Friday, December 08, 2006

A Few Slices of Heaven

Ok- I know I promised it could be done, so here it is: a list of my favorite pizzerias in the five boros. The list is separated by boro, but other than that, not in any particular order, just in the order I thought of them…. And one more thing… I know there are so many more places out there, really great places that I won’t mention here because I haven’t been there, so before you start telling me my list isn’t definitive, just understand… this list is really the only one you need! ‘Cause Johnny Tomatoes says so!!

New York (Manhattan, to the tourists)

La Traviata 101 W 68th St
(b/t Broadway and Columbus)

Great gas oven pizza; crust is crisp and soft in all the right spots; right amount of everything – cheese, sauce, toppings; speaking of toppings, this is the only place I know of that will make a pie with green olives, a huge favorite of mine; I used to cab it to this place when I moved just outside of the delivery zone-its that good

Delizia Pizzeria
1374 1st Ave
(b/t 73rd and 74th St)

Like Traviata, good gas oven pizza; nice crust and overall a repeater; great location on the East Side; nice antipasto salad, but that’s off topic…

Steve’s Pizza 110 Trinity Pl
(@Cedar St)

Love this place for it’s heavy slices; cheese, cheese, and did I mention cheese?; always way too hot on that first bite, but there’s no other way to eat it; working Downtown, this was one of my favorite post-Happy Hour stops- always hit the spot

The Bronx

Full Moon Pizzeria
600 E 187th St (@ Arthur Ave.)

This is my First “Place” from when I was a kid, back when it was the Half Moon and was a few doors down on 187th St; texture on this pie is unbelievable- perfect grit of semolina on the bottom and edge; Sicilian slice here buries everyone else in the traditional NY pizza world; crisp on bottom and a good coating of sauce and cheese lay on a pillow-like - no, make that a cloud-like layer of soft dough; pair it off with a Manhattan Special… man- it’s unbeatable

Louie and Ernie's
1300 Crosby Ave
(Pelham Bay)

Louie and Ernie's, wow- walking down those short stairs as a kid, I remember the smell hitting me and my stomach starts rumbling, even now; I have distinctive childhood memories about a great Sausage Pie from here,memories that were confimed and validated by The Hungry Cabbie:


Nick's Pizza
108-26 Ascan Ave
(Forest Hills)

Nice pizza; thin crust where the sauce can get a little soupy; great flavor though, with plenty of fresh basil

Ciro’s Pizzeria
11303 Beach Channel Dr
(Rockaway Park)

Great pizza; thin crust without flopping and getting sloppy; pretty standard, but memorable


J&A Pizza
7820 New Utrecht Ave
(@78th St)

Great pizza made by a father and son team; right at the base of the stairs to the train; great slices; always hot, always fresh; crust has a great taste; two slices and a soda here are a delicious way to ruin your appetite for dinner on the way home

1969 86th St

Great pie; great flavor, cheese, sauce and not too much grease; really good Sicilian too; one of the last places to not bow to conventional nutritional demands- you can still get a fried calzone here, but like the antipasto salad at Delizia, that would be off topic

19 Old Fulton St

A little bit of coalfired history here; great, great pizza; paper-thin crisp crust; FRESH MOZZ ONLY!! (what a shame- I HATE to see that); great sauce, very fresh; nice well-done, almost burnt edges give every pie a character of its own; lotsa fresh basil- all around a must have

L&B Spumoni Gardens
2725 86th St

No list of pizzerias in Brooklyn would be complete without this; the square here is definitely the star attraction; in a little twist, you’ll find the sauce over the cheese; the flavor is distinctive, nothing in any of the boro’s even comes close to the taste or the texture; it can be a little messy, so I always tried to get a slice with a “handle” ; this stuff is addictive; everyone said I was crazy for going all the way there to pick up a pie from 16th Ave and 82nd St, but there were just those times I had to have it; and there is no substitute once the L & B craving hits you

Staten Island

I don't make it out to Staten Island all that often for pizza, between the bridge hassle and all the great pizza so close to home... Anyone want to help me out?


Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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Marc said...

So what is the best pizza in the Bronx? We may be visiting Arthur Avenue in the coming months specifically for that reason.

Johnny Tomatoes said...

Marc- In the Bronx, either one I mentioned would be a winner, although if you are going to Arthur Avenue, The Full Moon is your best bet. In my youth, I remember making trips to Arthur Avenue with Mom or Gramma at least twice a month. There was always such a good feel to the place, and so much more than just the Pizza, although that was the only reason I went there on more than one occasion. (I could do a whole post on Arthur Ave; maybe I will after a quick visit...)
Try Addeo's (Hughes at Simeone Sq)for bread: a long seeded loaf, or a little round Pane di Casa (either one sliced in the shop), or on a Saturday visit, pick up a nice crusty lard bread- loaded with chunks of meat and a whole lotta flavor... Borgatti's on 187th St for fresh macaroni... Step into Delillo (next to the Moon)for an espresso and a sfogliatelle or a cannoli... Walk over to the retail market on Arthur Ave for fresh produce and of course a trip to Mike's Deli- say Hi to Dave for me- for some fresh Mozz (I love the Bocconcini with garlic and oil), maybe some stuffed hot peppers, and a sandwich or two to take home (who has room to eat anything at this point?)- I recommend the Towering Inferno or the Raging Bull... don't forget the riceballs and fried tomatoes (although they haven't had the tomatoes on the counter in years, even on my special request)... stop at Randazzo's (Arthur Ave) for some fresh shucked Littleneck clams on the half shell: cold, raw, and delicious... last stop on the way to the car should be Marie's (Arthur Ave, just off 187th St on the left side) for a pound of freshly ground coffee for the stovetop percolator espresso pot you bought in the retail market (did I forget to mention that?)... and if you need demitasse cups, you can get them here too.
By no means should you look at these suggestions and allow them to limit your spontaneity. Addeo's bread is addictive, so be sure to get a small "for the car" loaf or else you will find yourself munching on the loaf designated as the "dinner" bread...At DeLillo, let your nose lead you and be sure to try the ices; chocolate and lemon were both always my favorites... Far too many choices at Mike's to even approach that subject...and of course, the Pizza; be sure to try a few different kinds, but be sure one of them is the Sicilian.
Above all else, bear in mind that when in doubt, you should always err on the side of a little more rather than a little less: someone will always eat it. And if they don't, give me a call; I'll swing by and help you out.

Buon Appetito, and let me know how it goes.

Johnny T