Tag Archives: Pizza

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

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

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

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

My first post on this site was for the still excellent pizzeria Kesté. This year they expanded big time with locations in both Williamsburg and the Financial District. And they also got a little fancier with a few new appetizers that were not available at the original Bleecker Street location. Since the pizza has already made my list in year’s past, I have to rave about this amazing little play on arancini. It is a rich ball of spaghetti with bits of ham, peas, and mozzarella. The original Italian fried mac and cheese. Price: $3.50

KESTÉ
77 Fulton Street (at Gold Street)
Financial District
(212) 693-9030
232 North 12th Street (between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(917) 909-1183
kestepizzeria.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

Pasquale Jones is certainly not the first business to put clams on a pizza, but they have done justice to the tradition started at places like Lombardi’s and New Haven’s Frank Pepe. The hipster chefs here run an expert wood-fired oven crisping the sides to a nice charred pillow. This homage is richer than most with heavy cream standing in for mozzarella. Plump tender clams are plentiful playing beautifully with the bright lemon, garlic, parsley, and chopped broccoli rabe. Price: $24

PASQUALE JONES
187 Mulberry Street (at Kenmare Street),
Nolita
(917) 472-7230
pasqualejones.com

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

The students at Fordham University in the Bronx are luckier than most college kids. Not only are they steps away from the most densely populated authentic Italian food mecca in NYC (Arthur Avenue), but they also get to have Pugsley as their local pizza joint.

I stopped by one day on my way back to the Metro North train from Arthur Avenue (where I often give food tours). I had heard about Pugsley and felt like I needed to find the best pizza in the area (look for other reviews to come soon) so that means it was my duty to check it out. (more…)


Category: Pizza

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