My search for the best pizza in New York continues….

Of all the pizza options along Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Mario’s might be the most interesting. And not just because it was featured in the book The Godfather. When you step inside the restaurant you are immediately transported to another time and another place. And whether you are here for a casual solo lunch or a family reunion, the white tablecloths, dessert carts, and dramatic decor make you feel like this is a special occasion.

And nothing about this makes me think of pizza. It’s barely on the menu (hidden in the appetizer section) and the neighboring tables have overflowing plates of penne ala vodka or eggplant rollatini. Not a pizza in sight.

Thankfully I had done some research and I discovered not only did Mario’s first start as a pizzeria in 1919, but it is considered the best pizza in the neighborhood by some in-the-know circles.

You know me, I like to be in the know, so I came in one day to order the appetizer pizza. A large pie was also available I was informed, but this was actually my third meal of the day and I didn’t want to leave any over.

Nothing about the visuals of this mini-pizza struck me as impressive. Aside from a scattering of basil, if I had ordered a pizza at the roller skating rink in 1987, it very well could have looked identical to the one at Mario’s. It did not look like what I expect at a restaurant with white table cloths like this one.

But it was certainly much better than roller skating rink pizza (at least from my memory of the roller rink stuff). The crust was great – very crisp and with an impressive char. Just like a bowl of pasta, the waiter came over and topped my pie with parmesan which was a nice touch.

Perhaps the best part of the pie was the red sauce (Mario’s is definitely what you would call a red sauce joint). Bright and tangy with bits of pepper, it was a nice foil to the hot buttery cheese.

If anything, this meal proves that looks can be deceiving. I never would have guessed some of the best pizza in Arthur Avenue would be served at a fancy restaurant while looking like a cheap after school pie but tasting like the real deal. The Godfather himself would be proud.

Is Mario’s Restaurant the best pizza in NY? It looks much better than it looks and it gets an 8 out of 10 not just because it’s a surprising fun environment but also because it tastes really good.

MARIO’S RESTAURANT
2342 Arthur Avenue (between East 186th Street and Crescent Avenue),
Belmont, Bronx
(718) 584-118
mariosarthurave.com

Category: Pizza

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

Sometimes I worry that this blog gets repetitive. Sure, I write about pizza, dumplings, and bagels over and over again. That’s the point. But I’m talking more about the Dish of the Week each Thursday. And maybe it says more about the food scene in NYC. How many more ramen noodles or smoked fish dishes can I write about?

But I can guarantee (without even doing an official search through the archives) this is the very first time I’ll be writing about a dish where the star of the show is kohlrabi. (more…)


My search for the best beer in New York continues….

This has all happened so fast. Regrettably, I have slacked off on staying up to date with the newest breweries opening in the city. And while I think I have some pretty good excuses (a new baby in my life), they have started opening at high speed.

When I started writing about local beer back in 2012, I decide to include breweries from Long Island and just north of the city since there were not quite enough to fill these spaces with NYC breweries alone. Well times have certainly changed.

In those five years we have more than tripled our brewery count. As of this writing, I believe there are 36 breweries across the five boroughs. And while I’ve been to at least half of them, it’s gotten harder and harder to keep up. Excuses, excuses. (more…)


Category: Beer

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

Chef Dan Kluger has a way with vegetables. He garnered lots of praise for his vegetable mastery at ABC Kitchen, which has become one of the trendiest NYC veggie-centric restaurants. And now he has his own place in Greenwich Village called Loring Place.

And just to be clear, these are not vegetarian restaurants. In fact Loring Place gets as much attention for their burger and roasted short rib as they do for their brussels sprouts pizza and leek & pear salad.

But there’s on question when dining at Loring Place, you want to make sure you eat your vegetables.

(more…)


Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

You might see posts on this blog about Shake Shack or Dos Toros even though they have become pretty recognizable chain restaurants. But they started in good old New York City and we still claim them as our own. Of course you will never see posts about McDonald’s or Chik-Fil-A on this blog. I don’t want to contribute to the chain-ifcation of New York. We have more and more of these businesses around the city and less and less of the local spots that make the city unique and diverse.

But I feel ok writing about places like Ikinari or Tim Ho Wan. They are chains that began in another country and their introduction to New York seems new and exciting. Until they start expanding to every neighborhood, I feel ok about it.

I knew Little Sheep was a restaurant that started with locations in China and one in Queens. What I didn’t know is that they now have 39 locations in North America. Everywhere from Seattle to Chicago to Houston. Spreading the hot pot love. (more…)


My search for the best pizza in New York continues….

One of the newest tours I give is a food tour up on Arthur Avenue, which any New Yorker will tell you is the real Little Italy. The Bronx neighborhood is densely populated with traditional Italian bakeries, cheese shops, butchers, and amazing restaurants. In fact, I’ve been trying to work my way through all the red sauce joints and I realized there must also be incredible pizza up here.

So my journey has been reignited specifically up in the Bronx. There will be a number of reviews in the coming weeks of the pizza options in and around the neighborhood of Belmont. (more…)


Category: Pizza

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