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Looking for best pizza [moved from Manhattan]

My family and I are coming to NYC this weekend, and my son wants some authentic NY pizza. We're staying near Rockefeller Center. I heard about Two Boots in Grand Central, but heard it wasn't "authentic". Any suggestions? My daughter is also looking for the best cheesecake (and I'll be happy with both or either). We are on a bit of a budget, but I don't think pizza should break the bank). Thanks for any info!

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  1. Personally, I'd skip Two Boots.

    If you want a sit-down pizzeria, your best bet is probably John's on 44th street, just east of 8th ave.

    If you just want to pick up a slice, there used to be a good slice joint on 47th just east of 6th ave. My memory is alittle hazy because i haven't been in a few years since my office moved but I think it was the first pizzeria off of 6th Ave. its gets confusing because there was a another storefront a few doors further towards 5th that was terrible. I hope its still open or someone can point you in the right direction.

    1. johns is right but the bleeker street location is the original

      1. juniors just opened up a location in times square so that'll be good for cheese cake.
        Totonnos on the Upper East Side is great, as is John's

        1. Others may disagree, but for real NY pizza, you want a slice from a local place - none of the gourmet stuff you'll see on other lists - you shouldn't end up paying more than $2 or so for a plain slice. I work not far from Rockefeller Center and really like a place called Little Italy on 45th between 5th and 6th, closer to 6th, on the north side of the street. It is pretty non-descript from the outside but has great slices, is clean, and you can sit down fairly easily if you want.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pcwd

            yep, I agree. there is a place called Ultimate Pizza around 57th and 1st that has really good slices as well.

            401 E 57th St, New York 10022
            At 1st Ave
            Phone: 212-319-9027

            Definitely Juniors for cheesecake. There is a Juniors in the food court at Grand Central as well as the crazed-Times Square location. (not that Grand Central will be any less crazed!)

            Have fun!

            1. re: jenniebnyc

              Junior's still makes a good cheesecake (although my favorite is S&S, but that's up in the Bronx), and the Times Square location should be convenient for you.

              My one piece of advice is to avoid the gloppy overly sweet fruity toppings and stick to the classic plain cheesecake or my personal favorite, the marble (which mixes in chocolate).

          2. Right "authentic" NY pizza is a slice. I like John and Tony's on 1st Ave and 60th Street

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jack_

              I used to until I tried Ultimate

            2. totally disagree on the slice being the most authentic form of new york pizza. go for a pie which will be fresh out the oven and made, presumably, with care. for this, try the usual suspects (lombardi's, grimaldi's, john's, the original patsy's, others i'm forgetting).

              that said, the slice is cheaper and more convenient. i must say that i was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the slice (specifically the sicilian) at bravo pizza. there are several in manhattan. i tried the one at 37th and broadway.

              1. Not necessarily NY authentic, but IMHO the best pizza in NY right now is Una Pizza Napoletana on 13th between 1st and 2nd. You have forget that it is 20 dollars for an individual sized pizza and just enjoy how good it tastes. (unapizza.com) Other than that, if you need to stay in Manhattan I would go to Lombardi's for a true NY coal oven pizza. If you are willing to venture a little farther (to Brooklyn right under the bridge)then go to Grimaldi's. If you are truly andventerous go out to DiFara's out by coney island.

                3 Replies
                1. re: john

                  Also for coal oven pizza see my post a couple of days ago re: Carbone on W 38th.

                  1. re: john

                    DiFara's is not that close to Coney Island. It's in Midwood. However, for more coverage, search Outer Boroughs, where it's been very extensively covered.

                    1. re: Pan

                      i think you'd be fine with any of the above but, please, no two boots. it will make you run away from NY pizza forever.

                  2. I have yet to try DiFara's, unfortunetely. But I will tell you that I like John's on Bleecker better than Grimaldi's, Lombardi's or any slice place.

                    1. Grimaldi's by far. I used to like John's on Bleeker but it tasted a little flat on my last visit. There is nothing like Grimaldi's bright white and fresh mozzarella and their vibrant tomato sauce on that incredible thin charred crust.

                      1. Nothing like John's on Bleeker street

                        1. Wow, thanks for all the info. I wish we could travel out of Manhattan, but with only 48 hours to see everything the kids want to on their first trip there, I'm afraid we can't. I'm the real foodie in the group, and I don't think they'd get it (you know, skipping the Statue of Liberty to go to Brooklyn to go get a slice of pizza). Thanks for steering me away from Two Boots--sounds like we really would have missed out! Hopefully next time we can stay longer (of course, I'm arriving a day ahead of everyone else, so who knows!)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hypesmom

                            i completely understand but, keep in mind, the brooklyn place is literally at the foot of the brooklyn bridge. sooo... if you and your family would like to walk across the bridge, as many tourists do, this would be a nice destination at the other end. however, john's on bleeker may be better. it's a matter of opinion. hope you love whatever you choose and enjoy.

                          2. You could go to Franny's on Flatbush in Brooklyn and then walk down to Junior's for cheesecake.

                            But no Two Boots...not that it's bad it's just not authentic NY pizza.

                            1. Ultimate Pizza has lost its crown as "Worst of the Worst"! Just three or so blocks away is Belmora Pizza on E57 Street near Lexington Ave. Belmora has edged out Ultimate by a nose and presents a slice that is identical to what you would get at a traveling carnival. Try It! No wait, DON'T!

                              1. for straight-up great new york pizza, we love lombardis - tried and true, on spring street in soho. if you're in midtown, DEFINITELY checkout kevin garcia's accademia del vino -- great, great pies and a cool place besides. recently we've been frequenting gemma for their small, thin-crust pizzas, emphasizing fresh ingredients, (great service there, too, especially if tom is your server), we also enjoy the pizzas at otto on 8th and university (try the lardo pizza or the clam pizza), or even la laterna on mercer and bleecker (sit downstairs and enjoy the small pies). adriennes in the financial district is excellent (the square pies are killer, especially if they've prosciutto on them!), if you find yourself down there. if you are wandering the union square area and in need of a slice that makes a meal, artichoke is the ultimate slice to satiate the hunger and craving. but -- lombardis and accademia del vino are pretty emblematic of great pizza.

                                1. DiFara makes everything else on this list seem like it was made in Utah.

                                  1. All this talk and no mention of Grimaldi's on Old Fulton St in Brooklyn? Or Sal and Carmine's on the UWS? Tsk tsk....