Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Dec 1, 2007 05:04 PM

John's Pizza or Grimaldi's?

We're visitng soon and plan on having pizza. My friend wants to go to John's and I want to go to Grimaldi's. I've been to Grimaldi's before and really liked it. Will I be disappointed in John's or is it also very good?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I suspect you will not like John's as much -- the crust is much thicker and they put on way more cheese. John's of Bleecker has been sliding downhill these last few years.

    Grimaldi's is better than John's (but only slightly -- I hate how soggy it gets and how quickly it gets soggy).

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      i totally agree w/ kathryn's take....that said i still like them both even tho they are not the best pies in town.

      if you got to JOHNS while you are at it you might get a fresh moz slice or three at JOE'S nearby. now that is still pretty darn good.

    2. Neither. Both are nowhere near the quality of good NY pizzerias. Grimaldi's is not very good and I'd say John's is a good bit worse than Grimaldi's. Both are just tourists traps with crazy lines. Grimaldi's has every con of a brick oven without all the pros and John's is just plummeting quality wise. A Grimaldi's pie, however, somehow manages to be bland, dried out and soggy all at the same time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JFores

        Gotta disagree here... Once in a while a pie at Grimaldi's disappoints by being somewhat soggy or bland, but most of the time it's fantastic. For a while John's was going downhill, but for the past year I've been very happy with their pizza- and it's only slightly thicker than Grimaldi's. John's is great because you can get a pitchers of beer to go with your pizza, and it's not in Brooklyn!

        Having said all that, for the adventurous, I would try Lucali out in Carrol Gardens, Brooklyn (F train to CG stop). It made 'best neighborhood pizzeria' 2007 in NY Magazine.
        The pizza has a very thin and bubbly crust dusted with parmesean shavings, a nice sauce that's not too sweet or tart, first rate mozzerella, and fresh toppings. We got a mushroom basil pizza. The place was entirely lit by candlelight the night we went. They have electric lights, so I'm not sure if it was a power issue, or just a cool idea.

        For a visitor, I would stick with John's or Grimaldi's. It doesn't matter which one you go to, both are terrific. If you're worried about soggy pizza, don't order more than one 'wet' topping like mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc. My personal fave is mushroom pepperoni. And try not to go at peak times, to avoid a 30 minute wait out in the cold.

        1. re: powermd

          I really can't stand Grimaldi pies. The waits and the way they treat their customers is also insane. They think they're doing you a favor to give you a bad pizza. The pitcher of beer would be cool if I was over 21 and the fact that I lived in Brooklyn (30 mins walk from di Fara) cancels out the latter.

          Lucali is quite good and it just reopened. Much better than Grimaldi's. Worlds better.

      2. John's over Grimaldi's. Also try Patsy's in Harlem. But you won't get consensus here on any pizza except one-DiFara's.

        5 Replies
        1. re: guttergourmet

          Well I'm from Pittsburgh and last time we were in NYC I got the Grimaldi rec. from chowhound. That was about two years ago. We also tried Lombardi's and really didn't like it. I should note that on our next visit we'll have a 2 year old in tow so if there is anywhere else we should try please let me know. I can almost bet that Grimaldi's is better than the vast majority of pizza where I live. I'd love to try something even better.

          1. re: Rick

            Lombardi's is pretty awful as well. Barring Lucalli's and di Fara, every place thus mentioned basically exists for tourists. I would rather eat the normal American (all be it VERY GOOD normal American) pies of ei. San Marco's in Williamsburg than Grimaldi's, John's or Lombardi's. Not to mention that San Marco's is much cheaper, doesn't have lines, etc.

            1. re: JFores

              JFores, you sound kinda angry man. It's just pizza! I do agree with you on Lombardi's. It's okay, but not quite as good as the other top spots. On the issue of service at Grimaldi's... it's a pizza joint. What exactly are you expecting? I've been to Grimaldi's about 20 times and always got perfectly adequate service. They treat you very fairly while you're in line, sometimes pulling you out ahead of others if your group is small. Service is quick and accurate. What more do you want?

              Regarding 'tourist traps': There's a difference between a place being popular with tourists, and a 'tourist trap'. John's and Grimaldi's have long lines because they're world famous for having excellent pizza. The line at Grimaldi's is particularly notable because the place is not very convenient for tourists to find. A 'tourist trap' wouldn't exist if it depended on local traffic alone for business. Most of the splashy chain spots in Times Square qualify for the distinction.

            2. re: Rick

              rick go to JOHNS. its a fine pie and its a great place for kids and families. bonus is there is lots more foodie stuff nearby like murrays cheese and the neighborhood is interesting to walk around in.

              1. re: mrnyc

                Ditto, John's is not the best but is still an ok pizza. Stick with one topping to keep the sogginess to a minimum. Then enjoy the area. Don't waste your time going to Patsy's uptown, not worth the trip for an out of towner and there isn't anything else in the neighborhood. Same goes for Grimaldi's. BTW, i love Lazarra's.

          2. I prefer Grimaldi's over John's. Grimaldi's pies are saltier (in a good way) while John's tends to serve blander pies in my opinion. Lombardi's and Grimaldi's are both extremely good, and John's is a runner up.

            1. I would compromise and go to Patsy's on 1st Ave at 117 Street. No lines and the pies are usually great (I have been disappointed once in a while). Also try the house salad - one salad feeds two, or four if you are ordering more items.

              You can always tell your friends that you want to try some place different so you won't be railroading them into a place you like. If they like John's they will love Patsy's, and again that house salad is ten times better than at John's. Also, if you are driving you can find street parking at Patsy's.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Brian W

                Patsy's is my favorite in Manhattan, too, and although it can be a pain to get up there, the bonus is no lines!

                1. re: Brian W

                  Patsy's is probably the best in Manhattan. Agreed if you're staying in the city.

                  In regards to Grimaldi's being the best for visitors.... eh.... I took friends from Italy there because we had just walked the Brooklyn Bridge and it was embarassing. I haven't been back since. Three people from Genova spent the next two days making fun of Brooklyn pizza until I took them to Di Fara and shut them up.

                  1. re: JFores

                    Patsy's has just continued to slide downhill, and the decline has been rapid. Last several visits were just awful. A real shame.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Did you do a full pie (table service) or just a slice (takeout)? I've heard that the slices can be awful but all of my full pie experiences have been fine (knock on wood). Then again, I tend to go at prime time and the oven's been fired up for a while by then.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Both. And both have gone downhill. At all different times.

                      2. re: gutsofsteel

                        I like Patsy's but I have to admit that we have been getting some bad pies over the last year or so. Last time we ordered two pies - the first one out was not so good. You can tell right away that it hasn't been cooked right when it looks red with areas of white. The next one was a general orange and yellowy mix of colors and you could see that this one was done to perfection.