Food: Mario Eats Little Italys

Apologies to New York's olive-oil-stained wretches. Mario Batali, the Manhattan super-chef whose new Food Network show, "Ciao America," surveys American Italian food, says that for all its braggadocio, New York's Little Italy comes up a little short. The Big Apple didn't even make Batali's list of top-five Little Italys in the United States. But don't despair, linguine lovers. These cities made the cut:

1. Philadelphia. The Ninth Street produce market is the source for everything Italian in the City of Brotherly Love. When in Rome, do as the Romans do: grab a cheese steak from Gino's or Pat's.

2. Providence. People speaking Italian on the streets and the piazza outside Venda Ravioli make Providence the real deal. You got a problem with that?

3. San Francisco. A taste of the cuisine in North Beach will transport you to the Ligurian coast. The bayside scenery makes this close to the prettiest Little Italy around.

4. St. Louis. Southern Italian cuisine is commonplace in America, but good northern fare is harder to find. You can get it here--the Italian community's northern roots are deep--along with an exquisite risotto at just about any restaurant you try.

5. Seattle. Batali is crazy for Pike Place Market and raves about Salumi, the friendly little spot he calls "the most Italian restaurant" in America. Its owner? Er, Batali's dad.