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One pie to rule them all

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Not looking for a slice, so I hope its OK to start a new thread. I'm going to be NYC for a day visiting Columbia and staying with someone in western Manhattan. They have offered to take me out to a pizza place of my choosing (I'm on the dole and am privileged to have their hospitality). I understand the big three to be Una Pizza Napoletana, DiFara's, and Totonno's.

When I was employed and stationary I was a regular at Apizza Scholl's in Portland, so I have been pretty spoiled. What would you suggest I select out of these three? Which is the most true to New York? Which is the most delicious? (I think the which is most true to Italy question is already answered by Napoletana).

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  1. Una Pizza is the most traditional italian pizza.

    di fara is the purest expression of NY pizza

    Totonno's? never been, but have heard plenty. first time I've heard it as part of a "big 3" of pizza. honestly there's a ton of other famous pizza places also that fills this void.

    The name Di Fara, however, always is the one that comes up on the top of lists, etc. I love Di Fara's personally and crown it as my personal favorite in the city (Lived in new york my entire life), so my vote would be to go there.

    PS try the square as well as the regular.

    4 Replies
    1. re: silencespeak

      One day in NYC? Staying around Columbia? I'd say Patsy's at 117th St and 2nd Ave. Just a bus ride across town.

      DiFara's is a magical experience, but will be about 3-4 hours round trip (by subway or car) from around Columbia and unless you go from 2:30 to 5 PM, you may have a 60-90 minute wait for the pie. If getting the best pizza in the universe is worth that hassle, go for it. If you can't afford the time, try Patsy's or UPN. Note that Totonno's Coney Island (the Manhattan ones are useless) is about as long a trip as DiFara's although that wait will be less. Also note that DiFara's is closed on Mondays.

      1. re: bobjbkln

        Totonno's gets my vote for most delicious. I just don't get DiFaras from a taste standpoint.

        True to NY? That is a very tough thing to answer but DiFara and Totonno's are not much to look at and both definately have a NYC edge. Totonno's is a palace compared to DiFara's but Totonno's is in a rougher neighborhood and is the oldest continuously running pizza place in the city (maybe country?). So it is a toss up IMO.

        1. re: dhs

          Totono's loyalist here (I live right near them)...had DiFara's the other day for the first time. Pizza was very good but I still feel Totono's reigns supreme. I am all for the crispy/chewy goodness that happens when some greats dough and quality ingredients meet a great oven however, I feel DiFara's crust was a little too well to my liking. I love the dark/charred spots thats occur on the bottom of a good pie but his was almost border line burnt. His customers, thats a different story. Seems the old man has a cult following of pizza nazis that are willing to fight you tooth and nail for a spot in line.

          1. re: bigbull123

            Hey, that makes 2 of us now! I live in Gravesend. Totonno's is only 5 minutes from my house. Sooo maybe proximity has something to do with tastes??? Nahhh :)

            Comparing regular rounds, I find the Difara end crust to be wanting for flavor (saltiness that is common on super high temp oven crusts) and I too find it to be overdone and lacking in chewiness. Plus the parmesan is overwhelming for me. A wonderful pizza and obviously there are many who do like DiFara's the best, but I don't understand how it is held up in such high regard above others unless I factor in the cult of personality that has formed around Dom. He is incredibly charming to watch. A true master at work. Needless to say, DiFara's is a very special place but I'll take Totonno's any day and leave the masses to wait.