A Traveler’s Guide to Discovering Neighborhood Restaurants

A BOOTH in a Midtown Manhattan restaurant has a small plaque with my grandmother’s name on it, just a few feet beneath a giant plaster breast. For more than a quarter-century, my grandmother, my mother, and I had our regular Sunday lunches at Trattoria Dell’Arte, the 30-year-old Italian restaurant—known for its larger-than-life artistic renderings of various body parts—just across the street from Carnegie Hall.

I became a regular at a young age. When my mother was pregnant with me, my grandmother would bring her heaping takeout…

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