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Top Italian Delis In Connecticut

August 1, 2012 6:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

No neighborhood and certainly no Italian neighborhood is complete without a deli from “the old country.” It is where Italians who make their own sauces go for the ingredients and where those who don’t have the time or skills go to buy real home-made sauce. A good Italian deli serves a sandwich so thick and hearty and good that it makes grown men need a nap after lunch and at a price a working man can afford. Here are five of the best such neighborhood-style Italian delis in Connecticut.
nicasmarket Top Italian Delis In Connecticut

(credit: nicasmarket.com)

Nica’s Market
603 Orange St
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 787-5919
nicasmarket.com

Although it has been there for less than 10 years, Nica’s feels like it has been part of the East Rock neighborhood for generations. Giuseppe Sabino and his wife and children not only make food from “authentic Italian family recipes” but also are an “authentic Italian family.” Even the market itself is named after the owner’s granddaughter, Nica (short for Veronica). While Nica’s has everything that every other Italian market or deli has, what makes it truly special is the selection of homemade sauces, notably the unique, thick and rich smoked salmon cream blend.  Then there is the 12-foot-long case of cheeses whose contents are as wondrous as they are overwhelming. Nica’s, of course, like any good neighborhood Italian deli, makes great paninis, parmiggianas and pizzas, but it is in the lengthy list of fish, pasta, antipasto, chicken, meat, vegetable and salad dishes that Nico’s reaches beyond traditional deli or market into the realm of restaurant.

italiansandwich Top Italian Delis In Connecticut

(credit: Thinstock)

Saldamarco’s
86 E Main St
Clinton, CT 06413
(860) 669-3469
saldamarcosdeli.com

Who says the only real Italian delis are those found in the “old neighborhood?” Saldamarco’s is in the decidedly un-Italian beach town of Clinton, but once inside the doors, this could be any great place in New Haven or Bridgeport. Repeatedly voted “best Italian deli on the shore” for its dockside grille meals (which begin with the Fisherman’s Morning breakfast – served all day – and continues on through the sausage and peppers fest of lunch), Saldamarco’s is more than just a place to eat in or take out. It has a locally famous bakery and an even more famous butcher shop – with a butcher on duty.

Related: Top Wine And Cheese Bars In Connecticut

littleitaly Top Italian Delis In Connecticut

(credit: littleitaly1.com)

Little Italy (Piccola Italia)
206 Main St
Wallingford, CT 06492
(203) 265-0505
littleitaly1.com

Any Italian deli with the stones to lay claim to “littleitaly1” for its domain had better be able to prove itself worthy. Piccola Italia is such a place and then some, and it delivers. Where Piccola Italia really stands out is in its unusual selections, such as its Easter pies which include the Pane Cieno (ham pie) as well as the rice, wheat or ricotta versions. Then there are the stuffed breads – the forefather of modern calzones, but so much better. These are fresh-baked loaves of Italian breads stuffed with eggplant, ham, spinach and mozzarella, just to name a few of the many astounding varieties available.

martinositalianmarket Top Italian Delis In Connecticut

(credit: Martino’s Italian Market/Facebook)

Martino’s Italian Market
948 Terryville Ave
Bristol, CT 06010
(860) 583-3585
martinosmarket.com

Established in 1968, this is the real deal in Italian neighborhood delis, especially when it comes to its salami – a salami so good that it even has its own separate website. The Oldani Salame (in Secchi, Genova, Filsette and two varieties of Coppa) is not the only thing that makes Martino’s unique. It has a weekend café, an expresso bar and cooking classes as well. The lunch and dinner specials are restaurant quality. Try the La Bistecco di Flanco Imbottita – fork tender flank steak is stuffed with fresh spinach and imported provolone cheese and slow simmered in a tomato-basil sauce – served, of course, with homemade ricotta gnocchi. While it may be a bit pricey for a neighborhood market or a family restaurant, it is of the highest quality – as are the desserts, which make the $6 for summer berry bread pudding, coconut chiffon cake or pana cotta are well worth it.

romasitaliandeli Top Italian Delis In Connecticut

(credit: Roma’s Italian Deli/Facebook)

Roma’s Italian Deli
39 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 743-5399
romasitaliandeli.com

“The Bronx comes to Danbury,” boasts this little hole in the wall whose strip-mall-like façade hides a cornucopia of “new comfort food” (Roma’s quotes). Roma’s caters entire family-size meals, but it is the abundant luncheon sandwich delights that have made this place a Danbury favorite. From the Italian Alps (fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers) to the Chicken Cutlet Cosmopolitan, this is such a Bronx deli one can almost hear the “fugedaboutit” in the food. The Roma Supreme is a special thing of beauty – grilled portobello mushrooms, breaded eggplant, roasted peppers, provolone, baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes all for $6.25.

Related: Top Tapas In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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