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Best Pizza Near Cooper-Hewitt?

I'll be visiting the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (2 East 91st Street) from out of town on Saturday, and my friends and I would like to stop for lunch afterwards at an authentic New York pizzeria. We're looking for something fast, casual, and inexpensive, and somewhere within walking distance of the museum. Any suggestions?

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  1. San Matteo, 90th & 2nd

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    San Matteo
    1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

    1. I like Nick's, Second Ave. @94th Street.

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      Nick's
      1814 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

      11 Replies
      1. re: City Kid

        Thanks to you and gutsofsteel for the recommendations. I've just read the Yelp reviews for both places and they look fantastic. However, they both look more like Italian restaurants and less like NY pizza joints. I think we're hoping for something more like greasy dive and less like gourmet woodfired. Thoughts?

        1. re: NovaVeg

          There are many such places....but they're not worth eating in. Are you looking for bad pizza to eat?

          Nick's is fairly big place, Greek-owned family style Italian restaurant, with decent pizza. San Matteo is a tiny place, owned by 3 guys from Salerno who speak heavily accented English, and the food and pizza are excellent, quite a different league than Nick's, which is basically a red sauce joint with decent pizza. They have huge plates of pasta and salads with silly names. San Matteo is a very different animal.

          Most of the "NY pizza joints" I think you're after are Greek owned too...not that it matters really. There are pizza places all over the neighborhood....most of them are the same mediocre quality. If you're willing to go far east, the two slice joints I like are at Italian Village on 1st Ave, and Arturo's on 85th & York (no relation to the Arturo's pizza downtown). Neither of these is convenient for you however.

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          Arturo's Pizza
          1610 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            Okay, thanks. We'll plan on San Matteo, which is slightly closer to the museum.

            I get what you mean about bad pizza. It's just that most of what you think of as bad is still better than most of what people here (DC) think is good. :)

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            San Matteo
            1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

            1. re: NovaVeg

              Besides pizza (which you will obviously get), I recommend the rucola s bresaola salad, and the "coffee cream" dessert. They also serve very good salumi.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                We're here now and love it -- and we haven't even gotten the food yet. Feel free to to stop by if you're in the neighborhood. :)

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Thanks again for the recommendation for San Matteo -- it was great! The setting was very nice for such a small and simple restaurant, and the staff was very friendly. As luck would have it, one of my friends speaks fluent Italian -- that obviously didn't hurt. We started with espressos, each individually crafted with impressive equipment. We ordered one pizza with buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto, and one pizza with butternut squash and smoked mozzarella. I'm vegetarian so I only had the latter, but it was delicious. The squash was pureed with spices, and essentially replaced the sauce. The crust was the perfect balance of crispy and chewy. We also couldn't resist ordering one of the day's specials -- gnocchi with pesto sauce. The gnocchi was made to order and was perfect. We finished with the coffee cream at your recommendation, which was a tasty way to end a great meal. Thanks again!

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                  San Matteo
                  1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

                  1. re: NovaVeg

                    Great, helpful update (most folks don't bother). Appreciate your taking the time and hope you had a good visit.

              2. re: gutsofsteel

                I've never tried San Matteo, though it sounds good. But I consider Nick's primarily a pizza place, despite the other items available, thus the name Nick's Pizza. I rarely see people order anything other than pizza. I like the fact that there is room to sit without feeling cramped. I certainly consider it "an authentic New York pizzeria," as requested by the OP.

                1. re: City Kid

                  I've been to Nick's many, many times. There are always people ordering other dishes besides pizza - it's a big menu. It's a branch of the place in Queens which is primarily a pizza place, hence the name. But Nick's in the UES is a restaurant with a full Italian-American menu.

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    Regardless of what else they offer, Nick's is primarily known for its pizza, from Zagat's: “Perfectly charred” brick-oven pizza is the thing at this Forest Hills pie parlor and its UES offshoot.

              3. re: NovaVeg

                If you're looking for a slice joint, the closest decent place is Pintaile's about 50 yards from the entrance of the Cooper-Hewitt. I'm not sure what style of pizza they are, but I like the salamino slice with dried capicolla. For a more traditional slice, check out Luzzo's on 96th/Lex right by the subway entrance.

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                Pintaile's Pizza
                26 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128

                Little Luzzo's
                119 E 96th St, New York, NY 10029

            2. Both Nicks and San Mateo can be fine and fun; Nicks is a branch of a Queens, Greek-owned family place, with good brick oven largish pizza and large family-sized portions of traditional Italian-American dishes (parm, pasta, etc). The newer San Matteo is a smaller place, with more direct roots in modern Salerno, and more distinctly Italian dishes, plus smaller brick oven pizze. Nick's is more spacious, and both places are right on top off the chaos that is the building of the 2nd Ave subway, though.

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              San Matteo
              1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

              4 Replies
              1. re: bob96

                There is no construction happening on the San Matteo corner.

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                San Matteo
                1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Right, but the entire strip nearby is a mess--have lived with it since the beginning.

                  1. re: bob96

                    I'm well aware. But San Matteo is not on top of the construction the way Nick's is.

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                    San Matteo
                    1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Sure.

              2. I'm a little late to the party, but as a lifelong Carnegie hiller, the correct answer to this question was almost certainly Little Luzzo's, which is better than it's EV sibling IMO, way better than Arturos or Mimis and serves by the slice. Makes more sense than hauling to 2nd Ave. But I should also note that Nicks is definitely a pizza joint, no matter how much red sauce placeholders they have on their menu, and it still sucks that Anna Maria closed, years later, because it would've been a perfect answer to your question.

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                Anna Maria
                1592 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

                Little Luzzo's
                119 E 96th St, New York, NY 10029

                2 Replies
                1. re: dzop

                  I'm not a big fan of Little Luzzo's - I think the slices at Arturo's on York are better. And I thought Anna Maria was awful!

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                  Anna Maria
                  1592 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

                  Little Luzzo's
                  119 E 96th St, New York, NY 10029

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    I have nothing but respect for your taste in food in general, GoS. But (a) Luzzo's potato-gorganzola slice is a thing of beauty and (b) Anna Maria's was not awful in its heyday, for what it was, which was a deeply NY style pizza. There was nothing Italian or authentic about it, but there's room for good food in that space too.

                2. Will definitely be trying San Matteo given the great reviews here. But I do love Little Luzzo'a -- for takeout only -- especially the Neapolitan potato and gorganzola. The Italian owners are also quite charming.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: City Kid

                    Little Luzzo's great for takeout only; not a place to sit. But excellent value and very good pies.

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                    Little Luzzo's
                    119 E 96th St, New York, NY 10029