Restaurant from Italy’s hippest neighborhood opens in Brooklyn’s

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

When in Brooklyn, do as the Romans do.

Williamsburg is home to a new Italian restaurant straight from the boot-shaped country itself, after an Italian family chose the hip neighborhood for the opening of their second restaurant because they say it reminds them of their own hip hometown.

“We chose Williamsburg in Brooklyn because it reminded us of Travestere, the neighborhood in Rome in which we are located,” said Francesco Panella, who owns the new spot Antica Pesa on Berry Street with his brother.

Panella said the Italian and the American neighborhoods were similar in that they are both removed from other parts of the city by a river — the Tiber in Rome, the East River in New York City — and both went through periods of turbulence before emerging as successful and highly developed today.

Others, like Brooklyn Courier photographer and Milan-native Stefano Giovannini, had a more straightforward take on the neighborhood’s similarities.

“Travestere is like the hipster neighborhood in Rome,” he said.

The restaurant serves Italian pasta staples like spaghetti cacio e pepe and homemade gnocchi with tomato and pesto, as well as heavier fare like braised beef cheek with carrots and thyme and Roman salt cod.

And while Italians have made Brooklyn their home for generations, the owners of Antica Pesa say they meet many newly arrived Europeans in Brooklyn, mainly Parisians, and that they’re the first of a soon to come Italian wave.

“In Europe, Brooklyn is considered one of the coolest spots right now,” said Panella, who was a TV host in Italy for Sky broadcasting, and will soon film a show about Brooklyn cuisine for the TV station.

“I probably consider myself one of the first Italians here, but am honored to be able to partake in this cultural phenomenon.”

Antica Pesa [115 Berry St. between North Seventh and North Eighth streets in Williamsburg, (347) 763–2635]

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Ron from Brooklyn says:
Just a minor correction. In the article you write the name of the area in Rome where the restaurant owners are from is Travestere. The area is actually called Trastevere. Great article though!
May 2, 2013, 8:32 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.