#2 Di Fara

March 2nd, 2016

Brooklyn, NYC

I don’t even know where to start talking about the pizza at Di Fara. I guess I’ll start by saying that this pizza deserves its #2 ranking. There is a reason why the lines can be 2 hours long to get a couple of slices.

We went out to Brooklyn early to get there right when they opened for dinner. We had heard some horror stories about how long the lines could get. We were pleasantly surprised, though, because there was no one there, which was probably a combination of a) it was a weeknight, b) it was raining, and c) it was early March. We walked in when they opened, ordered our pizza, and then sat at one of the tables in the back to wait for it. About 15 minutes later, we had this amazing pie sitting in front of us. We ate the whole thing.

 

 

 

Di Fara was opened back in 1964, and is still run by the original owners. Each pizza is still made by Domencio DeMarco, who is now quite old, and many of his family members work at the pizzeria as well. When he isn’t available, they close the pizzeria. The place only has seating for about 15 people (which contributes to the long lines). It has consistently been ranked on the best NYC pizza lists for years.

 
The pizza is incredibly fresh and had the perfect ratio of sauce:cheese. The cheese is a blend of mozzarella and cow’s milk cheeses, all imported from Italy. It is such a great combination of cheeses, probably bettered only by Pizzeria Beddia in Philly. They grow the basil in house, and DeMarco personally cuts it with scissors over the entire pie.

The pizzas are not cheap. Di Fara raised it’s prices for a slice to $5.00/slice in 2009, which made it the most expensive slice in NYC. This one large, plain, pie cost us $30.

Would we head all the way out to Avenue J for this pizza again? Yes. Would we pay $30 for one pizza again? Only if it’s Di Fara’s. And if anyone wanted to join us, don’t count on us sharing our pizza. WIth any luck, the next time we go it will also be early March and slightly rainy, so we can skip the lines again.

 

To visit:

Di Fara Pizza
1424 Avenue J
Brooklyn, NY 11230

 

#3 Roberta’s

February 10th, 2016

Brooklyn, NYC

If you ask anyone around NYC for their favorite pizza, Roberta’s always makes the list. That’s why we weren’t surprised to see it at #3 on the list by the Daily Meal. We had a gift card, so we were really excited to go and not have to spend more money on pizza, since it was our second pizza stop of the week. We were really pleased by how affordable this pizza is, considering the prices of other similar pizzerias in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

 

Roberta’s is very “Brooklyn”, in food and atmosphere. The restaurant is located in Bushwick, in the middle of a bunch of old warehouses. It is a decently long walk from the subway, and at first we were sure that we were heading in the wrong direction. Although it started out as a small restaurant with a small outdoor seating area, it has expanded drastically in recent years and now encompasses almost an entire block. It has a rooftop garden, an event space, an outdoor seating area complete with a tiki bar, and a bakery. It plays rock music and you sit at wooden tables or at the bar. There are no tablecloths and the seats are not comfortable. Also in true Brooklyn fashion, it tries to do everything in house (like growing their own ingredients for their menu items) and it has a total hipster vibe.

The pizza is great. Apparently, the other food on the menu is equally as good, and whatever is on special usually gets rave reviews. But we just ordered pizza because that is what we do, and we weren’t disappointed.

The crust is chewy and the cheese is fresh, but it is the flavor combinations that really put Roberta’s on the map. One of the most famous around NYC is the Bee Sting, which has soppressata and honey (spicy and sweet), which ranked near the top of the best pizza combinations in NYC. We didn’t get that one, though, and instead went with a traditional Margherita and one called the Li’l Stinker, which was topped with various cheeses, lots of garlic, onion, and pepperoncini peppers.

In case you don’t feel like waiting for a couple of hours for a seat here (especially if you come on a weekend night), you can get Roberta’s pizzas frozen from various stores around NYC. These frozen pies are baked in the wood-fired oven, and then blast-chilled. We can’t vouch for how good these are, or how similar they are to the fresh pies, but according to others, it tastes like you brought a pizza home from Roberta’s and heated it up in the oven the following day. So that’s pretty much what we’d expect.

