The Bronx isn't part of any restaurant scene. The Bronx doesn't have gentrification, co-op boards, gastrocrats, or mustachioed mixologists. The Bronx keeps it real; The Bronx is New York as it once was, when restaurants were where you went to eat, without theater and without hype. The Bronx remembers.
Great service, classic Italian food of the red-sauce and mozzarella variety, and an atmosphere that no Hollywood art director could hope to simulate make's Patricia's a quintessential old-school Bronx restaurant. "Try the veal, it's the best in the city."
Just a classic, throwback pizza joint, this Bronx standby totally embodies what the New York slice should be: thin, crispy, greasy, delicate, salty-sweet, and served on a paper plate.
Carnegie, Carnegie, Carnegie. Katz's, Katz's, Katz's. You never hear people talk about Liebman's in the Bronx, and it's still great and -- better still -- has never become a museum of pastrami. Although the pastrami is museum quality.
This is the kind of seafood restaurant (nautical fixtures, lobster newburg, crab legs by the kilo, tartar sauce) that they are thinking of when they say "old school." And where else could it be but City Island?
Generally considered the best old-time Italian restaurant in the Bronx, Roberto's has one drawback: its popularity has leeched it of its warm former atmosphere. Too many tourists.
Tourists still flock to Dominick's, and it's very good, don't get me wrong. But the real gem on Arthur Avenue is Tra Da Noi, a small neighbohood restaurant with homey, outstanding southern Italian food and a locals-only crowd.
Just an extraordinary, beautifully thin and delicate pizza, one of the best in New York. Nothing about it reflects the "yo, Vinnie" culture that surrounds it. This is true Italian craftsmanship.
Only the most intrepid foodies will hasten to Papaye, the city's only (to my knowledge) Ghanian restaurant. You eat thick cassava paste with your hands and pick at bony goat pieces, but for for the hardcore chowhound, this is a place you have to go.
The popular imagination south of the Harlem River sees the Bronx as Black, Latino, and Italian, but don't tell them that at Piper's Kilt unless you want to wake up in traction. The old Irish Bronx is alive and well at this pub, which happens to also have a really, really good burger.
City Island, an isolated fishing community in the Bronx, exists pretty much outside of time, and so does its most famous restaurant, the eternally enjoyable Johnny's. This isn't the greatest seafood in the world, to be honest. But it's the greatest seafood experience in New York.