Brooklyn pizza ... whole pie, minimal waiting

I’m going to be in Brooklyn over Memorial Day weekend and want to prioritize pizza, lunch or dinner. But we’ll be with a toddler and need to be back in Dumbo, via public transit, by about 6:30 each night. Waiting in line for an hour isn’t an option, so no DiFara.

L & B Spumoni gardens will satisfy our Sicilian fix. Where else would you recommend? Would any of the old school coal oven places be manageable?

You don’t say where you are going in Brooklyn and it’s a big place, especially if you are using public transit. It’s a fair hike to get to some of these places if you are not übering.

New school pizza I like Paulie Gees in Greenpoint and Motorino in Williamsburg, now that Frannies in Park Slope is closed. I am not a big Roberta’s fan, too noisy and too many hipsters.

Old school if you want the Di Faras experience without the line I would try Luigis in South Slope or Sals in Carroll Gardens.

Finally for a counter serve slice near Barclays I have a surprise recommendation. Artichoke Basilles.

I know it’s a chain, but the slices are large and both the cheese and the artichoke are delicious.

L & B Spumoni is classic, and has plenty of seating. But it’s a long ways from anything else.

Beware that the old school places are mostly counter serve and carryout. They have limited seating for weary spouses and toddlers.

Buon Appetito !

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The best I have found in South Slope so far is Giuseppina’s, from the same family as Lucali in Carroll Gardens (only evenings but open at 5pm). If you’re going to be located in DUMBO, you should probably try Juliana’s. I haven’t been to the Wbg Motorino but I enjoyed the original EV location.

The best pizza I’ve had in Bklyn has been from Aita’s Pizzeria in Clinton Hill (NYC style, not Calabrese), and from Luigi’s on DeKalb nearby, but both are counter/takeout. I haven’t tried Luigi’s in South Slope yet but it’s on my list.

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I would have recommended Lucali in CG too but the wait can be brutal, especially on weekends.

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Thank you so much!

We haven’t really made concrete plans yet. I was hoping to find some food destinations, and then retro plan some activities :slight_smile: I expect we will go to Mc Karen Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn botanical gardens, and Coney Island to visit relatives (and eat L&B spumoni)

Awesome. Paulie Gee’s opens at 5 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. If we got there at five, do you think we would get seated or would we need to wait longer? ( I can call if you don’t know)

I liked the Manhattan location of Motorino, I think my wife would especially like the brussels sprouts pizza. I will definitely add that to the shortlist.

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These are all great suggestions, thanks!

Btw, how are you enjoying the Brooklyn food scene overall since your move? And do you (or anyone) have a list of, say, five cheap eats available in Brooklyn that you wouldn’t be able to get in the Bay Area and which are worthy of an excursion?

re: pizza. Unfortunately, its gotten way too trendy and the lines at most well-known places are just too long. In Dumbo, both Juliana & Grimaldi will have long tourist lines. Lucali is always mobbed. However, Sottocasa (wood fired) and Table 87 (coal) are very good (for pizza), and both are on Atlantic Ave, close to Dumbo (walkable). The “traditional” Brooklyn gas fired oven pizza is available locally at Fascati’s on Henry St. (5 minutes from Dumbo). Its not made from artisanal cheese or sauce and isn’t hand pulled by an old guy who’s done it for 50+ years (yes, I’m referring to Dom at DiFara’s - I grew up around the corner there and have been going since I was 14 – I’m now 65), but its fairly representative of the “street pizza” us Brooklyn kids grew up with. I’m not an L&B fan, as their “Sicilian” is made differently – baked soft bread with cheese melted on it & then with tomato sauce ladled on top. I think its more of a good focaccia, to be better served with other food, but that’s just me. Everywhere else, including DiFara (who does a great “square” pizza, makes it with cheese, etc on top of the sauce and a much crisper dough crust. But, its worth trying, as many folks love it. There are several other notable pizza places in Bklyn but getting to them by public transportation is not easy. Paulie Gee is an interesting place for unusual toppings but aint close by if you’re using public transportation. But, if you’re in McKarren Park, then its worth a look.

re: cheap(ish) eats. If you’re in the Bklyn Botanical Gardens, then you’re near Park Slope. On 5th Ave, not far from Flatbush Ave, is Nargis, an Uzbek place that’s family friendly, open at that hour. You might also check out some of the Caribbean places nearby the Garden, although I’m not sure which would be best for your situation. If you stray just off Dumbo into Bklyn Heights (my neighborhood) to walk the Promenade or sightsee some of the historical landmarks (i.e.; Pilgrim Church, with Tiffany Studio windows & adjacent to where Henry Ward Beecher led his congregation/site of a stop on the Underground Railway), you can eat at Teresa’s a Polish place (on Montegue St) where low end hearty food like pierogi’s are satisfying or further on to Atlantic Ave (see above pizza places) where Sahadi’s is a major Lebanese grocery with lots of ready to eat food and where there are several Middle Eastern places still around.

I guess that’s enough said for now. See you in the neighborhood this weekend. Have fun.


