It was a bitterly cold day in NYC when Lex and I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and over to DUMBO (a really cool park with breathtaking views of Manhattan). In hindsight we probably should have waited for a warmer day as the chill and breeze only got worse as we crossed the bridge! I can’t complain though, it’s a great walk across the bridge and the views when you get there are absolutely worth it. We managed to get a panorama with The Chrysler Building and Empire State – I’ll upload it to the blog 🙂
After taking some happy snaps at DUMBO we decided to head back up the street to Grimaldi’s – a famous (and super popular) pizza joint in Brooklyn. It was originally on our list of must-visit NY establishments, however we were thinking about giving it a miss as we had read the lines were ridiculous. My tip? Try going at lunchtime on a Monday! We got a table straight away in a cosy and warm spot at the back of the restaurant.
Grimaldi’s most famous restaurant is under the Brooklyn Bridge (where we went), however they also have locations in New Jersey and southern and northern parts of the U.S. Their pizzas (which are only sold whole, no slices) are made using a coal-fired brick oven, and they have been Zagat rated as the ‘Best Pizza in NY’. I guess now you can understand why the lines are usually so long?
Whilst the original owner Patsy Grimaldi no longer has a connection to the pizzeria after selling it (along with his naming and branding rights!), just a few doors down you can go to Juliana’s which he opened as a tribute to his late mother. There is a fierce debate amongst locals whether Juliana’s or Grimaldi’s is the better pizza, maybe try both and make up your own mind?
What we ordered:
Our table (with the traditional Italian red-checked tablecloth) was tucked away in the corner and the waiter came over and filled our (plastic) cups with water and gave us the menu to choose from. It is a simple place Grimaldi’s, but thats the point. It doesn’t feel like a pretentious place, instead it’s really welcoming – and welcomes so many patrons, including celebrities, on a daily/nightly basis.
We decided to order half and half – half Margherita and half Pepperoni. We wanted to keep it simple and not order anything too fancy, and we always find you can’t go wrong with Pepperoni! The whole pie, as the Americans call it, was ready in no time and was so tasty that Lex and I were quietly in our own little foodie pizza heaven. I should point out that we went with the large and this was probably too much for two people, although Lex justified finishing by claiming that we only get one shot at Grimaldi’s and it would simply be disrespectful to leave anything on the plate…Also, Lex has spent considerable time in Italy and his opinion on pizza counts. He is continuously on the hunt for authentic pizza like he’s eaten in Italy, and as I type this blog he agrees with me that it was definitely in contention for the best pizza in NY, along with the Calzone he ate at Eataly. The pizza was nice and thin, had a generous spread of tomato sauce on the base, and the pepperoni and cheese were fresh and hot! It really is the freshness of the ingredients, the hint of basil and the oven baked crust that makes this pizza so noteworthy and understandably, a staple of the Brooklyn restaurant scene. It really was the perfect lunch time meal and kept us out of the cold too! We were just dreading making the trek back across the bridge. Luckily we were too full and felt we simply had to find a subway…
Lex and I wanted to absolutely LOVE this place, and whilst it definitely was a good feed, neither of us are quite convinced that it’s the best in NY. I do think that Grimaldi’s are able to bank significantly on their hype and reputation…In saying that though, going to a place steeped in NY pizza history was pretty cool, and you really couldn’t fault the service and value of Grimaldi’s. At just $16 for the ‘whole pie’, and a massive whole pie it was, coupled with the casual and laid-back atmosphere, Lex and I both agree it is the perfect place for just that – a casual and laid-back lunch.