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I think I give up on Pizza in Westchester

Growing up in Brooklyn, I remember great pizza. Even when we moved to Westchester in 1985, there were some class spots. Sal's in Mamaroneck, S&J in Scarsdale and the place up by WCC in Valhalla were all great, but even the average places were good. Then it all went downhill.

I tried a slice from Villa Maria in Larchmont today. One caramelized onion slice and Snapple. It looked good and I was told it also had gorgonzola in it. I was psyched. I go to pay and it was $6.20 for a slice that took about eight bites to finish. There was no gorgonzola and aside from the sweetness of the onions, it was absolutely flavorless. I don't eat pizza out often, because it is so bad across the board, but any thoughts? And don't tell me Pepe's. I'm saddened that frozen supermarket pizza usually exceeds in flavor and is generally a lot cheaper.

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  1. j - have you given Catania's in Yonkers on Central Ave. a try? Been a fan of the pizza and the mini calzones since the early 80s. Not on par with Brooklyn pizza by any stretch, but I've always enjoyed it.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Sra. Swanky

      Will definitely give it a go. Where on Central?

      1. re: jhopp217

        It's in the Tanglewood Shopping Center. If you're heading north on Central, it's on your right, just before Nathan's.

        1. re: Sra. Swanky

          We had a pie from there yesterday (extra large regular pie) after reading this thread. I am a Brooklyn transplant as well and was pretty satisfied. The crust could have been a little thinner and crisper, but the ratios and flavors were fine. Usually we get their mini veal and pepper calzones which are more akin to turnovers than the calzones I ate as a kid, but they are no less irresistible.

          1. re: foodiemom10583

            Love Catania's, especially their Everything Pie (with anchovies). Their mini calzones are wonderful, too.

            1. re: slowsmoked

              Even the Italian half of my family in Brooklyn asks us to bring those minis to parties. I happily oblige and hope they don't notice if a couple are missing.

            2. re: foodiemom10583

              I gave up on Catania's a year ago. I found that they in no way compared to how they were in t he 80's-90's. both slices, and the mini calzones, which used to be excellent.

              1. re: JMF

                We usually get a custom order of the hors d'oeuvre-sized ones and they are great. We've been going for 14 years. To each their own.

                1. re: foodiemom10583

                  Definitly agree to disagree. I stopped by today. got a ground veal and pepper mini calzone and a ground meatball one, and a regular slice. the filling on the veal calzone was pretty good. but everything else was awful. their dough is leaden and oily. the slice was so greasy, with oil dripping off, and a metallic off flavor to the cheese/sauce. i only finished the filling of the veal, and threw the rest out. That's my last try of catania's, i'll stick to Gino's.

                  1. re: JMF

                    I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Everything we get from them is a custom order for us rather than picked from the counter and we really don't have much to complain about. Maybe I should place an order for you using my sexy phone voice. ;)

      2. Not your typical pizzeria pizza, but I really enjoyed the margharita pie at Burrata. They have an awesome lunch special -- A nice sized personal pizza and an appetizer for $10. Plus you're sitting in a nice environment. The best old time pizza I've had recently though was at a pizzeria near my son's school in the Bronx. It's on Broadway, just under the El of the last stop on the subway near 246th Street, and it blew me away. It was the pizza of my childhood. It's completely out of the way, but if you've got a real hankering going, take the HHP to the Broadway exit, and travel north on Broadway, past the Burger King, on the same side of the street, under the EL on your right. I have no idea what it's called, but it was great.

        12 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          Broadway Joe's Pizza Inc
          5983 Broadway, Bronx NY 10471
          (718) 796-0376

          1. re: roxlet

            Roxlet. I believe we live near each other. I am seconds from Burrata and have been meaning to try it. Was told "small and pricey," but if it's good I'll pay. I'm not a fan of Polpettina, which I can throw a ball from my apartment. Twice had their pizza (four different slices) - all average or below.

