Dante’s is a classic Italian deli with quality wedges (eggplant, sausage and peppers) and panini, but it’s also a gourmet Italian market. Homemade pastas (the ravioli are a bestseller) and mozzarella, ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers, stuffed figs, butcher meats, panforte (a dense flat cake full of honey, nuts, and candied fruit), olive oil (one from Puglia or one from the Marches?), and aged cheeses are offered. Also sold here: a selection of ceramics. Open 8:30 am to 6 pm Tues through Sun.
What’s the secret of that pillowy ravioli? Partly, it’s the half-century-old Lombi pasta machine in the back. But it’s also the hands-on approach. “Depending on the humidity in the air,” says owner Anthony Perrotta, “the amount of water and eggs that go into the dough changes. You know it’s right by the feel with the hand.” And finally, it’s Perrotta’s commitment to his craft. The passionate pasta man is up by 3:00 am on Saturdays making the 100 boxes or so of ravioli he sells per week. The favorite? A basic cheese ravioli made with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano, Asiago, fresh parsley, eggs, and fresh ricotta from Calabro Farm in East Haven, Connecticut. Perrotta has a tip to spot poorly made ravioli. “If the ridges are too uniform, it was made using an industrial process.” At Dante’s, uniform ridges are something you’ll never see.
Best Italian Deli (2012)
Sometimes, you can fall in love with just a smell. This happens to us every time we walk into Dante’s, an authentic, old-school Italian market that also serves top-quality imports. Looking for Puglian burrata? Or fragrant San Daniele prosciutto? You’ll find it here, along with excellent Italian breads, fresh sausages and meats, canned goods, Italian sandwiches, and antipasti. Delizioso.
Best Deli 2010