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Going for Pizza tonight- Lucali or Grimaldis and why??

Thanks in advance- Which won't have a long wait and which is better?
Going around 7:30 pm- Thanks

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  1. There will waits at both. Probably about a half hour to 45 minutes at Lucali's, I'm not sure how long at Grimaldi's. As to quality, atmosphere and service: Lucali's hands down. Lucali's is BYOB. Grimaldi's serves OK beer and ordinary wine.

    1. Lucali's has it, hands down. Much more care and higher quality ingredients result in a superior pie. Try going earlier to avoid wait. There is a corkage charge when you bring wine (I think Mark sees it as a disposal charge, rather than a corkage charge, but whatever).

      1. I second the vote for Lucali's, only because
        1) I've been dying to go there myself, from all the awesome reviews
        2) Grimaldi's, although super good, is a bit too touristy
        3) Lucali's has much nicer ambience
        4) Lucali's has BYOB, w/ a small corkage.

        1. Lucali. Waits at both. But, Lucali will take your number and call you if you go to a nearby bar. Grimaldi will have you wait in line. Pies are better at Lucali and staff is much nicer/efficient there, too. Ambience also much better there. Exposed brick and softly lit, rather than the brightly lit, loud environment of Grimaldi's.

          Plus, the calzone is great, as is the BYOB option

          1. I have to avoid being ridiculous here, because I can be. In my opinion, Grimaldi's has been coasting off of a long over reputation that it gained in the 1990's when Patsy Grimaldi owned the place and made every pie himself. It was fantastic. Now the pies are often undercooked and sloppy, with far lesser ingredients thrown in the mix. I have only been to Lucali about 4 times. Each time it was amazing. Not DiFara amazing, but really really good. They take the time to attend to each pie, and the owner oversees the pies. I think that is what it takes: the vision and taste of a single person who cares and astands behind the pies with pride. I definitely got that feeling from Lucali's. Grimaldi's is a mill. They just don't care.

            1 Reply
            1. re: NYJewboy

              I have to second NYJewboy: "Grimaldi's is a mill. They just don't care." Seriously.

              I was there with a group on Wednesday night. After waiting in line for an hour (literally), we got seated with a scowl, which we tried to ignore.

              When we finished our pies, which were fine but not knock-your-socks-off spectacular, we still had a little bit of wine left. At that point, the server dropped the bill on the table and came back 30 seconds later to try to collect it.

              Then the owner came over and tried to get us to hurry up and get the f** out by saying "We accommodated you, and now we're trying to accommodate them" (gesturing at the line outside). Oh, thanks, buddy. As if he'd done something special for us and we hadn't waited in line for an hour. One of my friends responded, "we just want to finish our wine" (about a half inch in both carafes). He glowered and walked over to give a similar "move along" message to a neighboring table that had also finished their pies and were taking the last sips of their drinks.

              We finished our wine and got up - total time from finishing the pie to walking out the door, approximately 4 minutes - but that's four minutes too long for Grimaldi's.

              On our way out, the owner said to my cousin, about the friend who'd dared say she wanted to finish her wine, "If she was a man, I'd take her outside and punch her." Lovely. Very charming.

              In summary - this was disgusting behavior that obviously doesn't make me want to give Grimaldi's my business again. The sad thing is that Grimaldi's probably doesn't care about building customer loyalty. It seems that Grimaldi's is so certain of a constantly replenishing tourist market that they have no incentive to treat customers with any civility. Their only focus is packing their cash-only business in and out as fast as humanly possible.

            2. If you go to Lucali, just make sure Beyonce and Jay-Z aren't around.


              7 Replies
              1. re: Miss Needle

                I read the article about how Lucali's usurped a table for the Hollywood trash couple in the article. I do not know who Jon Z is, but if this is true it is absolutely deplorable. You never know when you read these things if indeed it is accurate. But if it is, they lost 3 customers: the 3 girls at the table and me. And I eat one @$%^^# of a lot of pizza. Keep me covered.

                1. re: NYJewboy

                  It would be disappointing because Mark has said how the restaurant is for the neighborhood people. So it would be a shame if that was all just shtick. Agreed that blogs aren't always the best source of information.

                  1. re: jdf

                    C'mon, Jay-Z is Brooklyn royalty!

                    1. re: Widmark

                      Hey, I'm a fan too. Do I think he should get preferential treatment or cause others to be rushed out? No. Save that for swanky Manhattan places that are trying to have that vibe.

                      1. re: jdf

                        We've been regulars at Lucali since Mark opened and I have to say I find it very hard to believe that what happened was anything like what the blogger describes. We've never had anything but pleasant experiences with Mark and his servers.

                        1. re: jdf

                          I'm just saying if this is an isolated event...the two biggest pop stars on the planet swing by and they don't have to wait, it's not the worst or most surprising thing in the world. If it happened more often, that's something else.

                        2. re: Widmark

                          There is nothing there. Moronic. Vapid. Without any real value.

                  2. One more vote for Lucali. Ingredients and preparation are both head and shoulders better than Grimaldi's. If you can get there early (6ish) you can beat the rush. Even if you can't be the rush, a pizza at Lucali is worth waiting for. And definitely BYO beer or wine.

                    1. lucali.
                      why? because the pizza's much better.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Get In My Belly

                        lucali hands down. jay-z or not. it's far better pizza. and byob friendly. grimaldi's shouldn't even be a consideration, unless you have relatives visiting from out of town that insist.