We both ranked Roberta’s at #11 on our personal lists. We didn’t think it was quite good enough for top 10. Although, we have it currently marked as a place we’d like to go back to, preferably over the summer when we can sit outside and enjoy the Tiki bar with our pizza.

To visit:

Roberta’s
261 Moore Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206

#77 Pizza Moto

January 6th, 2016

Brooklyn, NY

Our first pizza of 2016 was at Pizza Moto, which is also tucked away in Brooklyn. Pizza Moto also serves Neapolitan-style pies in a back corner of Brooklyn, but they actually started serving pizzas from a food truck. After 8 years of serving from their mobile ovens, the owners and founders of Pizza Moto unearthed a hidden coal oven in this Brooklyn location where they are now based. The oven was originally for a bakery sometime in the mid-1800s, but had since been covered over and the storefront was previously operated by Papa John’s (among a few other owners).

The owners of Pizza Moto restored the oven to its original glory, but outfitted it as a wood burning oven instead of the traditional coal. We heard the story of the oven while attending a class on the NYC pizza scene (yes, we know we are super cool) that was hosted by the Brooklyn Brainery.

We also learned some other cool facts about Pizza Moto, including that they use mostly local and seasonal ingredients, and that their sourdough starter was started by yeast that was already naturally occurring in the restaurant (leftover from the original days as a bakery). The combination of the crust with its unique flavor and the fresh, seasonal toppings really made these pizzas stand out.

We tried two pies here. The first was a standard Margherita, as usual. The second was this mushroom and cheese white pie that you see in the picture above. We both agreed that the flavors of the cheeses on this pizza were some of the best we’ve tried. Actually, we still compare white mushroom pies to this one, even a year later. The pizzas are slightly larger than a traditional Neapolitan, which we appreciated.

      

If you try to get to Pizza Moto (and you should), don’t be worried that you are walking in the wrong direction. It really seems to be in the middle of nowhere. But the atmosphere inside is very farm-to-table (like the rest of Brooklyn) and we’d go back for these pizzas any day.

Pizza Moto was ranked in at #77 on the 2015 list from the Daily Meal, which we thought was probably because it was a newer establishment. We were surprised to find that it wasn’t listed at all in 2016, although we ranked it very high (#15 for Barb and #10 for Eric). You should definitely keep this one on your personal list (and Eric, we need to go back there!)

To visit:

Pizza Moto
338 Hamilton Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11231

#41 Rubirosa

December 9, 2015

New York, NY

Another old, classic, NYC establishment is Rubirosa, which is located right near our SoHo offices. Techically, it is located in Nolita, but we can’t keep track of which neighborhood is which, even after being there for a few years now. We took advantage of a not-too-cold December day last year to walk over for another pizza lunch date.

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It looks a little unimpressive from the outside, and we almost walked right by it. Inside, however, there was a great bar and old reclaimed wood tables. We had our choice of table, since we came for lunch. We should really keep track of how many times we show up to a pizza place and are the first ones there.

The pizzas are not exactly like the other traditional NY style pies you will find around, especially the slices. The crust here is thinner, and it generally tastes a little bit lighter. The family recipe made here originated in Staten Island in 1960, so in some ways it could be considered a NY classic.

 

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The most famous pie here is probably the vodka sauce pie, which is what we decided to split. We also split a small pie here, because the large pies were pretty pricey.

Rubirosa also has a decent food menu, unlike many of the other classic NY pizza places. The Italian food here gets rave reviews in general, as does the wine list. Unfortunately, we had to get back to work and couldn’t enjoy the wine list this time.

 

Having eaten this pizza, we’d like to go to the original Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island, where the recipe originated. For now, though, its nice to have this place just a short walk away, especially with the colder weather.

It’s also pretty amazing that Eric managed to keep that nice work shirt clean…

To visit:

Rubirosa
235 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012