            As for the one you talked about. Broadway Pizza in Riverdale is the one I believe you are talking about. Hands down, the last old style pizza around here. Probably one of the best slices in NY. When I went to Manhattan College, I went there often. Great and not expensive.

            1. re: jhopp217

              Yup, that's the one. Broadway Pizza, a real old-time slice. My son goes to HM, and that (or sometimes Wings On The Run) is his usual Tuesday lunch with the guys. One day, I was dropping him off around lunch time, and he wanted to get a slice. I asked him to get me one too, and , oh boy, was it a trip down pizza memory lane.

              Of course, Burrata is a horse of a different color, but I thought it was a nice color, and for a $10 lunch, very nice indeed. I, too, was not a fan of Polpettina the one time I got lunch from there. I thought the pizza was flavorless and the salad was underdressed. I haven't been back since.

              I'm in Bronxville, so not so far from you in Eastchester. Have you been to the Lincoln Lounge in Mt. Vernon. A neighbor of mine speaks very favorably about it. She's Italian too, so I somewhat trust her opinion on the matter. She exclusively orders take out pizza from Fleetwood Joe's, which I think is fine, but not special. We have ordered from Angelina's in Tuckahoe since it is near the squash club, and I have found that their freshly made, hot and un-reheated cheese pies are pretty good. My son is a big fan of A Mangiare's Sicilian pizza, something I rarely order.

              1. re: roxlet

                Lincoln Lounge is the best pizza in westchester bar none. It blows Johnny's away. Sure, it's not a romantic spot or even that pleasant of a spot, but the food is good, pizza exceptional and the service is A+, even when crowded.

                Fleetwood Joe's actually has decent pizza, but even better food. I don't like red sauce italian, but they do have some really good stuff. Used to order there when I dated a girl in the neighborhood.

                A'Mangiare is good, but sadly, the best one, the one in WP is closed. The one in Bronxville is decent, but I prefer Gino's to them. I'm not a fan of Sicilian other than a little place in Queens called Rose and Joe's. it's a bakery that just happens to have the best Sicilian I've ever had.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  We went to the Lincoln Lounge for dinner after my son's basketball game. It's a wonderful trip back in time. The food is outstanding. Excellent pizza. Very good veal, and I enjoyed the lasagna. What made the evening evening more enjoyable was the kind and attentive staff. I definitely will be going back.

                  1. re: jwg

                    I confess to being not much of a fan of pizza. Them's fighting words around here, where it seems every other storefront is a pizza joint. But an individual, thin-crust pizza at Lincoln Lounge is what I order every time we go and they have a large menu. I like anchovies and mushrooms on top. The pointed end of the slice can get a little soggy, if you linger too long, but it's still a very fine slice. It's definitely a homey kind of place, where children are welcome and enjoyed.. I know families who've gone there for generations.

                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                      I'm curious to try Lincoln Lounge now. Just wondering, if we go on a Saturday or Sunday evening, with my 2 young(ish) kids, is it the kind of place where we need to get there at like 5:00 or there is a wait? Or does it not get that crowded?

                      1. re: valerie

                        I went on a weekend and there was no wait, but I will admit, there was about a foot of snow on the ground last time I went. Miss the place.

                        1. re: valerie

                          Hard to say. If we can't make an early dinner, we'll call for reservations. It seems to be the kind of place where the "old guard" will show up en masse, so reservations have always worked for us. I was surprised to find out that they're open on Monday, but closed on Sunday. Oh, and parking can be a challenge. Just keep circling around, if you don't get lucky.

                          1. re: Pat Hammond

                            Thanks...did not know that they take reservations. Definitely a plus.

                          1. re: wincountrygirl

                            Solano's Lincoln Lounge is located in Mt Vernon, NY
                            I have found the food to be hit or miss. Now I generally
                            ask one of the regulars what they recommend.

                            http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
              2. One question- Did the great pizza from your youth in Brooklyn have caramelized onions and gorgonzola toppings? You're comparing different pizzas, I'm sure.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Leslie

                  I get your point, but when you can't put out a decent crust with a nice balance of cheese and sauce, it's not good, no matter what you put on it.

