It's tough to find two words more synonymous than New York and pizza. Sure, there's a lot more to The Big Apple than pizza and New York sure didn't invent the stuff but there is a definitive connection. How many times have you seen a sign heralding “New York-style Pizza?” These signs are always in other towns, of course. In New York, there isn't any other style of pie. It's all New York Pizza. It's thin-crusted and at its best certainly one of the best tasting foods on the planet.
Where to find the best one was one of the main preparatory tasks when getting ready to do my first real trip to New York City. I had been to The City numerous times over the years as I grew up not all that far away but I had never stayed in town and each visit was fleeting and often to attend some type of event. I had been exposed to John's Pizza by a local friend and had to admit it was one very tasty pie. Of course, any New Yorker (or any north-easterner for that matter) knows what you are talking about when you say the word pie, and that ain't apple, baby. John's has a couple of convenient locations but when doing my search it didn't seem to get quite the ratings of a couple other places so it came down to two to fight for the crown of Best of NYC pizza: Grimaldi's and Lombardi's. Two nice Italian names but what else would you expect? We're talking pizza here.
Grimaldi's is in Brooklyn so not exactly on the tourist map of the casual city visitor but since I wanted to walk across the iconic bridge on this trip, it made sense to drop by this local institution. I just didn't realize the rest of Brooklyn was going to do the same and was astounded by the line to get into the place. It did say in all accounts I read about the place to expect such a line but I didn't think it would actually be there during the week at what was a fairly early hour for dinner. We were starving but heading back into The City proper wasn't going to be any quicker so we joined what turned out to be a fast moving line and were in before we knew it. It was a very bustling joint, not in any way a quiet getaway or place for a first date unless of course you don't want to hear your new love's side of the dialogue. No matter as soon as you walked in it was the smell that was the attraction, not the cramped quarters or speakeasy ambiance.
Favorite Dish: The pies came out equally fast and were a gorgeous sight to behold: thin-crusted masterpieces of red tomato-based gravy and erratically placed splotches of white gooey mozzarella intermingled with the occasional green of basil. Friends dining with us made the cardinal sin of getting a topping on theirs and I do mean “theirs” as we were not sharing ours with them. How could you mess with such a beautiful combination of plain pie by putting something else on it? They are fairly inexpensive by NYC standards, clocking in at $14 for a large. They may look large but believe me it was just about enough to feed my wife and I though we were admittedly ravenous by the time it came piping hot out of their infamous coal-burning oven. It's this coal-burning heat that makes the crust so crispy but in no way dry and is the traditional NYC way to make a pie. They should know, they've been doing it here since 1905. Very cool place. Great pizza. If you're in Brooklyn, you should go. Why not walk over the Brooklyn Bridge while you're at it. It's a great way to see the city from a different vantage point and build up your appetite for a pie you'll not likely ever forget.
I have used the term "The Best ??? in New York" for a few restaurants, but if you use Zagat you know why. (Its not my opinion, it's theirs). AOL are now in on the act and given Grimaldis 2005 Best Pizza Award.
So, "The Best Pizza in New York" is not actually on Manhattan, but the other end of the Brooklyn Bridge. Called Grimaldis, its a pretty unassuming place, and were it not for the crowds of people outside waiting for a table, you would probably sail straight past.
Don't let the queues put you off. This place is managed like a well oiled machine, and I doubt you will wait more than 10mins for a table, even with a 10m queue. Anyway, theres a great view of downtown and Brooklyn Bridge to keep you occupied.
Pizzas are made to order in their coal-fired oven and will blow you away. Pay a basic price for the base, then add your own toppings.
I suggest taking a taxi to Grimaldis - so you don't have to find it - then afterwards, walk down towards the river to the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory (for dessert) before strolling back over Brooklyn Bridge for the best view of Manhattan you can experience. Alternatively, get the subway to Brooklyn Heights and stroll down Pierrepoint or Montague Street to the promenade work up an appetite, whilst looking at the greatest city scape in the world.
In a close 2nd place for Champion NYC Pizza is Patsys spread around various locations in Manhattan. Loosely connected to this place - as the informative paper place mats describe !
Favorite Dish: Three guesses DUMBO.
During my May 2005 trip, I set myself on the mission of finding the best New York-style pizza, and Grimaldi's wins my award! With a fantastic setting just under the Brooklyn Bridge, Grimaldi's is a no-nonsense, entertaining, casual but quality masterpiece of pizza places.
Favorite Dish: What else? The thin crust pizza! (See tips below.)
A small unassuming place that you would only know of through word of mouth or places such as VT, which is where I got the tip off for a good pizza place.
We went on a Sunday around 6.30, after a day out at Ellis Island. Took the subway to Brooklyn and walked towards the bridge.
