Hitting my eye like a big pizza pie (and bagel)
June 2, 2006 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I am in NYC for the first time and I've done nearly everything that was on my list to do. The only things I am missing are a great slice of pizza (new york style, of course) and a bagel that will knock my socks off. For an added bonus, I'd like to do it on the cheap. I'm staying in Brooklyn, but the neighborhood isn't terribly important.
posted by nadawi to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Probably the best pizza in Brooklyn is at Grimaldi's (19 Old Fulton St. - Right under the Brooklyn Bridge).
posted by mattbucher at 7:54 AM on June 2, 2006

ditto the pizza.

for the bagel, go to bergen's bagels at flatbush ave and bergen st. Excellent.

Or if you want a view with your bagel, go to montague street, get a bagel from, oh I forget the name of the place, on the south side of the street, near keyfood, and take your bagel to the promenade.
posted by milarepa at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2006

Response by poster: I've been reminded by the best friend that our plans take us to Canal St. today...so any around that area as well?
posted by nadawi at 8:01 AM on June 2, 2006

I'm pretty fond of Aroma Bagels. Seems a little hard to find bad bagels in Brooklyn to be honest.

Peppino's in Bay Ridge has pretty great pizza. I have no idea how "new york style" comes into play here but regardless, great pizza.
posted by shownomercy at 8:02 AM on June 2, 2006

If you're on Canal St. be sure to drop in at Kam Man (200 Canal), a jaw-dropping collection of Asian food products.

And yeah, it's hard to go wrong with bagels. But once you leave the city, you'll never find that NYC bagel goodness again... until you return.
posted by languagehat at 8:06 AM on June 2, 2006

Best answer: The closest "perfect New York style" pizza to Canal Street would be Lombardi's, on Spring and Mott.

As for bagels in that area... the best I can recommend are going to take you several blocks north, David's Bagels on 1st avenue and 14th Street, or Ess-a-bagel, about 7 blocks north on 1st.
posted by saladin at 8:07 AM on June 2, 2006

Second Lombardi's - Hubby and I fly in from San Francisco just for their pizza! (well, and I also have family in the NY area, but if it wasn't for the pizza ...)
posted by Quietgal at 8:10 AM on June 2, 2006

Or if you want a view with your bagel, go to montague street, get a bagel from, oh I forget the name of the place, on the south side of the street, near keyfood, and take your bagel to the promenade.

Montague Street Bagels, though the sign simply says "Hot Bagels."

Or go to Ess-a-bagel on 1st Ave...

For pizza, note that Grimaldi's does not sell pizza by the slice, only by the pie. Try Patsy's on 1st Ave. btw 117-18th sts (the original only, not the Patsy's chain) or Di Fara on Ave. J in Brooklyn.
posted by andrewraff at 8:15 AM on June 2, 2006

Best answer: My suggestions are both in the Village, which wouldn't too far out of the way if you're going to be downtown anyway.

Pizza: I'm not a big fan of the Lombardi's style. The place I really like is John's Pizzeria on Bleeker, which only sells by the pie, not the slice. For good quick slices, Ben's Pizza on MacDougal and Joe's Pizza on Carmine are both close to John's and pretty good (though my last trip to Joe's was disappointing).

Bagels: I get fucking angry just thinking about this, so here's my warning to you: Ess-A-Bagel (and Murray's Bagels) won't toast the bagel for you. I fucking hate that. I like Bagel Bob's--very good bagels and they'll happily toast it for you.
posted by mullacc at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2006

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Grimaldi's cash only?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Only get pizza at these places if you're with a bunch of people. NY pizza: first slice scalding, second lukewarm, rest ice cold-- because of the thin crust. Miceli's in LA puts a candle under the pizza stand, but I have yet to see any place that does that here.
posted by brujita at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2006

Dude(tte): Absoute Bagel is what you want. It's on the UWS (my neighborhood), at about 110th and Broadway. They only take cash.
posted by bingo at 8:37 AM on June 2, 2006

I grew up in the village. Absolute best pizza in the entire city is Joe's on Carmine (used to be at the corner of Bleeker and Carmine, but it moved down the street).
posted by zia at 8:40 AM on June 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

I always have and enjoy many slices of real pizza when I visit NYC. Last trip (just a couple weeks ago) I tried Joe's on Carmine and I gotta tell you their pizza is the best ever -- I had to go back. (It's at the 4th St subway station.)
posted by Rash at 8:41 AM on June 2, 2006

I can't top these pizza recommendations, but here's some other food ideas:

Since you're in Brooklyn, Greenpoint Coffee House does a wonderful, simple brunch. I try to go every time I'm in NYC.