                2. We LOVE the pizza at AL Dente in Rye. It's not fancy, but it's good. Just sayin'.

                  1. Johnny's in Mt Vernon is the best hands down!

                    Also Quaker ridge pizza in New Rochelle makes a great slice (eat in)

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: yorkvillian

                      +1 for Johnny's.
                      I know a lot of people bond to their first pizza, but not me. I grew up on slices from a discount store on LI back in the 60's. Was the pizza good? Who knows - it was a treat just to have something "out." 25 cents a slice; the Coke was prob more expensive than the pizza.
                      When I was taken to Johnny's for the first time, I had my pizza epiphany.
                      Just wish the parking was easier!

                      1. re: yorkvillian

                        Next time you go to Johnny, walk out and drive over to Lincoln Lounge. Same style and puts Johnny's to shame. This is not an attack, but here's how I judge pizza people in Westchester. Those who love Johnny's and those who don't. I've been to Johnny's twice and if you like wafer thin, cold pizza with too much sauce and not enough cheese, it's perfect. Never met anyone who grew up in the five boroughs who even remotely likes Johnny's

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          I am unequivocally NOT a fan of Johnny's. A former friend introduced me to them years ago and has since apologized. IIRC, parking was far from ample too. Cold thin absolutely lifeless pizza IMO. Might as well been on crackerbread it was so bad.

                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                            Wait. You're actually criticizing pizza for being cold? A place that only sells fresh whole pies?

                            FWIW, yes, I certainly agree: cold pizza generally is "lifeless". That's why I try to eat it hot, myself....

                            1. re: Jim Leff

                              +1. Criticize Johnny's for the parking, the service, the erratic hours, the "decor," but serving a cold pie? Don't think so.
                              To reiterate the oft-mentioned tao of Johnny's: order a pie; when it's delivered, order your next. Rinse and repeat.

                              1. re: mrsdebdav

                                Our pie was delivered to our table cold because they were supposedly shorthanded. Not much more to discuss. The pie was cold and we didn't send it back ... shame on us. Then, I ordered a veal and peppers wedge to try and salvage the night and THAT too was a mistake. Stale bread, old chewy meat, and horrible sauce.

                                1. re: mrsdebdav

                                  First time I went there, my friend and I were the only two people in there (which was a sign to me). Ordered the pie. It took about 20 minutes, but I didn't care, because my friend said it was the best. Our pie came out cool. By the third slice it was ice cold. Not only that, my friend apologized and said it wasn't nearly what she remembered. Not only that, but our waitress disappeared and didn't ask us if we wanted anything else and brought the check about 15 minutes later.

                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                    Jhopp217, we too had a similar experience, and what we should have done (in hindsight) was send our pizza back to the kitchen, but we ate it instead not to anger the pizza Gods. (Reheating it wouldn't have made any difference, the quality was so mediocre). Since that experience, I have learned my lesson. Johnny's will not see me as a return customer. And sadly, for those who don't know, Johnny's has a FULL Italian menu -- they're NOT just pizza. The wedge I had was horrible, and I stand by that (regardless of what the title of this thread reads).

                            2. re: jhopp217

                              Had pizza tonight at Polpettina in Eastchester. The pie with brussel sprouts and taleggio (I swapped out the bacon for wild mushrooms) was out of this world. Def not a red sauce pie and would never be my go-to pizza fix, but a delicious pizza nonetheless.

                              1. re: mrsdebdav

                                I love Polpettina's round pies with or without toppings.

                                1. re: mrsdebdav

                                  While that sounds pretty good, I'm wondering how big it was and I'm assuming from last glance at their menu, that is about $20-25

                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                    My friend and I shared a small pie ( we ordered other things). The couple next to us ordered a large pie. It was as as large a large pie as I've ever encountered. They clearly enjoyed their pizza as much as we did ours. The small was generous, the large was, well, large!

