This Sunday in Little Italy marks the 21st annual FESTA! celebration, a free street festival that celebrates Italian food, art, music and sports (stickball and bocce). Booths will line the thoroughfare along India Street selling food and Italian specialty items, except where artists have embellished the pavement with colorful Gesso Italiano (Italian Chalk). Since this is the first year Little Italy has decided to merge the Sicilian Festival (usually held in May annually) with FESTA, it’s expected to bring in an even larger crowd than usual.
The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I recommend getting there as early as possible. I’ve attended a few times in the past, and finding parking has always been an issue. So save yourself a headache by taking an Uber.
If you get tired of fighting the crowds, or want a place to actually sit down and eat, I recommend heading over to Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood Restaurant. It’s on Columbia Street away from the crowds, and is still new to the Little Italy neighborhood. Their specialty is ceviche (they serve several types), but my other menu favorites are the beet salad and the salmon with aji sauce. The executive chef, Jaime Chavez, is from the southern tip of Chile, so he definitely knows how to prepare seafood. Several people have raved about the carrot cake, but I think it tastes like a deconstructed Clif Bar with shaved carrots. Sirena also started serving weekend brunch recently, but I haven’t been in to check it out yet.