best pizza in manhattan?
- j May 4, 2006 11:10 AM
hi! leaving ny shortly and want to try
the best ny pizza (except Lombardi's and
Grimaldi's since i've already tried).
Far be it for me to be the last word on NY pizza as I don't live there anymore, that being said...
DiFara - Different class altogether
Grimaldis - Better than patsys
Lombardis- pretty close you will get much arguments on both sides in this case
Johns - not quite as good as Patsys
Never been to pizza 33.
The other locations that I have been to are not as good as the one in Harlem but are still good. Probably as good as John's other locations, not the original.
re: T. Pigeon
The Patsy's in Harlem only shares its name with the others, but the pizza is far better (at the original).
I think that the owners of the original gave (sold) the rights to the name. I don't believe that there is any other connection (food, decor...) b/t the original and the chain...but I'm hearing this second-hand.
I also think that Grimaldi's, Lombardi's and Patsy's all oringinally had some sort family connection.
"Grimaldi, whose restaurant bears his name, learned the trade from his uncle and namesake, Patsy Lancieri, who, in turn, learned from Gennaro Lombardi, the man credited with opening the first pizzeria in America, Lombardi's, in 1905. Lancieri opened the celebrated Patsy's in East Harlem in 1931 where Grimaldi worked 61 years ago at the tender age of 10."
Aside from incredibly good pizza, the Harlem Pasty's is wonderful to visit. The center of disappearing Italian Harlem, and I remember watching, years ago, the 90 year old owner, daughter of the founder, a frail old lady, rushing outside waving her cane to chase away some hoodlums from the sidewalk near the entrance. There's a dining room and, a few doors down, the oven and small takeout place.
No flames, I guess it's just a difference of opinions. the old man has always been pretty cool to me and I actually really like the pizza there. I'm assuming the time of night and condition of customers he gets probably makes him harder or ruder to some customers but I've always enjoyed my stops there.
re: john k
The "old man" has a name, and it's Sal, and he is one of the nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He never fails to bring a smile to my face. I am not willing to defend the pizza, as I have many other favorites in Manhattan, but Sal is a joy to be around,.... so maybe take the time to get to know him on your next visit.
Luzzo's and Una Pizza Napoletana near 12th and 1st ave, La Pizza Fresca on 20th, or Patsy's Uptown are my choices these days for primo pie. That being said, while I like the pizza, I do not like to Una Pizza Napoletana.
Both Nick's and Giorgio's are extraordinary, almost as good as Lombardi's, better than Grimaldi's in my opinion.
"best pizza in manhattan or the 5 boroughs" is one of those age-old topics that gets debated endlessly in this city, but is never fully resolved (and probably never will be).
IMO di fara, in the midwood section of brooklyn, is the standard bearer for nyc pizza. many on this board will agree with me on that. i think it would be absolutely perfect if it were made in a coal-fired oven, but in all honesty i'm just splitting hairs here; bottom line, it's by far the best pizza.
while there are numerous good-to-great pizza places in the 5 boroughs, i'll limit myself to manhattan (and throw in grimaldi's, since it's right across the river) in ranking the best pizzas:
1) patsy's (only the original spanish harlem location on 1st ave btwn 117th/118th; the other locations are separately owned and far inferior)
2) una pizzeria napoletana
e. 12th st, east village
a little pricey for the portions, but it really adheres to the strict neapolitan style of making pies. a very different pie than your "typical" or "classic" nyc pizza.
kenmare st @ mott st, nolita
new place that serves pies and slices out of a wood-fired oven. i've gone here twice and was impressed by the ingredients, crust, and flavor the first time; the second time, the slice was good but a little dried-out (probably due to reheating).
6) john's (only the original bleecker st location btwn 7th/6th aves; the other branches are nowhere near as good)
i have to add a major caveat here: the brooklyn location is easily one of the best pizzas in the city (probably in the top 3 along with di fara), but the manhattan locations are only so-so in comparison. i once had an excellent pie at the gramercy park location (the pies were unremarkable on my other visits there), but have never had better than a so-so pie at the upper east side branch.
if the manhattan branches consistently made pies of the same quality as the brooklyn branch, totonno's would be #1 on this manhattan list.
8) sal and carmine's
broadway near 100th st, on the (far) upper west side.
2nd best pizza by-the-slice in manhattan after the original patsy's in spanish harlem. nothing spectacular here, just a good old-fashioned, classic nyc slice.
9) joe's pizza
carmine st off of bleecker st in the village.
best "by-the-slice" place downtown. be sure to get a slice that's fresh out of the oven, which is typical late at night when there are long (but fast-moving) lines; that's the quintessential joe's experience. if you get a slice mid-day, you'll probably get a slice that's been sitting around and is dried up--not terrible, but nothing special.
but when you get a fresh slice from joe's...all i can say is, that's a TRUE nyc experience.