HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >

Spumoni v Tottonno's

abu applesauce Apr 2, 2007 08:08 AM

I've never been to either. Plan on being in the general vicinity this week, and would love to ideally hit both places. However, if I had to choose one...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Brian S RE: abu applesauce Apr 2, 2007 09:06 AM

    I'm assuming it's Passover and DiFara's is still closed. I havent been to Totonno's in years but it used to be my favorite. Here's something I wrote about it (the last paragraph)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Brian S
      abu applesauce RE: Brian S Apr 2, 2007 09:15 AM

      That's a serious endorsement.

      1. re: abu applesauce
        Brian S RE: abu applesauce Apr 2, 2007 09:25 AM

        Yes, but remember I haven't been there in many years.

    2. s
      sam1 RE: abu applesauce Apr 2, 2007 09:06 AM

      theyre total opposites. l&b's squares are like no other. big, dough-y, great sauce...if the weather is nice, you can eat outside on the picnic tables. very bare bones. id also recommend you go a few blocks up to stillwell and 86th for john's deli. you can't go wrong with their roast beef sandwich...dont forget to tip.

      totonnos...havent been there in a few years but its like an old school pizza parlor that might have been an outtake from goodfellas. the owner and the staff think they are gods but its still a great pie.

      id probably get that sandwich at john's and 3 squares at L&B over Totonnos

      1 Reply
      1. re: sam1
        abu applesauce RE: sam1 Apr 2, 2007 09:15 AM

        I like the way you think, Sam1...

      2. angelo04 RE: abu applesauce Apr 2, 2007 09:15 AM

        If you hit L&B's for a few slices, don't forget to finish off with some spumoni. My wife passed by there on her way home to NJ, I had 7 slices and a pint of spumoni. I really over did it but it was sooooo good.

        1. thievery RE: abu applesauce Apr 2, 2007 10:31 AM

          l&b -- too saucy... can barely taste the cheese. and too doughy. also, spumoni's kind of gross. never got the appeal. but clearly my tastes don't align with the loyal l&b crowd... though if you love totonno's, i suspect yours won't either. diff. breed of pizza.

          get the square slice at vinnie vincenz in town some day to satisfy the tangy sauce craving. stick with totonno's when you're out there. imho...

          3 Replies
          1. re: thievery
            bobjbkln RE: thievery Apr 2, 2007 10:53 AM

            While Totonno's may have the look and feel of a slice place, it only serves whole pies, so unless you are going with several people, I don't think you can try both. Personally, I prefer Totonno's round style to L & B's square, but it depends what you're in to at the moment.

            1. re: thievery
              jen kalb RE: thievery Apr 2, 2007 11:07 AM

              you have to be sure to snag the edge pieces at L&B and hope that the pie is well done- the center pieces are too saucy for me. I think the spumoni is mediocre but Im afraid I cant refer you to a better Brooklyn source.

              1. re: jen kalb
                obob96 RE: jen kalb Apr 2, 2007 12:53 PM

                Do both. Start with Totonno's for a full pie to experience the classic Brooklyn Neapolitan. After, drive to L+B for, as Jen suggests, a couple of corner slices and wash it down with spumoni, which is as good, frankly, as this confection gets, and I've been a Brooklyn spumoni kid for too many years to count.

            2. n
              nokitsch RE: abu applesauce Apr 3, 2007 11:36 AM

              To me it's not even a choice. Tottonno's all the way. And their crust is so thin, you shouldn't have a problem splitting a small pie between two people.

              1. n
                NewYorkDave RE: abu applesauce Apr 4, 2007 09:27 AM

                Seriously, visit both. Their pies are completely different, yet both are delicious.

                It's best to visit Totonno's at an off-peak time or during bad weather so you don't have to wait behind a bunch of yuppie idiots. The best time I ever had there was after a big thunderstorm; the Coney Island boardwalk was deserted and Totonno's was nearly empty--and that's a rare sight indeed. The service was a little friendlier than usual (no doubt due to the lack of pressure) and the pie was the best I've ever had there.

                Spumoni Gardens is great to visit during warm weather. Order a couple of corner or side slices and grab a table outside. It's great if you're into people watching; just don't get caught staring at anybody (this is Brooklyn, after all). For dessert, definitely try the spumoni. They're all good, but pistachio is my favorite.

