Ranking every NYC pizzeria I've tried (~70)
I have to admit that these aren't the most scientific of rankings. I mostly went from memory (with only a couple of places being added after I made the list), so I could have mis-ranked a few pizzerias, especially towards the middle-to-bottom of the list.
Emphasis in my rankings is primarily on taste. Value, service, the overall experience, etc. are also important to me.
With that out of the way, here are my rankings (with some random notes):
Di Fara (Midwood) - Re-read my emphasis above. That this is still number 1 despite the poor value and atrocious service is a testament of quality.
N 28 (W Village) - I normally go for plain slices, but this place is all about the variety.
Artichoke (Union Sq) - I wasn't a believer at first. It's all in the sicilian.
Patsy's (E Harlem) - I think most would disagree. I've had Patsy's numerous times, under numerous circumstances. With that said, I might chalk it up to a small sample size.
Carmela's (FiDi) - May this place rest in peace (dept of health). I would eat off their bathroom floor if I could have one more chicken vodka slice. But alas.
Giovanna's (UES) - Barely distinguishable from Nick's (UES). I gave it a slight edge for crispier crust and more basil.
Nick's (UES) - See above; I have yet to try the original location.
John's of Bleeker (W Village) - Very good brick oven that I haven't had in several years. Who knows, I might rank this above Giovanna's if this were a more exact science.
Vinny Vincenz (Union Square) - Better regular slice than Artichoke, but I don't think the sicilian compares.
Joe's (W Village) - Still a top-notch plain slice.
Fornino (Williamsburg) - I was torn about where to rank this one. I'd have to try it again, but it might belong a few spots higher.
Gotham Pizza (UES) - They did a slice write-up on this place. At first I was kind of surprised, but I really do like this place.
Mardigras Pizza (FiDi) - Two Boots knock-off that's better than the original.
Il Fornaio (UES) - I don't know why I like this place so much. The pizza is a little doughier than I usually like, but it just tastes good. Who am I to argue with that?
The Grotto (FiDi) - My go-to pizza place at work.
Pizza Box (W Village) - I've only been once, so maybe it was on an off-evening. I was expecting this to be better than Joe's, but it was just decent.
Pintaile's Pizza (UES) - Kind of different (organic wheat dough, unique toppings), and I wasn't sure whether I liked this at first; but I do.
99 Cent Fresh Pizza (Midtown East) - Not only because it's cheap.
Crocodile Lounge (Union Sq) - Floury crust, but for some reason* it all works together.
* One possible reason might be the dozen Natural Light adult beverages I drink before heading over.
Adrienne's Pizza Bar (FiDi) - The epitome of overrated. Decent place that way-too-frequently gets nods as a top Manhattan Pizzeria.
Pizza Italia (FiDi) - Above-average slice place by work.
Tony's Famous Pizza (Downtown Brooklyn)
Libretto's (Murray Hill)
Rosa's Pizza (Murray Hill)
Pizza 33 (Murray Hill) - Pizza 33 : slightly past their prime Phi Sig girls :: Adrienne's Pizza Bar : Balding AVP's in Prime Brokerage
Underground Pizza (FiDi)
La Mia Pizza (UES)
Delizia 92 (UES)
Rocky's Number II (Murray Hill)
Mike's Pizza (UES)
Bulldog Pizza (UES)
Slice, The Perfect Food (UES) - I almost excluded this. I really like some of the food here, but I hesitate to call it "pizza". I would loosely lump this in with The Pump (which I did exclude--it's even less true to its name) as a tasty and healthy alternative, but it's just not pizza. It's also pricey.
Vezzo (Murray Hill)
Two Boots (UES)
Ben's Pizza (W Village) - I may have to re-try this one. It's been a while and I've heard a few compliments.
Pinch (Murray Hill)
Famous Original Ray's Pizza (UES) - Better than I expected.
La Pizzeria (Murray Hill)
Pizza Mercato (Murray Hill)
Little Vincent's (UES)
Nina's (UES) - I am not opposed to the thicker, pan style of pizza, but something was just off about the flavor.
Mimi's Pizza Kitchen (UES)
Fat Sal's Pizza (UES)
My Daddy's Pizza (FiDi)
Imperial Pizza (Murray Hill)
Da Vinci (FiDi)
Piazza Pizza (UES)
Zesty Pizza & Deli (UES)
Zorba's Pizza (UES)
Famous Original Ray's Pizza (LES)
Roma's Pizza (UES) - Gross. Still, I often find myself hungry at 4am with nowhere else to
turn. This is roughly the cut-off line, below which I wouldn't eat a slice for free.