                            3. Gino's on Pondfield rd in Yonkers/Bronxville. Very good regular slice, and I also like the broccoli a lot, and spinach slice upon occaion. Sicilian can be very good too. At lunch time their cold chicken caeser salad slice is very good. I base my pizza attraction to growing up in Brooklyn in the late 60's to early 70's, having 20-25 cent slices on 7th ave.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: JMF

                                +1 Gino's. When I'm in Bronxville I'll take them over any other. They had a lapse briefly a few years back, but since have returned to putting out good pies.

                              2. Okay don't laugh, but Villaggio's on Main Street in Tuckahoe for the egglplant slice and clams oreganata (only) both pictured.

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                14 Replies
                                1. re: chowdom

                                  Two of my favorite things in one post. Chowdom, your photos hypnotize my appetite. Villagio's now on my list.

                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                    Thank you for the compliment. BTW the eggplant infection oh pardon, I meant pizza is delicious when the pie is freshly made. The clams were very good I scraped off the breadcrumbs and just ate clam. Also the calzones ( of the gooey variety) are loaded with both ricotta and mozzarella, the cheese seems to be nicely seasoned. So often they are tasteless pockets of stuffed cardboard.

                                    1. re: chowdom

                                      When I was a kid, I did the opposite: I ate the breadcrumbs and left the clam (Carolina's in Coney Island was very forgiving).

                                  2. re: chowdom

                                    I have tried several pies at Vilaggio within the past year and found them bland, and too much ricotta.

                                    1. re: JMF

                                      JMF have you tried a fresh slice of the eggplant? I have not found a better eggplant slice in the area. I have only encountered breaded, frozen eggplant slices. For a local pizzeria egglplant slice I consider it above average

                                      With a sprinkle of grated cheese and a shake of crushed red pepper ,sometimes a shake of garlic,( I regularly use these condiments on my pizza) I'm very happy. I find that whole pies ordered to take out taste completely different than a slice ordered at the counter. I can live with excess ricotta, if need be it is easily scraped off. DH likes their meat lovers pizza, I think it is horrible, to each his own.

                                      1. re: chowdom

                                        I have tried the by the slice eggplant from Villaggio. I really was underwhelmed by Villaggio. I can't talk about whole fresh pies. I am single, and don't order pies, unless I have my nieces and nephews over. And then only because they are not food lovers.

                                        I am more than willing to try Villaggio again since it is one of the seven pizza places within less than a mile from me. But if they can't perform by the slice, then I feel they are not a contender.

                                        Now these are my personal thoughts, but I feel that if a place NY style pizza place can't be measured on their by the slice pizza, then they aren't worth the time. I'm not talking about coal oven pizza and those types which have to be eaten within seconds of coming out. I'm talking about NY style pizza and its variations. A NY slice should taste better heated up from a pre-cooked pie, than a fresh pie. A NY slice should have a good balance of cheese to sauce and not be drippy, with some acid from the sauce and not tons of oil from the cheese. the crust should be crisp, but with some give so it both bends and cracks. the crust/dough should be easy to bite through, and you should be able to taste the bread flavor of the crust, not grease, burnt flavors, oil, etc.

                                        1. re: JMF

                                          This is why it's difficult to rate (or even, really, discuss) pizza. Everyone has extremely specific preferences, and tends to project them outward as doctrinal. It's natural!

                                          Here's how I approach it, just fwiw: if I don't taste that familiar pastey canned sauce, or that familiar gluey, flavorless cheese, or that familiar insipid, bleached out crust which 99.9% of area pizzerias use (all from the same friendly wholesaler), I start paying very close attention. At that point, if it tastes good, I rate it highly. If it tastes real good, I rate it real highly.

                                          I don't think there's anything "wrong" with having personal preferences, or with measuring everything against idyllic memories of one certain instance. But the thing is, I've had superb pizzas which have broken each and every one of your rules. There are countless styles of pizza out there, and I try to enjoy each on its own terms. I don't complain when great Greek pizza isn't thin crusted, when great brick oven pizza has burntish crust, when DiFara's is so oily, when true Sicilian is super puffy-crusted, when Staten Island-style pizza has de-emphasized cheese, or when any given personal, unique approach fails to meet narrowly predefined expectations. But that's just me.

