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Jun 25, 2008 06:13 PM

John's or Totonno's?

We will be in town next week and due to schedule and location, have narrowed our search to John's or Totonnos for pizza. Please help us decide.

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  1. I gather you mean Manhattan, so John's. Totonno's is worth it only if you're willing to schlep to Coney Island.

    1. Which locations of John's or Totonno's are you considering? They both have multiple locations. There may be a better alternative nearby.

      Neither John's of Bleecker or Totonno's non-Coney Island locations are in the top echelon any more.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        We are considering the Johns on W. 44th or the Totonnos on 2nd Ave between 26th and 27th.

        1. re: jtc

          Definitely skip the 2nd Ave Totonno's -- it's totally mediocre. John's on 44th St. ain't the best in the city, but it's a step above.

      2. I would say John's...Their pizza is heavenly

        1 Reply
        1. re: kcijones001

          Great pizza at John's (NO SLICES !).

        2. Is there a reason you chose those two places. Is it a location issue? I would not recommend either of those if you are looking for the best pizza experience. In that area, I woudl recommend Lazzara's on 38th b/t 7th and 8th. If you are flexible location wise, I would suggest Patsy's in East Harlem, Bleecker Street Pizza, Isabella's Oven, Luzzo's, Vinny Vincenz and even Lombardi's over Johns or Totonnos. If you would be willing to go to Brooklyn, I recommend Grimaldi's (only one stop from manhattan).

          If you are set on choosing b/t Johns and Totonnos, go with johns. Better pizza and much cooler atmosphere.

          10 Replies
          1. re: offthebeatenpath1

            It is a location issue. We will be in the city for a short period of time. Totonnos is near our hotel and Johns is close to the theater. The family is not up for a qwest, just looking for a combination of quality/convenience.

              1. re: jtc

                If those are your choices, I would do John's. I find that tourists love the atmosphere. It used to be a church and looks pretty impressive.

              2. re: offthebeatenpath1

                John's is just lousy pizza. Totonnos is a bit better, but it varies by location. Patsy's uptown has gone so far downhill it's almost embarassing. Luzzo's is a good recommendation, Bleecker St. Pizza is too. The pizza situation in Manhattan is pretty dismal. If you're willing to leave Manhattan, you'll do much better. Try Lucali's in Brooklyn Heights - it's a quick subway ride. Or go to Franny's in Park Slope.

                Sal & Carmine's is good, on the UWS. Celeste on the UWS makes a good pizza too. You should read Ed Levine's blog ( - and read all the pizza stuff on there.

                There's also Fornino in Williamsburg. And Bettola on the UWS.

                If you're gonna go to Totonno's - go out to Coney Island and go to the original.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  I think the only Totonno's worth visiting is Coney Island. I disagree, respectively of course, on Patsy's uptown, but they are a bit inconsistent.

                  I think the OP said it was a location issue, so I think John's is the better of the two. Yes, Brooklyn is a much better pizza locale right now than Manhattan though.

                  1. re: offthebeatenpath1

                    "Best" is so opionated and therefore, nearly impossible to reach a consensus. For example, the opinions of John's range from great to lousy.

                    To the OP, it's a pizza, not oceanfront property. Go to John's, it's conveniently located, has a nice NYC Pizza ambiance, and the pizza, IMO, is far from lousy.

                  2. re: gutsofsteel

                    John's isn't "lousy," just mediocre. Patsy's East Harlem is uneven but annihilates those poor excuses for "Totonno's" in Manhattan.

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      As an avid pizza fan (and former New Yorker), if John's opened up a place in Vermont they would be worshipped and heralded as the second incarnation. You want lousy, take a drive up here and I'll show you friggin' lousy !

                      1. re: TonyO

                        I hear you, but these judgments are always relative.

                        1. re: TonyO

                          I could not agree more. Last week my Queens born sister now living in Boulder was blown away by the pizza she had at John's on 44th and at Lombardi's. OP should do John's.

                  3. I think it depends on what type of toppings you like on your pizza. I've noticed that totonno's is really only good for a simple pie, such as a plain cheese or pepperoni as a decent topping, but for the most part, their toppings are pretty crappy in quality. If you like a more complicated pie, John's would be the better bet.