Abitino's Pizzeria (Midtown East)
Hot & Crusty (Multi)
Bravo Pizza (Midtown East)
Caesar's Palace (UWS)
B&T Supreme (UES)
Redstone Pizzeria (Midtown East)
Pizza Rustica (Midtown East)
Park Row Pizza (FiDi)
Caruso's (Penn Station)
Mariella Pizza (Midtown East)
Giuliano's (FiDi) - I admittedly have a vendetta against this place. 95% of it is because they serve horrible pizza, though.
Cafe Amore (Union Sq) - Puke
well. obviously numbers 43 and 44 should be reversed and....
only kidding :)
i just needed to chime in with my full support for your last place choice -- by far the worst pizza i have had in nyc. maybe the worst anywhere, save a place near the train station in bath, england. don't even ask.
Lame, perhaps. But I consider myself a pretty busy person and rarely have time to leave the borough for a meal. In UPN's case, I do plan to visit relatively soon--same with Co.
I almost went to Grimaldi's once, but saw the line and immediately turned around. 45 minutes just to put an order in, and no individual slices? Not even Di Fara is that ridiculous.
I plan to visit all of the top outer borough places, but it's easier said than done at this point in my life.
re: Cheese Cheesely
Quite impressive list. I do think Lombardi's should be way on top of your list, at least ahead of John;s. Arturo's should be on the list also,, A new place with excellent pizza is Inatesso Pizza Bar ( the pastas are good too). I dont think the Brooklyn places should be on this list. Aside from the fact that they arent all that good. Grimaldi's is good, not great. Di Fara i wasnt impressed and way overpriced. Spumoni Gardens is way overrated. NewPark Pizza in howard beach is really good for regular style pizza.
la mia was 2nd or 3rd on my list in the 'hood, but i had a to-do with the guy one day.. don;t feel he treated me right - so they are off my rotation. i can hold a grudge like that. there used to be the coffee shop on 80th and york that the guy yelled at my dad for reading the newspaper that had been sitting on the counter when i was 8, despite my love for their lime ricky's i never went back. when they finally closed 30+ years later i thought to myself "yes - i win"
No need to scour the borough, but I recommend a few joints in Queens, such as Rose and Joe's (a bakery in Astoria that serves an excellent sicilian), Rosa's (two locations - go for the grandma) and VIPizza in Bayside (an old fashioned NYC street slice). Nick's, in Forest Hills (brick oven), isn't a favorite of mine, but that shouldn't stop you from going - it's certainly got its' share of praise.
In Brooklyn, people will take you to task for not including Lucali's. Haven't been. But I highly recommend San Marco Pizzeria in Williamsburgh - it's pretty much the quintessential NYC street slice. While we're on the topic, try Louie and Ernie's in the Bronx as well.
Staten Island has their own thing as well, some legendary spots. No list of pizzerias would be complete without them.
re: Cheese Cheesely
First, I'd like to know what your West Village borders are.
Second, I can certainly appreciate the outstanding effort you've put forth creating this list and eating all that tasty pizza, but Polecat is right.
Staten Island has the some of the best pizza in New York, maybe the U. S.
But even that said, I agree that DiFara's is still THE best.
The only pizza I remember being better quality was in Corleone.
Lee's, Denino's, Joe and Pat's, Goodfella's, Nunzio's...ma-donna!
re: david sprague
Bleecker St. Pizza corner of bleecker and 7th ave. Fresh tomtaoes, nice herbs, cornmeal crust (never thought I would care for it, but I was wrong)
WAY better than Joe's. That place went downhill after they lost their location on the corner. Way too tourist now, plus they have this a "stuck-up", elitist air about their slices, that quite frankly sucks, is burnt, limp (yes burnt and limp in one slice) and very flavorless.
Worth the trek to UWS for Sal and Carmine's (101st and Bway). Excellent pizza by the slice with great pliable crust, particularly if you get them hot out of the oven. I prefer to Joe's.
Cheese Cheesely, you poor thing, you're missing out on some really good pizzas.
(On the other hand, if you feel No 28 Carmine deserves a place in the top 10 -- and number 2, no less -- your taste may be so different from mine that it may be pointless for me to suggest any other places for you to try. I get a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about No 28.)
In Manhattan, in addition to Lombardi's and Arturo's, as already mentioned, you also need to try Giorgione's and Gnocco.
In Queens, you must get to the original Nick's (so much better than the Manhattan cousin that there is no comparison). And in Brooklyn, Lucali's and Grimaldi's. (Your best bet to avoid the lines at Grimaldi's is to go early and get a takeout. A warm Saturday or holiday night -- forget it.)
My top 10 list is here:
And you've probably seen this other thread, but in case you haven't, there are comments on lots of pizzerias around the city here:
Is it just me, or is pizza the hardest thing to find agreement on in this board?
I can't seem to find an overall opinion on a couple of the places I'm looking to try when I'm in town next week: No. 28 on Carmine and Famous Joe's.
For every positive post I read, I read another that says I can do better.