                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                            Jim, I agree about individual preferences. Pizza has to be more about that than many other foods. Which is why I was very specific about what I thought personally. I was trying to describe NYC style. Now when it comes to other styles, that's a completely different issue.

                                            To anyone, I say go to Villaggio, and see if you agree or not. Personally I can still remember how boring the pizza was. And the person I commented to even says they have to add chili, garlic and cheese to make them happy. Personally I feel that if you need to add condiments, then there is a problem with the food.

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              I add cheese, crushed red pepper, and garlic to pretty much any pizza I eat ( Villaggio, Pepe's, Polpettina, Johnny's, Riviera...) as stated above, it's a personal preference I like the way it makes my pizza taste. I do not add condiments/spices because I feel there is a problem with the food. Do you believe that when a diner adds salt and pepper to a dish after it has been served to him that the chef got it wrong or that the diner has inferior taste.

                                              I guess I wasn't clear about ordering by the slice because I prefer ordering by the slice at a pizzeria. I don't like having pies delivered I feel they become rubbery due to steaming in the box. I appreciate that at Villaggio the eggplant is fresh, thin slices and lightly fried before going on the pie. By a fresh slice I mean a slice from a pie that has been pre cooked but not refrigerated overnight or sitting out for 8 hours. Be it boring, insipid, adorned with a multitude of condiments, not from Brooklyn, Staten Island or Italy it works for me.

                                              PS I really like the pizza ( flat bread variety) from Rivieria

                                                1. re: pabboy

                                                  It's a bakery in Ardsley, right next to the Carvel on Saw Mill River Road (660, to be exact).

                                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                    Gotcha you guys were talking about a bakery!!! OK I know exactly where it is now. Thanks!

                                                    1. re: pabboy

                                                      Just a side note...the soups at Riviera are surprisingly good.

                                          2. re: JMF

                                            Here! Here! My sentiments exactly!

                                    2. Im real picky where i order seafood..about pizza these are my favs
                                      lincoln lounge...eat in and dont be scared. The place is old but the square is awsome
                                      Zaza is legit. Its neapolitan style dont call it personal pie. Very very good.
                                      I went to polpettina and it was good but i feel the pies have too much going on.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: FatCobra

                                        Johnny's and Lincoln lounge are both good but Lincoln lounge is a much better deal,I also like Anthony's coal fired in wp,but none of these are ny style, there used to be a place on Yonkers on Yonkers ave.,not on the corner by track but about 1/2 mile closer to broadway,pretty good basic slice,I think it is still there,very old school

                                        1. re: 51rich

                                          I have to get up to Anthony's. I heard they have great food. I heard the pizza is good, but some say the least of their offerings. I heard they have a good pork sandwich and great wings. If I'm in WP and want Pizza, I'm probably going to Nicky's though.

                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                            You know that Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza is a huge chain, right? If people like that sort of thing, that's cool with me....just letting everyone know! http://anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/loc...

                                            1. re: Jim Leff

                                              Anthony's is a big chain that was recently bought by the outback. they do have very good chicken wings and short ribs. the pizza is good as long as you eat it there. not good cold or reheated at home.

                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                I didn't know that they were a chain, but I wouldn't hold it against them. KFC is a chain and I can't think of any fried chicken I have had that I would say is head and shoulders above the rest. Even Zagat rated them the best in the country. I've actually had homemade southern fried chicken at a friends house and it was amazing. Still didn't come close to KFC. I've only had one better in my life to be honest and that was in Brooklyn in the 70's-80's called Regal's Roost

                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                  jhopp say it ain't so! all ur credibility just went down the tubes. popeyes is even better then kfc. want non-chain fried chicken? amy ruths in nyc, fireplace in nj (at least it used to be 10 years ago when I was last there), in Westchester the mt kisco coach diner although I like it with maple syrup on it is superior.

