#88 Sofia Pizza Shoppe

November 13th, 2017

Manhattan, NYC

We have been to Sofia Pizza Shoppe a couple of times now. It is super inconvenient to get to via subway from our offices, but worth it for the slices every time. Our first trip up here was probably around 6 months ago.  The small restaurant just opened in 2016.

It must be hard to open a new slice shop in NYC. For a city that has such ingrained pizza traditions and so many famous slice joints, it is really surprising (and amazing!) that a newcomer like Sofia Pizza Shoppe could open its doors and make it on to the 2017 Daily Meal list while primarily selling no-frills, traditional NY slices. It just goes to show that location is everything – it is really hard to find a decent slice in this area of Midtown.

The other reason that Sofia Pizza Shoppe got so famous? The DoughDici. The best way to get food-famous in NYC is to create something outrageously expensive that everyone will want to instagram. A $38 pizza available only a few days during the week that you have to buy tickets for? I think that fits the bill exactly.

There’s been some debate on if the DoughDici is worth the money. We bet it probably is. It is a style of pizza all its own: a 2 inch, fluffy crust, topped with sauce and cheese, with a crusty edge reminiscent of Detroit-style pizzas. The crust is cold-fermented for 3 days and then risen in the pan for 12 hours to get the super-tall rise. Honestly, we’d love to try it, but after our previous experiences with pizza ticket buying (cough..Margot…cough) we didn’t (and still don’t) feel like trying to fight our way in.

So, while we can’t say how good the DoughDici is, we can talk about the rest of the slices here. The first time we came we tried a variety of slices, including the spinach dip slice, which is a bit more spinach-y than the spinach artichoke slice at Artichoke, and is slightly less filling (although maybe just because it is a little bit smaller).

This time, we tried a classic slice, a Sicilian, and our new favorite slice, the upside down. They were all really solid NY slices. Our favorite upside-down slice is still from NY Pizza Suprema, but this one was really good.

Between the two of us, we had 5 slices. The lady sitting next to us said that she’d be impressed if we could eat all of them. She obviously didn’t know us.

While we won’t usually take the trip up to get slices here, we’d highly recommend it if you are in the area.

Also, if you want to get tickets to try a DoughDici and want to invite company, we’d be thrilled to join you.

To visit:

Sofia Pizza Shoppe
989 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Six of our favorite NYC pizzas NOT on the list

As we’ve been tackling the Daily Meal list, we’ve been accumulating a list on the side of other NYC pizza places that have gotten good reviews, either from other “Top NYC Pizza” lists around the internet, or personal recommendations from friends and family. Currently, our “other list” has about 20 pizzerias around NYC that we still would like to hit, but here I’ll highlight a couple that we’ve been to in the past year that we feel could be on any list.

  1. Franny’s

Franny’s is out in Brooklyn, and we ended up going there one night when we had plans to head down to J&V Pizzeria. If you remember my previous post, we got frustrated with various subway delays and got off earlier in Brooklyn, not too far from Franny’s. Franny’s has gotten a lot of press since it opened in 2013, and is found on most “Best Of” NYC pizza lists that we’ve seen. We split two pizzas here, one Margherita and one white pie with garlic and hot peppers. Both were good, and we would have also tried an appetizer if everything wasn’t priced so high. Also, you get to cut your pizza here with scissors. They really make you work for your dinner.

To visit:

Franny’s
348 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11238

 

2. Sottocasa

Sottocasa is also in Brooklyn, although they also have a location in Harlem. We first heard about it when we went to that pizza discussion night at the Brooklyn Brainery, where the owner of Sottocasa, Luca Arrigoni, told us all about his adventures starting the Neapolitan pizzeria, including a fascinating story of how they dropped the oven in to the backyard of the restaurant using a crane originally going to be used to lift an airplane at JFK, after flying it over from Naples (the things you must do for TRUE Neapolitan pizza!). They couldn’t get it through the door. Here, we also split two pies, one Burrata and the Parmigiana, which had tomatoes, eggplant, and spicy sausage. They were both awesome. If you are huge Burrata fans (like we are), you should know they only serve that pie from Friday-Sunday, so plan accordingly. Also, this is a great date-night spot.

To visit:

Sottocasa
298 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201

3. Juliana’s

Juliana’s is the third Brooklyn pizzeria we are going to mention here, and then I’ll move on to Manhattan. If you’ve ever been to Grimaldi’s, you may have noticed a second pizzeria right next door. Well, that one is Juliana’s  and if you don’t feel like waiting in line at Grimaldi’s, the pizza here is also very good (although I can’t guarantee that there won’t also be a line here). Juliana’s is named after Patsy Grimaldi’s mother, and it is a less-touristy version of Grimaldi’s. It has actually been listed as the best slice in NY before as well, but not by the Daily Meal. We went with a traditional pie here, which certainly could have been on any “Best pizza” lists.

