Walking up Murray Hill Road approaching Mayfield, the main streets that comprise this original Italian-American community, I heard Italian music through the open door of a small shop, La Bella Vita.
The atmosphere is so Italian here that even a beautiful fresco graces the ceiling above the entrance.
I could have spent all day in here but since we had just a few hours and we planned on eating lunch in Little Italy, I had to be content to browse for less than a half hour. I immediately recognized the hand-painted ceramic plates from Vietri by their design. They are the same ones I had purchased in Italy and later ordered from Romeo Cuomo, from Italian Decorative Art
Pete explained how everything here is hand selected by himself and his wife, whose father is from Italia. They travel to Italy yearly to choose and purchase their items and visit the places where they manufacture the products.
I left there with three vintage posters which I will soon be hanging in my home.
Before we left I asked Pete for his recommendation for a light lunch. I mentioned I was in the mood for a caprese salad and he didn’t hesitate when he told us we had to go to Maxi’s. “They have the best,” he said. It’s the restaurant with the black awning. You can’t miss it.”
When asked, he also happily recommended the historic family-owned Corbo’s Bakery for gelato and the well-known (and family-owned since 1903) Presti’s for a cappuccino or caffè if we wanted to sit down.
The caprese salad at Maxi’s was the best I have tasted outside of Italy and the prosecco was wonderful too! At Presti’s I needed a double shot of espresso to perk me up after the prosecco! Elise enjoyed the pistachio gelato from Corbo’s.
I have found that a recommendation from a local is always the best.
What about you? When you travel, do you seek out local advice? I’d love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment.
Grazie and Ciao
If you aren’t already following me on Instagram please stop by to see many more images from Italy and all things Italian, and much more.