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Ranking every NYC pizzeria I've tried (~70)

c
Cheese Cheesely Mar 10, 2009 09:27 PM

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.

Francesca's (UES)

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)

Zaytuna (FiDi)

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)

Francesca's (UES)

Pranzo (FiDi)

Imperial Pizza (Murray Hill)

Da Vinci (FiDi)

Luigi's (UES)

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.

Cordato's (FiDi)

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

  1. f
    FiveDanFive Sep 2, 2009 07:02 PM

    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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FiveDanFive
      a_and_w Sep 3, 2009 09:00 AM

      Everyone has an opinion on pizza. If by Famous Joe's you mean Joe's on Bleecker, you can definitely do better. Are you just looking for slices or can you do a whole pie?

    2. r
      racer x Mar 14, 2009 05:52 PM

      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:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560496

      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:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/381360

      1. f
        fress Mar 13, 2009 04:52 PM

        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.

        1. p
          Pan Mar 12, 2009 02:29 PM

          Thanks for that post!

          I'm intrigued by your placing N 28 second. I don't know that place at all. They just make a really good plain slice, I take it? Any other hounds want to chime in with comments on them?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Pan
            c
            Cheese Cheesely Mar 14, 2009 12:00 PM

            It's Neapolitan brick oven.

            http://web.mac.com/mattal/iWeb/numero...

            My favorites are Bufalina, Diavola, Bianca, and San Daniele.

            1. re: Cheese Cheesely
              p
              Pan Mar 14, 2009 03:48 PM

              Thanks a lot! Gosh, they didn't get someone to proofread their site! But, more importantly: Who is getting those 29" pies? Wow!

              I'll keep it in mind that the place is worth checking out.

              1. re: Pan
                c
                Cheese Cheesely Mar 15, 2009 04:27 PM

                They're 29" long (not in diameter). I can easily take a couple down.

                1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                  p
                  Pan Mar 15, 2009 09:47 PM

                  Oh, square slices. How wide do you suppose they are, roughly?

          2. Peter Cuce Mar 11, 2009 10:40 PM

            Great post. I applaud your effort.

            1. j
              joc1234 Mar 11, 2009 04:43 PM

              Frannie's? Grimaldi's? Lombardi's? Arturo's?

              7 Replies
              1. re: joc1234
                c
                Cheese Cheesely Mar 11, 2009 05:34 PM

                I'd be happy to list them if I'd had the opportunity to try them.

                1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                  il Trifulau Mar 11, 2009 05:51 PM

                  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!

                  1. re: il Trifulau
                    c
                    Cheese Cheesely Mar 11, 2009 06:58 PM

                    I don't really have any borders, per se. It's just a tougher sell the further a place is from UES. Are these places in SI accessible via public transportation?

                    And thanks for not spelling it "marron'".

                    1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                      a_and_w Sep 3, 2009 08:55 AM

                      Mos def. The Staten Island ferry is free and there are buses to everywhere on the Island from the ferry terminal.

                  2. re: Cheese Cheesely
                    d
                    david sprague Mar 11, 2009 05:53 PM

                    you should give lombardi's a shot, for sure. never cared much for grimaldi's, but that could be my attitudinal issue. franny's is dreadful, yuppie, pizza-like substance passed off as "pizza."

                    1. re: david sprague
                      oreximaniac Mar 11, 2009 06:57 PM

                      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.

                      1. re: oreximaniac
                        c
                        Cheese Cheesely Mar 12, 2009 11:49 AM

                        Yeah, I'm down with the cornmeal/breadcrumb crust. I'll give it a shot next time I'm drinking down there.

                2. Polecat Mar 11, 2009 02:00 PM

                  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.
                  P.

                  1. r
                    Ricky Mar 11, 2009 01:48 PM

                    no Pizza Suprema?

                    1. thew Mar 11, 2009 10:21 AM

                      for a late night slice on the UES - italian village on 80th and 1st.. to me much better than roma;s

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: thew
                        c
                        Cheese Cheesely Mar 11, 2009 11:21 AM

                        Thanks for the tip. I'd heard good things actually, but didn't know they were open late.

                        1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                          thew Mar 11, 2009 11:48 AM

                          they are my go to local joint, early or late.....

                          1. re: thew
                            d
                            davenyc Mar 12, 2009 03:18 PM

                            I actually like La Mia on 78th and 1st slightly better than Italian Village

                            1. re: davenyc
                              thew Mar 12, 2009 04:04 PM

                              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"

                      2. t
                        tubastu Mar 11, 2009 08:56 AM

                        NO totonnos? give it a try, esp. the one by coney island. almost as good as it gets

                        1. misnatalie Mar 11, 2009 08:05 AM

                          no Bleeker St?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: misnatalie
                            c
                            Cheese Cheesely Mar 11, 2009 10:16 AM

                            Another victim of its proximity to places high up on my list. I'll try it soon enough.

                            1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                              misnatalie Mar 11, 2009 10:21 AM

                              Understood, I'ma huge Joe's fan but one day when you are craving Joe's give them a try instead.

                              1. re: misnatalie
                                a_and_w Sep 3, 2009 08:54 AM

                                Agreed -- I prefer Bleecker Street to Joe's, especially the Nana Maria.

                                For the OP, you also need to try Arturo's, which I prefer to John's,

                          2. s
                            sunshndaydrm Mar 11, 2009 06:50 AM

                            I disagree with your ranking of Mariella Pizza - think the one on 3rd Ave and 16th Street is great.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sunshndaydrm
                              c
                              Cheese Cheesely Mar 11, 2009 10:15 AM

                              I haven't tried that one. I've given the 59th street location numerous chances and have found it to be consistently atrocious. Perhaps I'll give this other location a try (though it would be tough to not get VV or Artichoke if I'm in that neighborhood).

                            2. b
                              bnemes3343 Mar 11, 2009 04:43 AM

                              No Lombardi's; no Grimaldi's, no Pizza Una Neopolitana, among others. This list is looking a bit lame...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: bnemes3343
                                c
                                Cheese Cheesely Mar 11, 2009 10:07 AM

                                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.

                                1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                                  f
                                  foodwhisperer Mar 13, 2009 06:42 AM

                                  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.

                                  1. re: Cheese Cheesely
                                    s
                                    shanshan Sep 2, 2009 07:10 PM

                                    call ahead for Grimaldis and then just stop by to pick it up and eat by the water or something..

                                  2. re: bnemes3343
                                    t
                                    tpigeon Mar 13, 2009 06:26 PM

                                    You could say possibly missing some things but it is far from lame. Lame is having a Difara sicilian then biting into a grimaldi's pizza right afterwards.

                                  3. LeahBaila Mar 11, 2009 04:36 AM

                                    I don't see Grimaldi's or Angelo's Pizza on your list. Check them out if you've not yet been.

                                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                                    1. d
                                      david sprague Mar 11, 2009 04:11 AM

                                      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.

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