Crif Dog defies description. If New York is most famous for pizza, hot dogs should be second.
posted by clango at 8:44 AM on June 2, 2006

Since you're going to Chinatown, get bagels from the nearby Kossar's Bialys on Grand St. But go early, because they are kosher and close early on Fridays for the Jewish sabbath.

Then follow it up with very non-kosher and totally amazing fried dumplings (5 for a buck!!) from the dumpling place on Eldridge St. just above Grand in Chinatown. And put down an extra $1.25 for a sesame pancake with beef - a large slice of focaccia-like Chinese flatbread, stuffed with roast beef, pickled vegetables, cilantro and hoisin sauce. Utterly delicious.

posted by huskerdont at 8:50 AM on June 2, 2006

Not pizza or bagels, but while in the Chinatown area, I would suggest getting bubble tea. Personally I have only been to Tearrrific(sp), but the jumble taro milk tea with pearls sounds great today. Oh, and the green tea mochi. It's on Mott, I believe. Just around the corner from the Haagen Daaz.
posted by bastionofsanity at 8:51 AM on June 2, 2006

The ONLY slice of pizza in New York: From Stromboli, on 8th and (I think) 1st Ave.

Just get a slice of cheese. Maybe a Sicillian, if you're feeling up to it. As with all NY pizza, stay away from the California-ized crap. No BBQ chicken slices. Nothing with anything GREEN on it. Just. Cheese.

Old school.

And for a bagel? I always liked Bagels On The Square, right by the W4th subway stop. And they're open 24 hours!
posted by ImJustRick at 8:54 AM on June 2, 2006

Response by poster: Man...now I want to stay in NYC for another week just to get to all these places. Huskerdont: as far as fried dumplings...any chance there's a vegetarian option?
posted by nadawi at 9:08 AM on June 2, 2006

Oooh! New York Pizza Fight!

In my opinion (IANApizzamaker) Di Fara's in Brooklyn has the tastiest slices in the city. Grimaldi's only sells whole pizzas, which are good but not as good as Di Fara's. Lombardi's pizza is as good as Di Fara's, but they only sell whole pies. John's on Bleeker is so-so. Joe's on Carmine is next on my list, from what I have read above. Patsy's is too far away for you, but also good. I thought that place at St. Marks and 1st avenue was good until I went to all these other places for pizza.

But don't take my word for it. Read about it all at SliceNY.com, a blog devoted to pizza in New York.

As for bagels, I ate too many in college and haven't touched them in years. But I hear good things about Kossar's.

Cheap and cool burger experience: Burger Joint. It's almost as cool as Ninja New York!
posted by billtron at 9:17 AM on June 2, 2006

Best answer: A few points
There are two different types of Pizza everyone is talking about here.

The Coal-Oven thin crust stuff at Grimaldi's, Patsy's (only 116th st), Lombardi's, Tottonnos. Classic NY, but uncommon. Can't build new Oven's anymore. I love it. Think Patsy's is the best, but can see why people disagree. This is all about the ultra thin crust cooked very quickly very lightly toppped with high quality ingredients.

But your concept of real NY pizza maybe about the cheese, the toppings, and a slightly thicker crust. I actually prefer this type. Most of the names mentioned above are this style. In my opinion DiFara is absolutly incomparable in this class. Especially in the round pie category. I would indeed be interested to hear the opinion of someone who has been to DiFara and maintains a differene pizza place OF THIS STYLE is better. Plus as a non-NYer it will be quite the experience. Sort of a case study in how outer borough neighborhoods have changed over time. Its know in the middle of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. Something tells me his square pie sauce made with a hunk of pork is not a big seller to the locals.

John's on Carmine is hands down the best late night slice place in Manhattan.

Bagels - once again a choice. Traditional smaller harder maltier bagels or big softer sweeter bagels. You pick. I prefer the first type, and run with Murray's. But I have no where near the depth of knowledge of bagels that I do with Pizza.
posted by JPD at 9:27 AM on June 2, 2006

I lived around the corner from Huskerdont's dumpling place (Dumpling House Number 1) until yesterday, and they do have 8 steamed vegetable dumplings for $2, or you could get a sesame pancake without the beef, and it might be ok, but man, I have yet to have a dumpling like their fried dumplings.
posted by jrb223 at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2006

oh wait! Now I remember! Joe's on Carmine, that just moved! It's the one where Peter Parker worked at the beginning of Spiderman 2! I have eaten there. So-so.
posted by billtron at 9:38 AM on June 2, 2006

Second ImJustRick for Stromboli on 8th St and 1st Ave. I live a couple blocks away from there and have to restrain myself from getting a slice every time I walk past.
posted by gaspode at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2006

JPD is absolutely right about the differences in what consitutes a "New York" style pizza. However, I disagree on his second recommendation; for big, floppy, greasy, delicious by-the-slice pizza, Rosario's, on Orchard and Stanton, is in-fucking-comparable. Makes John's taste like ketchup soaked cardboard.
posted by saladin at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2006

mullacc - Did you grow up in NY?
I've had this argument repeatedly with non NY people. I'm under the impression that people who grew up in the City or the 'burbs only toast bagels that are a little old. They never toast a good fresh bagel.

