Best pizza in Manhattan? Totonno's?
The branch of Totonno's on 2nd Ave. on the Upper East Side may well have a coal oven, may well have pizza makers who get retrained regularly at the original location in Coney Island, and may well use all the same ingredients and be owned and managed by the same people, but it's not the same at all. The crust is depressingly uniform, without any bubble and char. It's not even above-average brick-oven pizza. Look at the pies on the table and then look at the photos of pies in the clippings about the original location. I wish the management would.
In South Florida, a onetime pizza wasteland according to many, there's a coal-oven pizza minicraze underway, with at least four establishments, one with several locations, all of which emulate the Lombardi's/Totonno's/Patsy's style better than Totonno's own branches do. If it can be done by upstarts without the supposedly crucial New York City water, you'd think places that have the Coney Island Totonno's staff at their disposal could manage to emulate themselves a bit better.
Not sure whether you've already made your trip, but I have to second the recommendation for Luzzo's (1st ave between 12th & 13th) in the East Village. Excellent pizza, low-key scene, reasonable prices, and (mercifully) not yet discovered by the tourists! You probably won't even have to wait for a seat, unless you go during peak dining hours on the weekend. They also offer other Italian dishes.
Arturo's it probably is (with apologies to all the Patsy's folk--if it weren't so far away I would have chosen it.) Now I have to make my case to the rest of the party and hope they agree. Many thanks for the recommendations. New York is the Mecca of food, so I have to be very selective in choosing where I go with only a 2-night window . . . and a 5-year old . . . maybe next time you'll all invite me over and we can have a few drinks before we decide where to go :)
una pizza napoletana (note the correct spelling) really polarizes people on this board - people either love it or hate it. a quick chowhound search will illustrate this.
two things to keep in mind with this place:
1) it's very expensive for the amount of food you get. you're basically paying about $20 for a personal pie.
2) it's very different from arturo's, patsy's, john's, lombardi's, or anywhere else you may have been considering. the pizza is made according to "authentic neapolitan" pizza guidelines/standards. as a result, it's supposed to emulate the way pizza is made in naples, italy TODAY rather than the classic ny style you're seeking.
while ny pizza was originally based on the neapolitan style, it's really become its own subgenre of pizza at this point. no question that it's distinct from the way they do it in naples nowadays. so una pizza napoletana would not be representative of "typical" ny pizza.
for what it's worth, i've been to una pizza napoletana several times (although not for over a year) and always left feeling a little bit unsatisfied. i actually thought the pizza tasted pretty good, but everyone else i've taken has hated it - they either wanted more cheese atop the pie, or wanted a larger portion, or didn't dig the crust. and everyone thought it was way too expensive and pretentious.
i think you can't go wrong with arturo's - good compromise of solid pizza and great location. you said yourself that you have only a limited amount of time in ny, so with that in mind, it's a good choice. if you're really serious about pizza, next time you're in nyc try to make it out to the east harlem patsy's, di fara in midwood, brooklyn, and the original totonno in coney island, brooklyn. a bit out of the way (esp. the latter two) but definitely worth it.
i've been to montrealfood.com, btw - great site. i consulted it for my last few trips to that city. i'll probably ask you for eating tips in a few months when it gets warm again!
I haven't been yet but I understand, from many, that a newer place Una Pizza Neopolitana on E. 12th Street is supposed to be awesome. They seem not to be open for lunch thus quashing a few attempts we've made to try it. It's in my old neighborhood - the East Village -which is so worth the cab ride from the UES just to hang out and wander around. It's a great neighborhood for hanging and eating. And, if you go there, wander over to E. 11th Street between 1st and 2nd (closer to corner of 1st) and have some italian pastry at Veneiro's - amazing stuff. Try the ricotta cheesecake or cannoli or sfogiadele or well, anything there.
PS - Arturo's is really good and great neighborhood too. I haven't been to the Patsy's everyone is mentioning all the way up there but can agree that the ones in the other locations are nothing to get excited about. Johns on Bleeker Street is good too - in Greenwich village - again, good neighborhood to visit.
Can you tell I was a downtown girl?
Have a wonderful trip!
You guys are great! Any time you're in Montreal and need a rec just buzz me at nick at montrealfood.com.
Patsy's--I think I heard about it in a mobster story somewhere. I'd love to go but it's miles from our hotel (near the Jacob Javits convention center) and I'll be towing along a 5-year-old.
Arturo's (gotta admit I've never heard of it) is a lot closer . . . perhaps that should be the destination.
Now I have to figure out whether it's Peter Luger or Old Homestead (see new post on the Manhattan boards--let's keep this to pizza!)
agree with the others - go to arturo's on houston st or patsy's on 1st ave in east harlem.
the former is in a much better neighborhood than the latter. patsy's has better pizza but arturo's is fine, and you may not want to go to a somewhat dicey neighborhood if you're visiting from out of town.
don't bother with any patsy's other than the original on 1st ave. and don't bother with either totonno's in manhattan. the original in coney island is great, but a trek from manhattan. and if you're going to go that far into brookyn, you may as well go to di fara, which is by far the best in the entire city/region.
We live in the neighborhhod and recently gave Totonno's on 2 Ave a try. It is worse than when we were there five or six years ago. They opened with great pies but went downhill fast.
Take a taxi or M15 bus up to Patsy's on 1st Ave at 117 Street. I would advise staying away from the sausage topping, otherwise enjoy a great pie.
For a slice in that neighborhood, go to Mimi's on 84th and Lex. It is representative of how slices were in the past, when stores made their own sauces, had their own signature approach, etc. Now it seems like non-Italians following the same script with the same canned food. (Though I STILL love most New York slices.)
For the best pie, in Manhattan, spend an evening at Arturo's on Houston.
And wait a few more hours...this thred will be filled....