Time Out New York has published a list of their top 25 pies in the city. Though I usually go with the classic, traditional pies (be it margherita, “regular,” “plain,” etc.) I do love some specialty ones as well. Check this out for some great suggestions!
Upon realizing that several of the pizzerias on my list were in Astoria, I decided to organize my own pizza tour! Naturally, I dragged along Scott and made him suffer (joking – pizza never equals suffering) through 4 pizzerias in about 2 hours. I didn’t realize things were quite so close – hence the eventual stomachache – but I did completely fall in love with Astoria.
Our first stop: Sac’s Place!
Above: the coal-burning oven at Sac’s. We got there just about when it opened and they already had a few amazing-looking pizzas out, but we stuck to the basic cheese & sauce. There’s a pizza side where you can order slices, and also a sit-down restaurant area. The entire place was really nice!
This is their cheese slice, but from what I’ve read the “Mama’s Old Fashioned” slice is also amazing – their version of a margherita. Thin, crispy crust; the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese. The cheese is stringy but not excessively so. I was so hungry from waiting to eat all day that I gobbled it up :)
Sweet NYC-style decor at Sac’s.
Our next stop: Rizzo’s Fine Pizza.
Rizzo’s walls are covered with articles praising its food and about the pizza traditions of New York. Unfortunately I didn’t do my research – their most famous slice is the square Sicilian-style, which you can see above on their menu. I’ve never seen Sicilian pies done in that way with the cheese, so of course I must go back. I got their “round” Neapolitan pizza – which, in my opinion, isn’t actually Neapolitan at all. All of Rizzo’s pies have a thin crust, which is flavorful and crunchy – you can even see how easily the crust would break in the picture below.
Though it doesn’t look like much, this slice was packed with flavor. Plus, you get this guy smiling at you from every table!
We were both getting a little full by then. But we must go on!
Third stop: Rosario’s Deli.
Rosario’s is an Italian deli full of authentic, imported Italian goods. It’s got everything I remember from my time spent in Florence plus more. In the back, you can get pizza by the slice only, made with their own freshly-made mozzarella. Their pizza had quite an interesting look to it with the way the cheese cooks, but it’s delicious through-and-through. The orange makes me think they also put olive oil on their pies, but I can’t be sure – it might just be the sauce and cheese blending.
There’s nowhere to sit inside so we took our slices to the streets of Queens! We both agreed this was one of the best NY slices we’d had. I don’t even know what it is – just melts with a very straightforward tomato flavor. My favorite slice of the tour by far, and one I’d definitely return to Astoria for.
You can’t really go wrong with such a great slice from a place full of Italian goods – plus, you can pick up a Kinder bar on your way out.
Our final stop was right across the street: Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery. Like Rosario’s, it’s a whole other business upfront – a bakery, in this case – with slices available towards the back. They do both regular pies and Sicilian, but I’d heard the Sicilian was the one to try – and try we did.
I didn’t snap any pictures of the store itself, but the front is full of all kinds of Italian cookies, breads, cakes, and even sandwiches. By this point, I was pretty full and starting to feel sick, but I couldn’t stop myself from finishing this slice – that’s how good it was. Without a doubt, the best Sicilian slice I’ve ever had. Airy – not heavy like most Sicilian slices – and crisp. Greasy, sure; but well worth it.
Kudos, Astoria. Though I only visited these 4 places, we passed about a million other promising-looking places. I’ve heard people mention several other favorites in the area, so I guess I’ll just have to return! Feel free to share ’em here if you have them – any in Queens, really; my list is lacking in that borough.
Sac’s Place: 25-41 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106; http://www.sacsplace.com
Rizzo’s Fine Pizza: 30-13 Steinway Street, Astoria, NY 11103; http://www.rizzosfinepizza.com
Rosario’s Deli: 22-55 31st Street, Astoria, NY 11105
Rose and Joe’s Italian Bakery: 22-40 31st Street, Astoria, NY 11105