Though I am sure the real reason is that they can turn over the line quicker.
posted by JPD at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2006

My slice recc is DiFara. John's is so-so at 3PM. At 3AM different story. Will have to try Rosario's however.
posted by JPD at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2006

I'll avoid the pizza war and just put a second vote in for Absolute Bagels on the UWS.
posted by minimal at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2006

The coffee stand dude at the northeast corner of 54th and 6th in Mahnattan will give you a bagel with cream cheese and a small coffee for $1.75. The bagels are excellent.
posted by nyterrant at 10:32 AM on June 2, 2006

JPD: Fuck no, I grew up in AZ. Once a bagel has reached room temperature, I need it toasted so that it's warm and the cream cheese melts a little.
posted by mullacc at 10:51 AM on June 2, 2006

They never toast a good fresh bagel.

And why would anyone want to toast a good fresh bagel? A fresh, warm bagel is pure heaven. When you toast a fresh bagel, somewhere a kitten cries.

Stromboli makes a good slice, but I don't understand Stromboli-worship. There are lots of good slices in NYC.
posted by languagehat at 10:51 AM on June 2, 2006

Many of the suggested joints are good. I prefer Ess-a-bagel for the bagels and Johns on (278) Bleecker for the pizza.
posted by safetyfork at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2006

Add Sac's in Astoria (a quick hop on the N train, three blocks down from the Broadway stop) SliceNY likes it. It's a good balance between the two kinds of pizza described above. Then wander around the old school new york neighborhood and hit a greek place like Aliada or Uncle Nick's for dinner.
posted by softlord at 1:08 PM on June 2, 2006

Joe's moved? I've been away for too long! (Here's another vote for Joe's, Lombardi's, Ess-a-Bagel (they make a great black-and-white cookie, too (unless I'm thinking of Pick-a-Bagel))).
posted by Sinner at 2:22 PM on June 2, 2006

Add Sac's in Astoria

Yes! When my wife and I felt like pizza back in our Astoria days, we just called Sac's and waited for the goodness to be delivered. Another great Astoria recommendation (if they're still there): Balkh Shish Kabab House (23-10 31st St., 718-721-5020). We still long for their green sauce. And they deliver!
posted by languagehat at 2:50 PM on June 2, 2006

Una Pizza Napoletana (tragically, by the pie only). Stromboli's and Rosario's reputations rest partly on a secret - and delicious - ingredient, their proximity to many popular watering holes.
posted by liam at 6:00 PM on June 2, 2006

You've received very good advice about pizza and bagels.

But please don't leave town without getting a pastrami sandwich at Katz's Delicatessen. East Houston (HOW-ston) Street at Ludlow in Manhattan.
posted by enrevanche at 4:27 AM on June 3, 2006

Response by poster: Enrevanche...i would, but i don't eat meat.
posted by nadawi at 6:15 AM on June 3, 2006

Response by poster: We went to Joe's, Ben's, and Lombardi's.

Lombardi's won hands down. Ben's white pizza makes me sad that no one in texas can replicate that feat. Joe's was a disappointment.

I forget where we got bagels but they were freaking tasty.

See the pizza for youself.
posted by nadawi at 8:43 PM on June 7, 2006

A little late in the day, but on the basis of this thread I dragged my family to Lombardi's as part of our trip to NY this past weekend. And Lombardi's was ... OK. The crust, crisp but chewy, was excellent, as one might expect. The sauce and toppings were not. A pepperoni and sausage pie was teh suck, and a onion and roasted pepper pie, while better, was still unremarkable. I'm glad I went for the history, but I'll not be back. Next we test Grimaldi's.

Katz's pastrami was excellent, tho. But I knew that already.
posted by mojohand at 9:01 PM on June 12, 2006

Response by poster: Mojohand...

I loved the sauce and I did a plain cheese/mushroom. the pepperoni i saw looked unimpressive, but i'm hardly a judge on that anymore. i can see that toppings may have been disappointing but i'm a simplistic kind of pizza girl.

good luck with grimaldi's.
posted by nadawi at 8:56 PM on June 13, 2006

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