Going to the San Gennaro Festival is somewhat of a family tradition. For the past couple of years, my family and I have been making our way to Little Italy in New York City and walking the insanely packed streets to see what the festival has to offer. If you don’t know, the San Gennaro Festival takes place along Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets. You can watch vendors cook pasta, sausages, and pizza right in front of you all in the name of celebrating San Gennaro — the patron saint of Naples.

It’s a celebration that has been ongoing since September 1926. The activities started on September 14 with the Blessing of the Stands. September 16 was the Grand Procession, a huge parade filled with marching bands, floats, and a statue of San Gennaro. September 19 will be a Solemn High Mass celebrating the patron saint at 6 p.m. Aside from the San Gennaro feast day celebrations, you can enjoy carnival games, karaoke competitions, and more until Sunday, September 24.

It’s honestly a food lover’s dream and one of my favorite ways to close out summer. So, if you haven’t gone yet and experienced the good food and games, here’s everything I ate at the San Gennaro Festival.

Mrs. Claus Cafe: cheese wheel pasta 

Photo from Giselle Medina

This has to be one of the best pastas I’ve ever had. It costs $20 plus tax for a container of cheesy pasta. Seeing the process of making the dish was probably better than actually eating it. There was a huge cheese wheel cut in half that had a decent-sized bowl-shaped indent in the middle where the cook melted the cheese. The pasta is placed in the bowl-shaped indent with white sauce and parsley, mixed for around two minutes, and topped with more parmesan cheese.

Street Food Napoletana: calamari, rice balls, & potato croquettes    

Photo from Giselle Medina

The calamari, rice balls, and potato croquettes came in a handheld container with a bit of red sauce on top. The way this was presented reminded me of the fries from pomme frites. I love the packaging, super easy to hold while walking through the streets. (I’m not joking, it’s super packed so make sure you wear comfortable shoes.) This $15-cash-only combo was topped with their marinara sauce and despite that, everything was still crispy. 

Street Food Napoletana: pasta and meatballs

Photo from Giselle Medina

I really loved the sauce from Street Food Napoletana and knew this pasta and meatballs dish was going to be delicious. I wasn’t wrong. A container of pasta costs $15, and it’s cash-only. It wasn’t too saucy and only came with around two small meatballs. I like my pasta filled with sauce but I wasn’t mad about the amount especially if I’m walking and eating. (Tip: there’s nowhere to eat the food you’re getting at the festival — it’s a grab and go.)

Umbertos Clam House: baked clams

Photo from Giselle Medina

I will be honest, I’m not a clam girly. It just never caught my attention. But hey, I’m in my trying-new-things era. I went for baked clams because I felt like having them cooked would be a good way to start off this journey. I liked the crunchy coating, but this wasn’t for me. However, Umbertos had a huge line for the majority of the time I was at the festival, so that says something. Plus, you can get these eight baked clams for $18 (cash only). 

Danny on the Corner: zeppoli 

Photo from Giselle Medina

These light and airy dough puffs were everything. Lightly dusted with powdered sugar, these zeppoles were six for $7. I highly recommend you eat them while they’re still nice and hot — they make them right in front of you too!

Cannoli King: cannoli 

Photo from Giselle Medina

I cannot go to the festival without getting cannolis. The cannoli cream is one of my favorite things right under chocolate, so the chocolate cannolis were obviously a must. The chocolate cannoli shell is a lot harder than the regular. The regular is much softer and doesn’t crumble when you bite into it. These minis were six for $10, but if you want the bigger ones it’s four for $28. I went for minis so that I could have room for more pasta. 

Tropical Productio: strawberry daiquiri 

Photo from Giselle Medina

Getting these souvenir cups is another must for me. It’s also just a refreshing cold drink that you can casually sip while waiting in line for food or walking. This juice stand offers a variety of drinks and flavors like pina coladas, lemonades, and daiquiris. With the souvenir cup, it was $25 for one refill and $30 for unlimited. You could also pay with cash or card.