3. Bensonhurst is also called Brooklyn’s Little Italy
Though a few neighborhoods in Brooklyn call themselves Brooklyn’s Little Italy, including Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst may have the strongest justification. Though Bensonhurst’s Italian community is shrinking, the neighborhood is still home to one of the largest Italian-speaking communities outside of Italy. Bensonhurst has for about a century had a large Italian population, as well as a sizable Jewish community, and while most of the Jewish eateries and shops have since closed, many Italian ones have survived. Centered around Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard (18th Avenue) is the heart of the Italian community, including lots of small family-owned shops and restaurants, many of which have been open for decades. In particular, the area hosts quite large populations of Sicilians and Neapolitans, many of whom plan the annual Festa di Santa Rosalia.
Some of the top Bensonhurst Italian restaurants include Villa Fiorita, Panino Rustico, and La Palina. Stores like Lioni Italian Heroes, Giulia’s Cucina and Desserts, S.A.S. Italian Records, and Pastosa Ravioli serve some of the most traditional and freshest Italian staples in Brooklyn. There are also a few remaining social clubs, including the Sciacca Social Club and Società Figli di Ragusa, which attract many of the neighborhood’s longtime Italian residents.