To visit:

Juliana’s
19 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

4. Marta

Moving on to a few good pizzas in Manhattan, we went up to Marta one evening after work.  This was another pizzeria that has gotten a lot of good press. It was a little difficult to find, because it is actually in the lobby of an old hotel, but the actual restaurant was very spacious. It also looked like it had a nice bar, although it wasn’t too crowded when we were there because we went a bit on the earlier side for dinner. This isn’t traditional NY-style pizza. Instead, the pizzas are very thin crust. We got the Mercato and the Carciofi, which had artichokes and garlic bread crumbs. If you like thin crust pizza, you should check this place out. And we also highly recommend the butternut fries to start.

  

To visit:

Marta
29 E. 29th Street
New York, NY 10016

5. Patrizia’s

Patrizia’s is famous on instagram for their star shaped “Stella” pies. We admit it, we went purely for the photo. But we’d go back again for the pizza, because it was really good. They have other locations in Brooklyn and around NYC, but we went to the location right in Manhattan. We got my sister to join us for pizzas (and wine), so we ordered a Margherita, one with a bunch of veggies, and Eric got one of the sausage pizzas. They were all very tasty. We were too full to eat a dessert pizza there, so they kindly made us two Nutella pizzas to go. We reheated one when we got home in the oven, and it satisfied our chocolate craving for sure.

 

To visit:

Patrizia’s of Manhattan
462 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016

 

6. Bleecker Street Pizza

Finally, we want to mention one of our go-to slices places, Bleecker Street Pizza. We like these slices almost as much as Williamsburg Pizza, and Bleecker is ever closer to our office. It is actually right near Joe’s, and in our opinion, the slices are even better here. It is slightly different than your traditional NY slice because it has a thinner crust, but they always have a decent selection of pies to choose from for a quick lunch break. It’s tight inside, but if you go when it is nice out they also have a few small tables out front. When we just went back there for lunch, we grabbed a fresh cheese slice right from the oven, a buffalo chicken slice for  Eric, and two slices of the almost-Sicilian, the Nona Maria, which is our new favorite slice here. If you are wandering around Bleecker street, we’d recommend stopping here AND at Joe’s, just for the comparison.

To visit:

Bleecker Street Pizza
69 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014

Let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites!

Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria

January 2, 2016

Staten Island, NY

Happy New Year!

We started out 2017 with a pizza place not on either Daily Meal list, but one that has been on our personal NYC pizza bucket list for a little while now, Joe & Pat’s. You may remember my previous post from Rubirosa where I mentioned a particular “family recipe originating in Staten Island”. Well, to be more specific, that recipe originated at Joe & Pat’s.

Monday was a recovery day from New Year’s, and we both had off from work. It was raining and pretty nasty outside, but we didn’t want to spend the whole day indoors.

Eric had the idea to head back to Staten Island and get some pizza. I actually never thought that we would have another excuse to drive back to Staten Island, but we did have Joe & Pat’s on our list. It is too bad there isn’t more to do on Staten Island because it is a nice, easy drive from our house. Much easier than driving into the city or into Brooklyn.

We got to the pizzeria and decided to just order a bunch of slices. The slices are thin crust, not like your traditional NY slice, but they were extremely similar to Rubirosa. We almost tried a vodka slice to compare to Rubirosa’s vodka slice, but we ended up going with one plain slice, two white ricotta slices, and one sicilian (for Eric).

Overall, the slices were good, but the cheese slice was a little floppy and greasy. The white slices could have been a little warmer, but we give the sauce and cheese decent marks. I bet if we had ordered a whole pie instead it would have held up a bit better.

We left still a little hungry. Our days of getting full on two thin slices are long gone. We considered getting a couple more slices, but we ended up going for ice cream instead. We stopped at Egger’s Ice Cream parlor, which made some good homemade ice cream, and was just over a mile away.

 

We ended our Staten Island outing with a movie. We’ve had a few Regal movie gift cards sitting around for a couple of years now, and there don’t seem to be any Regal theaters around us in NJ. So we were excited to see a theater in Staten Island that took them! It ended up being a great, rainy start to the New Year, although I’m not sure we’ll be back to Staten Island again any time soon

      

We’re looking forward to many more pizza adventures in 2017!! And be sure to keep reading to hear about the rest of our 2016 trips!

To visit:

Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria and Restaurant
1758 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314

#29 Speedy Romeo

December 28th, 2016

Brooklyn, NY

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

We ended our 2016 with one last pizza stop from the 2016 list, Speedy Romeo. The city was so quiet this week, so we took advantage of the easy commuting and made our way over to Brooklyn after work. It was such a nice walk over from the office in SoHo across the Manhattan Bridge, although it was kind of a long walk (about 1.5 hours). Eric didn’t feel like walking, so he took the subway and just met me there 🙂

Speedy Romeo is on most of the “Best NY Pizzas” lists that we see circulating (like this one) but it didn’t make the 2015 list for some reason. The Daily Meal made up for that by ranking it pretty high on this years’. What makes Speedy Romeo unique and not just “another Brooklyn pizza place” is that they cook EVERYTHING over a wood flame. Not just the pizzas, but also the rest of the menu, including ribs, steaks, and wings. We didn’t get to try any of those (we were obviously there for the pizza) but we have read some rave reviews.