Incredibly busy place but with friendly staff and very quick service this means you don't have to wait too long for a table. It's well worth the short wait anyway.
You can see you pizza being "thrown" and placed in the oven.
Favorite Dish: I think it must have beeen the 18 inch pizza!
I have been reliably informed that to make a good pizza you need a good oven.
They must have a great oven cos the pizzas are brilliant. Thin and crispy with as many toppings as you want or can afford.
The pizza's make your mouth water (even now 3 weeks later at 12 pm..). Although the pizza we ordered seemed too much for 2 we managed to eat it all (leaving the crust out of our calculation).
Favorite Dish: What shall i say.. pizza, pizza or pizza?
We caught the subway to Brooklyn with the intention of having a look around the waterfront district, having a late lunch and then walking the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. Well we were absorbed in sightseeing and it was about 4 pm when we stumbled upon the world famous Grimaldi's Pizzeria, thinking how lucky we were.
Then we saw the notices on the window, not open for lunch and No Slices.
Everywhere you go in NYC you see people buying pizza by the slice, but not so at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn.
This is THE famous Grimaldi's pizza at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge..well sort of at the foot. Take the ferry or the subway. You'll have to walk a few blocks if you take the subway. The line starts early and is long and slow because the place is small with not much seating. The tables are packed tightly and most are long tables where you might be rubbing elbows (literally) with a complete stranger. The place is loud. If you want to avoid the noise and want your pizza fast, skip the line and go right in and order at the counter. You will be given a number when you pay. Go outside and wait out front. In 15-minutes some guy comes out with your pie, (that's what we call it in NY, we don't call it a pizza..it's a pie), calling your number. Take the steaming bag and sit by the water. When you're done, turn around and go get a scoop of some fresh homemade ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory that is right across the street from Grimaldi's. Grimaldi's is not the best pizza in the city, but it's darned good. Once you have pizza in NY, you will not want pizza from anywhere else. Brick Oven, it's the only way to go.
****Another tip, you can only order an entire pie. There are no slices available. So be prepared to eat! NY pies are about 18" in diameter!
One of the things about Grimaldi's that won me over was the fact that all diners have a bird's eye view of the pies being made. The open kitchen in the back of the room is home to extremely busy chefs who spin the dough in the air and shove the pies into the coal oven on long wooden pallets. Very entertaining!
Favorite Dish: Thin-crust pizza!
Cozy place, many famous people came to eat their pizza, so if it was fabulous for them it should be for you too.
Favorite Dish: We ordered pizza with mushrooms, black olives, green peppers and it was one of best pizzas.
Originally called Patsy's, they changed the name when a chain of fakes with the same name opened a bunch of locations around Manhattan. Now Grimaldi's, this place is heaven for any pizza lover. Appropriate for anyone, especially families. It has a very homey atmosphere, with photos all over the walls and other friendly touches. But the most important thing for me to mention is that this is the most delicious pizza you will ever eat in New York. There are no slices, just whole pies. But trust me, you won't have any difficulty getting it all down. You'll be begging for more.
Favorite Dish: Margherita with black olives.
Fresh mozzarella slices, crushed tomoatoes (not sauce!), a delicious wood oven-toasted crust, and your choice of any toppings...that's why this is the best in New York, in my opinion, at least. :)
Note: no reservations taken here, so come early for dinner to avoid the lines, then stop at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory down the street for dessert!
Also note: Cash only!
Thin crust NY pizza and the best in Brooklyn. I have John's of Bleecker in 1st, Lombardi's in 2nd and Grimaldi's in 3rd.
Take the subway to Brooklyn Heights, check out the promenade, walk down to Lombardi's and eat (there may be a wait during the day on weekends) walk back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Favorite Dish: Large pie and soda.
A lovely little not so big pizza restaurant which served one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten.
When we arrived the restaurant was closed but we met a group of guys who informed us that Grimaldi's made the second best pizza in the world, the best place was Di Fara's but you wouldn't be able to get one there without a ridiculously long wait. They also told us that the queue here would be round the block very soon.
The service was very efficient, and possibly not the most friendly, but the ambience of the place was really nice, all the customers were very friendly which was just as well as the tables were close together.
A very enjoyable pizza and sure enough when we left there was a long queue already forming outside.
The lines out the door in this nostalgic pizzeria near the Brooklyn Bridge shouldn't be deterring as the line moves quickly. People out frount are friendly & that is part of the whole experience.
Favorite Dish: Wonderful thin crust pizza that is so fresh & wonderful.
Stood in 36 degree temps for over an hour. Imagine my releif when the pizza was everything and more that I had been told. Crisp coal fired crust, perfect toppings. My new favorite of all time.
Enjoyed the cold, windy walk back over the bridge to Manhattan more than the wind in my face walk to Brooklyn.