HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Pizza Recommendations..

I have a confession. I've moved to NYC from the South and haven't really enjoyed any of the pizza everyone raves about. I just got used to the thick-crusted pizzas with multiple toppings of the South. Am I the only one like this? Anyone have good recommendations for some spectacular pizza places in NYC?

Here's my rant on pizza from my blog:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think maybe stick to Sbarro pizza shops or Famiglia's. They fall somewhere between the stuff you described down south and the "decent" stuff we crave up here. I really think it's the toppings you're hooked on. In NYC, when NY'ers speak about good pizza, they're speaking highly about the sauce, the crust, and lastly, the cheese. Toppings always come last. I think eventually you'll come around.

    1. I think there's a chance that you may, as you propose on your blog, might not be a pizza person. There's nothing wrong with preferring toppings on your pizza, of course, but if you find yourself bored with plain ones, then either you're not a pizza person or you're not eating the right pizzas. I suggest that you try Patsy's on 116th and 1st Ave., which I think is better than the two you tried, but especially Di Fara's in Brooklyn. The latter has a thicker crust and has some wonderful toppings. But it's going to be hard to find the kind of pizza slathered with five kinds of meat that the big chains provide.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        I have heard of Di Fara's. I'll have to give it a try. I am not ready to admit defeat quite yet! Thicker crusts with great toppings sound good to me..Thank you for the help..

      2. Try John's of Bleeker (Bleeker between 6th and 7th) - very popular, thicker-crust "american-style" pizza. Enjoy!

        1. There is still hope. I know several people who used to load up on the toppings but now can only tolerate at most 2 toppings and even prefer just tomato sauce and fresh mozz cheese. Sorta like chocolate for me. I used to like to try every possible flavor combination, but now I prefer just plain chocolate because the extra flavors are simply distracting. However, I have a weak spot for La maison du chocolate's creations, they really are out of this world and have their own unique identity.

          1. I think I understand your plight even though I am a NYer and love my "real" NY pizza. When I was in the Army in Augusta, GA (1968) we used to go to a place that had great cold beers and lousy pizza, but if you got it with mushrooms it wasn't half bad. On post they had pizza trucks stopping at the various offices and in retrospect it tasted like Dominoes. But with pepperoni it was edible. When we lived in LA for a year (1974) we got in the habit of eating Shakey's Pizza. It wasn't really pizza but if you got it with loads of toppings it was a fairly good tasting meal.

            Your problem is you don't have a developed taste for NY pizza. It takes a while, and to be truthful the good stuff today was not readily available 30 years ago. I suggest you take another person and go to Patsy's on 1st Ave at 117 Street. Try splitting a plain pie with a house salad to start. I will predict that the first slice will leave you underwhelmed, but by the second or third you will start to get the idea. This is not "fill you to the gunwhales" pizza. It is quite delicate compared to most in NY. And I think it is much better than John's of Bleecker St (although I like them too) because the end crusts are so delicious. At John's the ends are a throwaway unless you are really hungry. BTW John's is how most pizza was in NY back in the "good old days" - you ate the slice but collected the end crusts on your plate and nibbled on them after the good stuff was all gone.

            Resist the urge to add toppings although the sausage is excellent at John's (but not at Patsy's). I give in to my wife who always wants fresh basil. It does add a nice flavor.

            I've brought people from Ireland to Patsy's and they loved it. Also, NYers who left in the 1970's and live in D.C. and Mass ate NY pizza there for the first time in 30 years and loved it. None of these had a developed taste for NY pizza but they knew what they liked.

            1. It's funny indeed how the NY pizza paradigm has shifted. Brian W is right in noting that the general DiFara/pizza Napoletana model is relatively new and that for a long time before that, the thicker Sbarro/standard corner parlour style was the norm, mwith variations in quality, of course. I remember living in Chicago, early 90s, when, surrounded by well, you know, even the most humble Bensonhurst slice seemed like heaven--there was a short-lived "NY" place on Clark that kept me going. As a Brooklyn boy in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the Totonno style was considered an endangered vestige of an earlier era. But thank the Lord for cycles in history.

