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Mar 10, 2008 11:07 AM

Pizza in NYC

We are visiting Manhattan this coming weekend and want to try some of the famous pizza.
My traveling companion really wants to try Lombardi's, but I've heard from others that
this pizza spot is all hype based on their "first pizza" fame. If we were to go to only one pizza joint, would Lombardi's be a good representation of NYC pizza. If not, what would?

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  1. Check out this recent thread on Lombardi's:
    I think most would say that the best NYC pizza experience is at Di Fara. I haven't made my way out there yet. I've been to Arturo's in the city, which I really enjoyed. I wouldn't recommend a lot of toppings, though, as the dough was a little soggy in the middle.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lucia

      I really like Arturo's for the space, and the live music, but I don't love their pizza. I've found it pretty bland both times I've been there. Their arrugula salad is fantastic though.

      1. re: Lucia

        Definitely Arturo's. And I actually think Lucia's advice about not ordering too many toppings applies to all top-notch pizza places, even DiFara.

        1. re: Lucia

          I finally made it to DiFara tonight, and it is far and away the best pizza I've ever had in my life. Highly worth the time to get there, and the wait wasn't nearly as bad as advertised. It was a pleasure watching Dom work. Even with a broken rib, he made pizza as fantastic as I had hoped it would be.

          1. re: Lucia

            So what was on your pie, so I can live vicariously.

            1. re: ChinoWayne

              1 plain round, 1 artichoke round, and 1 square pepperoni. If you're interested, MMRuth wrote about our dinner on the OB board:

              1. re: Lucia

                Mashocist that I am (since I am not in any position to make a DiFara's run), I did read MMRuth's report, this morning, on an empty stomach. Next time, post pictures, then I can really torture myself.

              1. re: a_and_w

                YES--my favorite part of the experience. Square pie w/pepperoni. By that time we'd had 2 other pies, so I was stuffed but I couldn't resist having 2 pieces of the square.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. neitehr lombardi;s nor arturo's, while i like both, are what i would call " good representation of NYC pizza" - coal oven pizza is older, but not what i think of as NYC pizza and ive been eating pizza here for nearly 5 decades.

              I like italian village on 1st ave and 80th street. but there are many others. the best pizza isn't in places you've heard of, its in neighborhood joints

              12 Replies
              1. re: thew

                Respectfully disagree. I only lived there for five years, not five decades, but I tried a *lot* of neighborhood slice joints. Most of them stank -- so much so that I concluded the heyday of great NY pizza on every corner was either a myth or had long since passed. Arturo's was better than any slice place I can recall, and was surpassed only by Patsy's East Harlem and DiFara, in my estimation. All that said, I will confess I never tried Italian Village...

                1. re: a_and_w

                  I think Staten Island and Queens are nearly keeping the nabe pizza thing alive, but it's very nabe specific. For example, I lived in a totally Italian community in Bensonhurst/Dyker all my life and none of the pizza near me was edible unless I walked to Di Fara or L&B (but I now eat pizza in London that people here claim is amazing despite it being FAR worse than the corner pizzeria that I shunned for years.) Pizza's a special thing and you have to make special trips for it. It's God's way of keeping us skinny. Imagine having Di Fara on every corner? That's dangerous!

                  1. re: JFores

                    LOL! I just meant in Manhattan -- it's possible that Brooklyn and Staten Island are keeping the flame.

                  2. re: a_and_w

                    i didn't say all neighborhood pizza joints were good, nor that there was good pizza on every corner. i said arturo's and lombardis were not representative of what NYC pizza is, but the good neighborhood pizzerias were. It quite a leap from that statement to your take on what i said.

                    Most pizza joints, like most of everything,, are sub-par. lets face it 49% of everything is, by definition, below average, and average isnt good enough either.

                    There are a dozen pizza joints around me, most closer to where I am now than italian village. But I go there, for the most part. If they were all equal i would go to the closest.

                    i repeat i like arturo's and lombardis. but they are not what i would call representative of NYC style pizza.

                    1. re: thew

                      My estimate, admittedly based on a small sample, is that 99% of neighborhood pizza joints in Manhattan are thoroughly mediocre. They do *not* offer a "good representation of NYC pizza." They don't offer a good representation of pizza, period. I'm not sure what you mean by NYC pizza, but I took many an out of towner who wanted "NYC pizza" to Arturo's. They always left satisfied...

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        last time. arturo's is fine. delicious. no problem.

                        but i don't think that style of pizza is what most people mean when they talk about NY style pizza. that uber thin crust coal oven thing isn't the platonic ideal of NY pizza.

                        most pizza in most places suck. i agree. but it isnt relevant to what i said. I said the best representation of that kind of pizza is found in the few good corner joints, not in coal oven whole pie places like arturo's and lombardis.

                        1. re: thew

                          Then you need to clarify what you mean by "NYC pizza," because thin crust with char like that served by Arturo's is precisely what I think of as such. Slice joints like Joe's serve what I would call the "NYC street pizza." IMO, even the best street pizza slices are not on par with what you find at places like Arturo's, Patsy's, or DiFara. Regardless, both styles are quintessentially NYC.

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            i think i was very clear, and we just do not define it the same way.
                            to me NYC street pizza = NYC pizza

                            1. re: thew

                              Then allow me to clarify further. According to you, true "NYC pizza" can *only* be "NYC street pizza" to the exclusion of all other styles. That strikes me as absurd.

                              I say "NYC pizza" includes *both* street pizza *and* the thin crust with char style. I further prefer the latter to the former, which is why I direct people who want "NYC pizza" to places like Arturo's and Patsy's. " Regardless of my preference, however, I would never deny that street pizza is a subset of "NYC pizza."

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                you are welcome to be struck thus. to me pizza sold by the slice, with the cruncy/chewy crust, is what i, and apparently many others here, think of when i think of typical new york pizza. Just being sold in new york isnt enough. otherwise, these days, dominoes would also fall under the rubric.

                                and as i said before, i like the thin crust/char pizza to. but for someone looking to experience typical NY pizza, it isnt what i'd send them to.

                                1. re: thew

                                  Whatever. I guarantee that, If you put it to a poll on chowhound whether Arturo's, Patsy's, and Lombard's are "NY Pizza," the vote would be overwhelmingly "yes." And as I said before, equating "NY Pizza" solely with street slices is a recipe for disappointment.

                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                    I agree that Arturo's is NYC style pizza.

                2. Arturo's is great, though it can be a bit greasy. If you're going to go there, you should head further down the street and pop into Joe's Pizza on Carmine btwn 6th Ave and Bleecker St. There are no tables, only stools but they make a fantastic slice.

                  Also check out the original Patsy's on 117th and 1st ave. Its a hike, but the pizza there is thin crust and fantastic. I can just about finish a whole pie by myself.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bocce

                    i'm going to have to give patsy's another chance. i know people swear by it but i was there twice, albeit many years ago, and i wasn't thrilled either time....

                    1. re: thew

                      They're about as consistent as painting blindfolded and it's getting worse. I haven't had a spot on amazing pie from them in nearly two years and I've been there quite a few times since then.

                  2. If you dont know Di Fara is in Brooklyn. Great pizza but its very small, few stools, cash only. Not a full service restaurant like the others. No beer wine etc. Usually order at the counter and try and find one of the few seats. Check hours. probably a better lunch choice if your looking for a sit down dinner.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mick

                      What he means to say is it's an actual pizzeria...