                                                  1. re: cubanat

                                                    Had the chicken and waffles thing once and don't get it. Syrup ruins the flavor of decent fried chicken. As for Popeye's...never had it but never heard anyone who has compare it to KFC

                                              2. re: jhopp217

                                                Nicky's is still closed after having a fire. And I gotta be honest, I always thought it served a thoroughly mediocre, overpriced slice.

                                                1. re: kdgchow

                                                  Wow, overpriced? Guess you haven't been there in a while. Pretty much $1 less per slice than almost everywhere I've been in the past two years.

                                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                                    Agreed (that they are not expensive at all) and their White pizza is the best. 1 slice and ur full & happy. That with an unsweetened iced tea and chili flakes for the slice. Also their corner sicilian is good.

                                                    1. re: cubanat

                                                      I love that they also have an agreement with O'Connors (which doesn't serve food) that you can call ahead and either walk over or they'll run it next door. I had a white, a regular and a pepperoni last time I was there....not all at once. One when I got there...one about two hours later and one on the way home

                                                    2. re: jhopp217

                                                      Hadn't been there in a while, but unless they dropped their prices recently, I paid $3 for a plain slice, which is more than Mario's Pizza across the street ($2.75 at last visit). And I thought Mario's plain slice was better than Nicky's, although I now think Mario's has gone downhill.

                                                      Never got a white slice from Nicky's, we'll have to agree to disagree on the regular slice. My larger point, unfortunately, is that the slice options in White Plains generally stink.

                                            2. Tarry Lodge in Port Chester makes a respectable pie in the style of Naples. Whole pies only and they're not cheap but I feel they're worth it. I like to sit at the marble bar, eat my Margherita pizza with a knife and fork when it's piping hot and wash it all down with a cold (Italian) beer.They also have takeout.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                The three cheese pizza there is excellent too!

                                              2. Agnello's in New City (across Tappan Zee bridge) has absolutely superb pizza.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: budinado

                                                  Do you get a discount for paying the toll?

                                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                                    I don't think so :). However, I was in NJ yesterday, and gas was a good dollar cheaper per gallon there, so maybe you could make up the difference that way!

                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      does anyone know when Nicky's is going to reopen?

                                                2. Believe it or not, I found the pizza at Mario's on Main Street in New Rochelle to be outstanding. Not a place to go sit i.e. ambiance, but they deliver piping hot. I ordered several pizzas for a school reunion and was happy with all varieties -- although I did not try the pepperoni or cajun chicken since I don't eat meat. The eggplant is divine and the mushroom had beautiful fresh mushrooms. Perfect ratio of sauce/toppings to cheese, good quality ingredients and nice medium thin chewy crust. If convenient to you, jhopp, would be interested in your opinion.
                                                  https://plus.google.com/1057907772916...

                                                  1. This is going to be completely random, because I've never seen this mentioned anywhere, but has anyone ever tried Palisades Pizza in Yonkers? I don't know the address, but it's on Palisades and Roberts. It's a neighborhood pizzeria, but it has the best New York style pizza I've had out here. If you're eve in the area, it's worth a visit. With one caveat, parking. There is street parking and a muni lot on Palisades and if you continue on Roberts, there's a huge private lot that everyone uses, but you might get locked in so there's that.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Kalee

                                                      I LOVE Palisades! Great pizza - good call! It totally slipped my mind. My friend and I picked up a pie from them a few months ago. So good.

                                                      1. re: rickrickwhat

                                                        I'm still a fan of Sal's in Mamaroneck (I know there's mixed views here on Sal's)...... and also like Frankie and Fanucci's in Mamaroneck (for wood-oven individual thin-crust pies).

                                                        1. re: rickrickwhat

                                                          We use Trio as our benchmark, too. About 10 years ago, we thought Amore in Scarsdale came pretty close, but it's too far for take-out for us. It inevitably arrives home cold. We've been getting by lately with ZaZa's 2 large pies with one topping each for $18.99. The olive topping is made of kalamatas and the mushroom topping has fresh button or portabellas sauteed in garlic. It ain't Trio, but it's satisfying.