The pizzas certainly did not disappoint. Most of the pies are made with Provel cheese, which is very traditional for St. Louis-style pizza. Eric (and the Daily Meal) kept calling it “provolone” and needed to be reminded that they are not the same. We ended up with a Margherita and a pizza called the Kind Brother, which was a white pie topped with wild mushrooms, an egg, smoked mozzarella, and finished with a good sized handful of fresh sage.

We really liked these pies, but the mushroom and sage are both very strong on the Kind Brother. We’d recommend that you only order this one if you really like those flavors. The margherita pie had the perfect sauce-to-cheese ratio and the crust held up really well and was light and doughy. We also liked the pickled peppers that they give you on the side.

By this time, we have to conclude that Brooklyn makes some pretty awesome Neapolitan-style pies. We’d rank Speedy Romeo slightly above Motorino but we didn’t think that it is as good as Roberta’s or Pizza Moto. The location is great, though. It’s not too far from Emily, and its a bit more spacious inside, so it would be a great second choice if there is too much of a wait for the Emmy Burger.

Eric was very happy that I didn’t make him walk back to Manhattan afterwards.

To visit:

Speedy Romeo
376 Classon Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

#35 Denino’s

December 27th, 2015

Staten Island, NY

The 2015 list had two pizza places located out on Staten Island. We hit the first one early on in our journey, since it is much quicker to drive into Staten Island from NJ than driving out to Brooklyn or Queens. Denino’s is the second pizzeria on the list, and it is ranked slightly higher, at #35.

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Denino’s originally opened as a tavern on Staten Island in the late 1930’s, and started making pizzas in 1951. We heard the sausage here was worth trying, so we split a pie with half sausage, half plain.  The sauce is a bit sweeter than some of the other NYC pies, and the crust is a bit softer than your typical brick oven.

After trying out these two Staten Island pizzerias, we are definitely able to discriminate a Staten Island pie from a NY slice. We can understand why people like this pizza if they grow up with it, but something about it seemed to be lacking compared to your typical NY-style pie.

We thought maybe it was the crust, which is a different texture and slightly crispier, or the sauce, which was a tad too sweet for us, or possibly the cheese, which wasn’t actually very flavorful. We did think it had the edge over Lee’s Tavern, though. Neither one of us ranked it very high on our personal lists, but so far it is the best Staten Island pizza we’ve had.

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Anyone else know any other places on Staten Island that we should hit? We’d be interested in comparing a few more.

To visit:

Denino’s
524 Port Richmond Ave
Staten Island, NY 10302

 

 

 

 

 

#56 Lee’s Tavern

December 13th, 2015

Staten Island, NY

We’ve been in NJ for a couple of years now, and we’ve been all around New York City, except for Staten Island. We were talking on our drive out to Lee’s Tavern about this, and we both were wondering what we could do on Staten Island aside from eat pizza. (We couldn’t come up with anything, but we’d be interested to know if you have any fun things to do on Staten Island the next time we go there for pizza.)

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Lee’s Tavern is one of two pizza places on Staten Island that made the 2015 list. It’s primarily known as a family and community bar, although the pizza always gets mentioned in “Best of NYC” lists. I don’t think I’d call it one of the best in NYC, although Eric has ranked this higher on his list.

The consensus is to order the clam or the pepperoni here so we ended up trying the white clam and then also a veggie to round it out. The crust is pretty thin, kind of similar to Rubirosa. The toppings were OK. The veggies weren’t cut very small, so it was a little difficult to eat. As for the clam, well, if you’ve tried a New Haven clam pie, you won’t be very impressed. We were happy to try something different, though.

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Another thing that didn’t sell us here was the service. If you are a regular here or part of the town, you may be actually greeted and seated when you walk in. We walked in, waited a bit for them to even notice that we were looking for a table, and then waited way too long to get our pizza. It wasn’t even that it was crowded (you can see behind me in the photo that there are empty tables!) The family next to us offered to sell us one of their slices, for $10. We must have looked extra hungry.

To visit:

Lee’s Tavern
60 Hancock Street
Staten Island, NY 10305

#98 Artichoke Basille

November 24th, 2015

Manhattan, NYC

Another lunchtime stop within walking distance of our office. Artichoke Basille has several locations around Manhattan, including the East Village, Chelsea, and Astoria, but we hit the location in Greenwich Village. It opened in 2008 and is famous primarily for its artichoke slice, which really is unlike anything that you’ve ever had.

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Obviously, we had to try the artichoke slice, which really should be an entire meal on its own. It has artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella, and pecorino romano, and is very heavy. I probably had one bite and then passed the rest off to Eric. We couldn’t just stop there, though, and we also had to order the margherita, pepperoni, and meatball parm slices.

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We thought these were decent slices. The crust was pretty sturdy to hold all those toppings (especially the artichokes) and the slices were the biggest that we had in NYC. They weren’t cheap though, each slice was about $5! When you can get dollar slices in NYC, its hard to justify spending that much here. Although, one slice will be enough to fill you up (unless you have giant stomachs like we do), and $5 for lunch in Manhattan really isn’t bad at all.

To visit:

Artichoke Basille
111 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012