I was here in the fall apartment-hunting and then moving in, went back to Canada to teach in the winter term, and returned in late April. So I’m not really ready to answer that question yet. So far all I can say is that the best of the Thai food I’ve had here beats anything I had in the Bay Area. I live in a fairly dull part of Brooklyn (SE Park Slope) as far as food is concerned. I can get into Manhattan Chinatown or the East Village in 20 minutes if the subway cooperates, which is not bad, but connections are not good to, say, Crown Heights, which is kind of absurd. There’s more exciting food in Queens but it’s an hour away. I will make those trips at some point soon!

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Near the Botanical Gardens on Washington are, in order of proximity: Banh Mi Place (few tables, mostly takeout), the Islands (long menu and lots of space, Caribbean BYOB), Look By Plant Love House (no clue about the name but it’s serious Thai). Nargis is on my to-visit list.

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Should not be a problem getting a table if you are there when they open.

That’s what we usually do.

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Not to hijack the thread, but I just want to mention that, in addition to Pok Pok (which I’m not fond of), there’s Ugly Baby (on Smith) for real Thai and I believe that there’s a well regarded Thai place opening a branch on Van Brunt in Red Hook soon as well. For good Chinese food, the SE Slope is in close proximity to the Bklyn Chinatown all around 8th Ave from the 40s to the 70s. Not as varied as Flushing, but some really nice stuff.

I have posted here about Ugly Baby, which I really like, and, yes, Somtum Der, whose EV location I also really like, is opening in Red Hook. Can you provide some recs for Sunset Park Chinese?

Even better, go to & Both of these guys are really good at pointing out places that aren’t well known and both have quite a few Sunset Park Chinese reviews (you can select the neighborhood on the right side of the page). Personally, I like grazing at the stalls in the supermarket/mall at the end of the 8th Ave neighborhood shopping strip. It’s more like Flushing with some good variety. I’ll try to remember the names of the small hand pulled noodle shops that I’ve liked just off 8th Ave in the 40s and 50s that the above blogs don’t list.


Thanks. I’ve been reading Eat The World but didn’t know about Eating In Translation. I went to Fei Long in December, but it was earlier in the day, and the food court wasn’t active yet.

Definitely get to Paulie Gee’s when they open. There will probably be a wait since it’s the weekend but shouldn’t be long. The escarole salad is exactly perfect for pizza salad- this one makes a great pairing.
Also not food related but with small child note that there are now a number of really reasonable car services to help get around such as Via, Juno, Get, etc…

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I’ve been to the original Nargis (same menu) and it was seriously fantastic. The steamed pumpkin dumplings and avocado salad both sound lame on paper but were highlights of the meal. And the kebobs are no joke. Best to go hungry with others, most dishes serve several people

yeah, I think we went as a group several years ago.

Yes! That was an excellent meal and great company :slight_smile: the new location is on my short list for this summer!

Since the original post focussed on pizza I did not consider other things.

Our daughter used to live in Brooklyn so we’ve bought a lot of meals there. There is a lot of good food. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and is based on personal favorites.

If you are in Dumbo for the weekend you really should consider the River Cafe for Saturday lunch. It’s $47 for two courses at a one star Michelin with what may be one of the best views of Manhattan in the city. Same food is $ 200 at night. Afterwards you can hit the waterfront park and carousel. I garantee it will be the highlight of your trip. Need res, so if you’re interested make one now.

In Park Slope you should consider Al di La. It’s a neighborhood kind of place, like eating in somebody’s house, but the food is excellent and it won’t break the bank. No res, so get there early.

If you are looking for the old school experience close to Coney Island I would consider Randazzos over L & B Spumoni Gardens. Randazzos has gotten a little touristy since Bourdain lit it up, but the gravy is good and I like clams. L & B is fun too, but as SR notes the “slice” there is a lot of dough even if it’s not expensive.

For cheap eats around the Barclays/Boerum Hill we like Mile End for Deli (Montreal smoked meat, chicken soup), Halal Kitchen fried chicken & chinese (don’t worry about how the restaurant looks), and Artichoke Basilles for a slice (try the artichoke). In Brooklyn Heights close to Dumbo try Heights Falafel for falafel or shawarma. And in Coney Island you should bite the bullet and get a Nathan’s with kraut, and take a picture while you’re at it.

For dessert, ice cream at Ample Hills, or something baked from Blue Stove. If you like cheesecake, Juniors is famous and is actually pretty good.

Finally places like Fascatis, Luigis and Sals that serve old style Brooklyn pies are pretty much counterserve. I think Sals has a sit down place next door. For us that’s ok because we are usually ordering pies to go. To get something like the Di Faras pie you should order the fresh moozerell. Personally I can’t tell the difference between Luigis and Di Faras, but I’m not a snob.

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Ya know, as long as it’s fresh Moozerell and San Marzanos from a can, I can’t tell the difference once its baked.

And I don’t think the oven makes a big difference as long as it’s hot enough. Unless of course you like eating coal dust.

Flour and yeast strains, maybe. Sea salt and EVO, I doubt it.

Somebody should do a blind test. I’ll bet most people can’t tell the difference.

People just think something is great because they wait three hours in line and pay through the nose for it.