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Sat. night pizza for a group? Lombardi's?

b
bigandtall Mar 14, 2008 09:28 AM

I have a group of about 10 people and we want to go out for good sit down pizza in manhattan on saturday night (before a concert that starts at midnight). Any recs on where to go and when to get there? We were thinking Lombardi's but it sounds like it will be a zoo. We don't mind waiting for an hour but more than that may be too much.
Any help would be appreciated.

  1. b
    bigandtall Mar 17, 2008 06:01 PM

    We ended up going to Lombardi's with a group of 9 on saturday and I wanted to report on our experience. We got there at 6:00 and were told that the wait would be around one hour and fifteen minutes. Lombardi's will not take your phone number and call you, which is a little bit ridiculous as there isn't much room to wait in the bar and waiting on the street out front creates a bit of a hazard. Nevertheless, we worked our way into the corner of the bar, got drinks, and the wait wasn't that bad. They had Six Point on draft (among others) and the wine wasn't bad either. The ended up seating us after about an hour in a dining room upstairs. When you are waiting on the main level, it looks like there is only that one dining room, but as we walked back we could see that there were at least two others including the one where we were seated. We ordered four different pizzas and our group was split about what they liked best. It's a good sign and shows that nothing we ordered was a total dog of a pizza. Here's a quick rundown:

    Meatball and red peppers: delicious, though I agree with some other posters that there could have been more meatballs. But the meatballs themsevles were the perfect size and well flavored:

    Pancetta and wild mushroom: my favorite, great earthy mushroom.

    Plain: This highlighted the tomato sauce that they use which was excellent.

    Clam: Now, I did not think I'd like this, but it seemed like the thing to get. Really quite good. No sauce or cheese, just clams, some butter/oil, and crust. The simplicity and freshness made it.

    Overall: the most important thing to me is the crust and Lombardi's did a great job with that. Very chewy and slightly crispy (we asked for them to be cooked well done) and flavorful. People were right in that it is a big tourist place, but since we were expecting that, we were pleasantly surprised. The staff was very nice and patient and the food was served promptly and it was well prepared. Overall, I give it a high score. It wasn't a small craft pizza like Lucali's or a smaller place, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. I'm not sure that I'd brave the crowds every weekend (getting there at 6:00 hurt) but again, we knew what we were getting into, so it wasn't so bad. Everyone in our group had a great time and if it wasn't a pain getting in, we'd return in a second.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bigandtall
      m
      mrnyc Mar 18, 2008 02:29 PM

      great report. you'll never catch me in there on a sat night at prime time like that haha, but expansion, crowds and all i still love their pies. the service seems even nicer and more professional now than it used to be.

      1. re: bigandtall
        egit Mar 18, 2008 03:17 PM

        Thanks for the report. I think going in knowing what to expect (crowds, touristy, etc) makes it better.

        Another great little secret. They do take out. A few months ago a few friends and I were sitting in a bar down the street. We walked over, placed an order for two pies. They told us to come pick it up in 45 minutes. So we had Lombardi's pizza sitting in a more spacious bar. There was no real wait. N.B. I would only do this if you're a very short walk away. I don't think the hot pizza does well with extended confinement in a steamy box.

      2. r
        Renguin Mar 14, 2008 01:04 PM

        that place really is a zoo. i went there once without thinking about it on a weekend night on a whim which was a huge mistake. its so touristy you might as well be in disney world.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Renguin
          b
          bigandtall Mar 14, 2008 01:24 PM

          You mean Lombardi's? I think we might try it but go at 6:00. We're trying to hit all the talked about pizza joints... for better or worse... and we just want to see for ourselves what it's like.

          1. re: bigandtall
            egit Mar 14, 2008 03:08 PM

            You definitely want to go early (Lombardi's). Even so, if you get there at 6 you may still have to wait an hour. Maybe two. I know that sounds horrible, but at least there's a bar there so you can have a beer or three while you wait; if you drink, that is.

            I'm not sure what the scene would be like at Arturo's. I know it's slightly less well-known, but I think it's also smaller.

            1. re: egit
              d
              david sprague Mar 14, 2008 05:52 PM

              it -- arturo's, that is -- is also not nearly as good, in my estimation. it's not bad, not by any means, and by the standards of 90-percent of the country, it's exquisite. but i'd say lombardi's is hugely preferable. and if you're not in a huge hurry, the bar isn't a bad place to cool your heels for an hour or so with a couple of glasses of wine.

              1. re: david sprague
                k
                KTinNYC Mar 14, 2008 06:21 PM

                My opinion is just opposite of yours, David. The pizza at Arturo's is much better than the pizza at Lombardi's.

                1. re: KTinNYC
                  t
                  tiger2 Mar 15, 2008 11:39 AM

                  Thanks everyone. We're going tonight and I'll let you know how it goes.

                  1. re: KTinNYC
                    b
                    BryanHarig Mar 15, 2008 02:38 PM

                    You are completely right. Lombardis has gotten much worse. They arnt at the same level as Una Pizza, Grimaldi's et al any more.

          2. b
            bigandtall Mar 14, 2008 12:59 PM

            Think we'll have a better chance of getting a table at Arturo's? Or at least all getting in at the same time?

            1. h
              harrison Mar 14, 2008 11:05 AM

              I'd go Arturo's

              1. s
                shivohum Mar 14, 2008 10:27 AM

                Perhaps Naples 45near Grand Central, or any of the branches of Angelo's/Patsy's or Totonno's?

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