                1. Brian S RE: abu applesauce Apr 4, 2007 09:51 AM

                  Apparently DiFara's is open, so I guess you'll be going there instead.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Brian S
                    NewYorkDave RE: Brian S Apr 4, 2007 04:47 PM

                    What's with this assumption that DiFara's (when open) is the only place to go? I've been there, and if standing in line with yuppie/hipster dipshits and waiting forever for a slice of pizza is your bag... well, then I guess it IS the place to go. Sure, the pizza is good, but no pizza made by mortal man could live up to the kind of hype that's been built up around that place by magazines, blogs and, yes, this very website ;)

                    Just so it doesn't seem like I'm picking on DiFara's (or you): if I walk up to Totonno's (which I love) and there's more than a couple of people waiting outside, I leave. I just never got with that NYC mentality of being willing to wait in long lines and endure all sorts of inconvenience because the conventional wisdom said it was "the" place to go.

                    1. re: NewYorkDave
                      abu applesauce RE: NewYorkDave Apr 5, 2007 06:16 AM

                      I went 0 for 3!!
                      Ditched my plans to go the acquarium, and therefore did not venture to spumoni/tottonno land...
                      I did read, however, that Difaras was open. i went yesterday around 6:45 and the line was pretty long. After about 25 minutes (and one pie being made, and the line seemingly growing thicker in the middle while I sadly stood in the rear) I ran out of patience and left. I really blew it--I was in midwwod for two days with all the time in the world and chose an awful time to go to the big D.
                      Next Passover

                      1. re: NewYorkDave
                        Brian S RE: NewYorkDave Apr 5, 2007 08:19 AM

                        I've never been to DiFara's.

                        1. re: NewYorkDave
                          jen kalb RE: NewYorkDave Apr 5, 2007 08:57 AM

                          Im sympathetic with this. We dont ever stand in line for anything and the times Ive come to DiFaras when there was a line and no table available I just walked away.. For some people its part of the NY experience at Zabars, movie theaters, Magnolia bakery, clubs, whatever. for us, the only way to manage NY is to go against the flow. After a while it made me realize that we were just out of it, by the time we saw a movie everyone was over talking about it, by the time we thought about going to a restaurant the chef had left etc. but there are a lot of options - so you dont need to be part of the herd. There are still off hours at DiFaras. Its one of those things that will be a worthwhile experience when you go - unlike so many of the other things that folks line up for, and if you can have the experience without the line, all the better

                          ps - weve still never been to Totonnos. the quirkiness of its hours and its location just dont seem to have yet matched up with our life. Maybe this summer.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            rockycat RE: jen kalb Apr 9, 2007 07:42 AM

                            <weve still never been to Totonnos. the quirkiness of its hours and its location just dont seem to have yet matched up with our life. Maybe this summer.>

                            Odd, the Spouse and I have never had a problem with finding them open. But since I grew up near there and my family is still in the area the travel is not an issue.

                            As for the whole pie thing - not a problem. In particularly gluttonous moments (we don't get to NY much anymore so when we do, anything goes) we've knocked off 2 pies plus with just the two of us. We've also managed to drop $50 on pies for just the two of us in fresh basil season. I wouldn't recommend that kind of outrageous eating or spending on a regular basis but when fresh basil is available and you can find yourself at Totonno's, well, the experience is more than worth it.

                            1. re: jen kalb
                              Steve R RE: jen kalb Apr 9, 2007 08:08 AM

                              gotta agree. If you're going for the pizza and the pizza alone, putting up with the absurd lines at DiFara's is silly.... get there when there arent lines; there are still plenty of times to do this, even for us 9-5 folks. Of course, after tennis at Marine Park in the good weather, hanging out at DiFara's on line for awhile, munching on whatever's available while waiting for the pizza has also been a trip... I've met more CHounds and other food board people that way. Even a couple that have been going since he opened, like me. If you have the time & are open to the entertainment value, it can be okay.

                              I still think that Dom's sicilian is way better than any of the others.

                              1. re: jen kalb
                                obob96 RE: jen kalb Apr 9, 2007 09:55 AM

                                Jen, the hours are not so quirky, really--except, perhaps, for late night. Try a weekday early evening, or Saturday lunch.

                          Show Hidden Posts