing restaurants. In fact, I’ve been trying to work my way through all the red sauce joints and I realized there must also be incredible pizza up here.

So my journey has been reignited specifically up in the Bronx. There will be a number of reviews in the coming weeks of the pizza options in and around the neighborhood of Belmont.

One of the most widely acclaimed pizzas in the neighborhood surprised me. It came from Cafe al Mercato, which is a pretty nondescript stand in the back of the historic Arthur Avenue Retail Market sporting a small gas oven.

I’ve walked by here many times and caught glimpses of the square slices that sit in a plastic container on the counter. In my mind they looked pretty generic and I assumed they sat here all day long so I didn’t have high hopes.

There are all sorts of giant toppings to choose from, but I always feel I should start with the original. Call me a purist if you must. I skipped the overflowing sausage and eggplant and opted for just plain cheese.

This square slice more closely resembled the original Italian tomato pies of yesteryear (or so I’ve been told). There was some light cheese underneath the slick of tomato sauce, but cheese was not the star of this show. The shining component was the excellent buttery crust which looked thicker but proved to be quite thin.

Each bite was crisp and well balanced with the acidic sauce. It definitely packed a punch and proved to be more than its less-than-appealing display hinted at.

Still not sure if it’s the best pizza on Arthur Avenue, but it’s definitely worth a try (I imagine the toppings add even more oomph to this pizza). And you can certainly taste the Italian roots with this slice just as you’d expect from the real Little Italy.

Is Cafe al Mercato the best pizza in NY? It’s one of the more traditional Italian slices I’ve come across and the thick buttery dough raises the bar to an 8 out of 10.

CAFE AL MERCATO
2344 Arthur Avenue (between East 186th Street and Crescent Avenue),
Inside Arthur Avenue Retail Market,
Belmont, Bronx
(718) 364-7681
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Category: Pizza

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

Comments are closed.

Connect with me

Link to our Youtube Page
Link to our Facebook Page
Link to our Rss Page
Link to our Twitter Page

WATCH

LOCALS KNOW: CUSCO RUINS & MARKETS TOUR in CUSCO AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE CITY: IRAN AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE CITY: PERU AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE CITY: GREECE
EMPIRE PLATES OF MINE A DAY IN THE LIFE
EAT THIS BOSTON: IN THE SOUP SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BREWED


DREAM A LITTLE CREAM CHEESE


BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINATOWN


ICE CREAM


KOSHER MEAT MARKET


PIZZA DAY


Instagram Feed