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From what began as a humble fish market in 1912, Citarella has evolved into a world-class gastronomic destination with just-caught seafood, choice meats, international cheeses, breads, charcuterie, smoked fish and caviar, and whimsical pastries. The fish look like they just jumped out of the ocean; an amazing 75 choices are offered, from swordfish steaks to New Zealand cockles. If you want it fresher, go fish! The meat department offers top quality steaks—all prime aged on-premise and never frozen—fresh poultry, expertly cut rack of lamb, and a variety of sausages. Wild boar, guinea hen, hare and poussin further up the gourmet ante. Prepared foods like juicy rotisserie chickens, stuffed Cornish hens, London broil, and grilled salmon make picnics better, especially when paired with one of 50 kinds of crusty breads. Upstairs, a cozy cheese department fields more than 280 varieties, such as manchego artesano, gorgonzola dolce, and a brin d'amour that's coated with rosemary and juniper berries. Across the aisle, cured meats like prosciutto—from both Parma and San Daniele—and Serrano ham, as well as smoked fish like Eastern nova, tempt shoppers, as do luxurious American caviars. Nearby, the bakery endears with adorable mini pastries, but the phyllo-encrusted apple strudel, flecked with walnuts and lemon zest, rules. Citarella stores may have opened in other locations in Manhattan and beyond, but the Upper West Side gets bragging rights for being this institution's cradle.
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