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The Reorder With PJ Monte

The Sauce Boss' Go-To Italian Spots

February 16, 2021 Hannah McIntosh

As the man behind Monte’s Sauce – the vine-ripened tomato sauce with a cult followingPJ Monte, aka The Sauce Boss, knows good Italian food. Growing up in an Italian family in New York City, PJ can recommend a spot in the city for every type of craving when it comes to the rich and varied types of Italian cuisine. So without further ado, here are PJ’s go-to spots for his favorite Italian dishes served in NYC.

Photo by Giada Paoloni

PJ Monte’s Reorder: Best Italian in NYC

Bar Pitti 

The Sell: “Authentic, no-nonsense, consistent.”

The Order: “Rigatoni Pitti, crispy mushrooms, arugula salad, and two glasses of Montepulciano.”

Photo courtesy of PJ Monte

Osteria Morini

The Sell: “Fresh handmade pasta done well. A lot of places make fresh pasta but that doesn’t always mean it’s good. They do it right here. Plus, tt’s right in the neighborhood (Soho/Little Italy).”

The Order: “The Trofi shrimp ragu on squid ink pasta and the gramigna with the sweet pork sausage really stick out but nearly the entire pasta menu is solid.”

Fusilli with pork shoulder ragu | Courtesy of Osteria Morini, photo by Anthony Leo

Randazzo’s Clam Bar

The Sell: “Fresh, delicious seafood on the water in Brooklyn out by Coney Island. The waitresses are all timeless characters, the clams are shucked right in front of you, the wine is cheap and terrible (I love it), and it’s never a long wait.”

The Order: “You have to get the calamari, some clams on the half shell, and the shrimp Francese is one of my go-to’s. But the shrimp or lobster in the spicy red sauce is also a classic. It’s cheap – bring a date or a friend and go crazy.”

Photo courtesy of Randazzo’s Clam Bar

Don Peppe’s 

The Sell: “It’s next to JFK so a must-go if your flying in or out of town in the evening. The lights are on full blast, everyone seems to be a regular, and all the food is all family-sized so bring some friends or a big appetite. There’s probably an older gentleman watching the Yankees on a 70-inch tv on a folding table as soon as you walk in who’s prepared to yell at you if you wear your hat inside.”

The Order: “Baked Clams, shrimp Luciano, and a bottle of white. Extra sliced loaves of heating-drawer-toasted Italian bread with the small plastic butters to soak up all the clam juice. Get the Veal Milanese if you have enough carnivores with you.”

Photo courtesy of PJ Monte


The Sell: “I had to throw in a pizza joint and this one is a sleeper/personal favorite. In Astoria, the slice is made with fresh mozzarella made on site right in front of you but not too soggy. Perfect crunch, perfect amount of sauce… it might be my favorite NY slice in the city.”

The Order: “Cheese slice, I heard the chicken Parm is incredible as well. Get some fresh mozzarella to go home with.”

Photo by Giada Paoloni

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