              1. Go to adriennes pizza bar (stone st in the financial district) and order one of their old fashioned rectangular pizzas. awesome bubbly thick crust and great toppings...(the only caveat is that they dont usually put tons of cheese on so you have to remember to order it with extra cheese if you're a cheese fiend)

                1. check out Joes in the East Village on 6th...(ave of Americas) my personal fave -

                  1. Give Freddie & Peppers on the Upper West Side a try. Fantastic pizza. For a little something different try the pesto and goat cheese..yummy. Oh, and don't let the rather spartan interior turn you off.

                    1. With more time living in NYC and trying out more of the excellent pizza restaurants available in NYC, you may come around to liking New York pizza, but if you do not, so be it.

                      Consuming good pizza (a subset of food) is just one of the many activities that humans like to indulge in, whether it is collecting and shooting guns and rifles, skiing, swimming, buying clothes, dancing, movies, books, museums, rock concerts, jazz, the arts (opera, classical, plays, ballet), or the myriad of human activities that makes living interesting. Everyone chooses the activities that will allow themselves to be happy, but none of the things mentioned above are essential to living a happy life. There are people who live to eat, and people who eat to live, with a much smaller number living to eat and a much larger number eating to live, and in the same manner the same disproportionate percentages can be extended to most human activities. But even the most living to eat Chowhound will admit that good tasting food is not the most essential requirement for happiness (food as calories is a physical requirement, but not tasty food, although we may regret making such a statement in a forum of extreme true believers). A discussion of the more essential things are probably for another topic in a different forum with a more philosophical bent, but suffice it to be said that all of the above mentioned activities are just a game that we play to entertain ourselves and make life more interesting and enjoyable. Yes, enjoy good food, but do not feel that there is a need to make a confession, or state in your blog, “As a foodie, I am almost ashamed of myself,” if you do not enjoy food as other people do.

                      In answer to your question in your post and website about what makes a great pizza and which pizza restaurants to try, check out the many posts in Chowhound.com, as there must be hundreds and hundreds of posts discussing pizza and what are the best pizza restaurants in NYC and surrounding areas. But the quick answer (consensus of most Chowhound posts) for pizza purists is for all three items, both crust, sauce, and cheese, but definitely not toppings. Toppings are like the moon-roof in a car, a nice option to have, but not essential to the essence of what a car is.

                      In the same vein, at the very hardcore pizza “Slice” website, http://www.sliceny.com/, there is an amusing review titled “Domino’s Brooklyn Style Pizza,” dated 31 October 2006, of the national Domino’s pizza chain (where pizzas are typically ordered with multiple toppings) that ends with a funny and most satisfying coda:

                      “Of course, that brings us back to another question regarding the nature of Domino's vis-a-vis Brooklyn pizza. Why order it at all when (you) live in New York City? To that I answer: For you, dear reader. I eat this stuff so you don't have to.”

                      P.S. Liked your choice of title for your website, “Madison and Mayberry,” and the picture graphic of the street sign and the angled over street (Madison Ave?). As a Southern girl, maybe you might be able to advise NYCer’s regarding southern fried chicken. Have you by chance in your short time in NYC, found a restaurant that served authentic and excellent southern fried chicken to your liking?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lwong

                        -- lwong
                        you're right though.. i like my pizza toppings and should just embrace it rather than be ashamed of it. But now I do have suggestions of so many pizza places that I can't wait to try.
                        I'm glad you liked my blog name. As far as fried chicken, I am about to post something on the very subject. The best place I have found for fried chicken is DIrty Bird To Go, on 14th and 8th ave. Fablous fried chicken. The sides are only okay; save your money and splurge on just the chicken.
                        I've heard great things about Pies 'n Thighs in Brooklyn but I trekked there only to discover they don't serve their famous fried chicken during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. But I am sure it's great based on the other Southern things I ate.

                      2. I do definitely think you should go to DiFara's, because their toppings are so delicious! But don't expect really thick crust there. Their crust isn't as thin as Patsy's, but it is way thinner than the average slice.

                        1. don't forget to try the plain sicilian right from the oven-