                      2. if you're in carroll gardens (lucali's neighborhood) and you don't want to wait, may i suggest another option? Try the pizza at Marco Polo To Go on Court Street between Union and President. They have a wood-burning pizza oven and a very nice italian pizza maker and the pizza is very good. Is it as good as Lucali's? No. But it's never crowded, if it's nice out you can sit outside, the people working there are very friendly, you get a free liter of soda with a large pie.

                        You can literally walk in and be eating some delicious pizza within minutes (they cook fast in that oven)

                        I've been really loving this place lately and probably should start a thread about it, but hey, i don't want it to get too mobbed!

                        also, for those of you, like me, with offspring, they are very friendly to children. which is not to say that the place is ever overrun with screaming kids. (unless me and my friends are in there. ; ) )

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: missmasala

                          along the same lines, although i do agree lucali is delicious and definitely better than grimaldi, sam's on court is way up there on the list of excellent pizza.

                          1. re: missmasala

                            I agree, I too have been enjoying the piza at Marco Polo to Go for a while and they deliver!! Quite tasty and quick delivery.

                            1. re: missmasala

                              Thank you, thank you for that suggestion! I had a pizza from Marco Polo To Go last night. No waiting at all. It was excellent, one of the better pizzas I have had in New York. They even had good sausage on the pizza (a rarity in NYC). My only complaint would be that there wasn't enough sausage - on the other hand, the price is low enough that maybe I'll order extra sausage next time.

                              1. re: racer x

                                so glad you liked it! it really is the kind of place where you could probably just ask them to put a little more sausage on your pie next time.

                                havent tried the sausage. we usually get the soppresata pie and have been happy with the amount of topping on it (tho i like a light topping)

                                the siciliana, which we accidentally ordered one evening, is also excellent, if you like anchovies and capers.

                                1. re: missmasala

                                  okay, had the sausage pie tonight and have to agree that the sausage was rather sparse. Next time I would ask for more.

                                  Suggest you try the sopressata pie--like pepperoni, and a lot more of it on the pizza than the sausage.

                            2. Well, the view is better while you're waiting at Grimaldi's.
                              Grimaldi's is very bright, very loud, elbow-to-elbow, with rather brusque service at times. Lucali's is the opposite of all that (subdued, low-light, etc.).
                              But at least you can get carry-out at Grimaldi's and, if you time your visit right, completely avoid the wait.

                              So where did you end up going, bkeater, and how was the meal??

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: racer x

                                actually, Lucali can also be very loud. At this point, both of these places are overrated and both are full of tourists. But eating Grimaldi in BK Br Park is a salve.
                                It's too bad Leonardo's is gone. That place was fantastic. LJW is right that Sam's is good. Has anyone been to Pacific Pizza? Looks good in there.

                                1. re: sarapeater

                                  I'm telling you, if you miss leonardo's, try Marco Polo To Go. I missed leonardo's an awful lot, until I tried the pizza at Marco Polo.

                                  1. re: sarapeater

                                    I don't get the logic behind saying Lucali is either overrated or full of tourists. As for how it's rated, the pizza is spectacular -- among the best in Brooklyn (or anywhere) -- and reviews match. Ingredients are high quality and always fresh. Every pie is made by hand by Mark himself or under his watchful eye. As for the tourists, most times we're in there it feels like a neighborhood crowd with maybe a few adventurous souls who cross the bridge from the City. Not sure we call Manhattanites tourists yet, even in Carroll Gardens.

                                    But maybe you were trying to keep crowds down... in which case, yeah, it's overrated and full of tourists...

                                    1. re: sarapeater

                                      In my 15 or so trips to Lucali I've never noticed a single patron that seemed as if they came any further than lower Manhattan. Coming for pizza from Manhattan makes them no more a tourist than any Brooklyn resident eating in Manhattan.

                                  2. I've been to both and prefer Grimaldi's. Lucali's is good but it just didn't give me the giant grin of contentment I've worn the times I've been to Grimaldi's.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: shivohum

                                      Have you ever tried DiFara's shivohum? You might really like their regular pie a lot.

                                      1. re: NYJewboy

                                        Absolutely - DiFara's is wonderful, my #1 or #2 pizza with Franny's :-).

                                    2. I know the guys at Grimaldi's well, and they are a gruff bunch. They don't care about you, they want fast turnover, and the pizza suffers.

                                      Having said that, I think that they CAN make a great pie when there is no line (and they know you). I have been incredibly vocal about my anti-Grimaldi sentiments on this site. I stand by that. However they have made quite a few pies for my wife and myself in the last few months that were really good. Know what you are getting into, but also know that the tourist thing is not all they are capable of. THEY STILL HAVE PASTY"S OVEN!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: NYJewboy

                                        The last 3 times I have gone to Grimaldi's it has been excellent. I have found the key to be to ask for it well done and with extra cheese.

                                      2. Lucali's. The pizza is much better, the service is nicer, and the quality of the pie is consistently delicious. The last two times I was at Grimaldi's, the service was terrible and rude, and the pizza was poorly done. They used to be great, but I think their success killed it. The seating is also way too cramped at Grimaldi's.

                                        The largest table at Lucali's seats 6. It's BYOB and there's a bodega on the corner. At 7:30, you'll have to wait in line, but at least there's a bench outside.