Lengthy Island’s finest pizza | Newsday

Long Island's best pizza | Newsday

The bar has been raised: Lengthy Island pizza is healthier than it’s ever been. By no means earlier than have I left so many high-quality institutions off my annual listing of finest pizzerias —as a result of “superb” is now not ok.

Possibly it was introspection introduced on by the pandemic. Simply as house bakers misplaced themselves within the intricacies of sourdough, native pizzaioli have been trying inward, experimenting with completely different flours, dough ratios and pizza ovens.

At The Onion Tree in Sea Cliff, Jay Jadeja modified up his flour combination and decreased the proportion of water in his dough. In Elmont, King Umberto’s John Cesarano determined in opposition to a wood-fired oven, choosing an electrical deck oven, and Michael Vigliotti at Huntington’s 1653 Pizza Firm discovered that the important thing to attaining his desired crust was decreasing the temperature of his coal-burning oven.

1653 is the one brand-new pizzeria on this listing of 12. And of the ten spots on my unique 2012 listing, solely two stay, Salvatore’s in Port Washington and Brunetti, which, after a two-year hiatus, has reopened in a brand new location a block away from the unique in Westhampton Seashore.

Your favourite pizzeria will not be on this listing and right here’s why: Lengthy Island has a whole lot of nice slice joints. I daresay there’s nowhere else within the nation that has so many reliable neighborhood pizzerias, and selecting amongst them can be a idiot’s errand. Fairly, these 12 pizzerias are culinary locations.

What makes a terrific pizza? At the beginning, a terrific crust. Pizza is, at its coronary heart, a bread — that amalgam of flour, water, yeast and salt that turns into one thing magical when handled to an extended, gradual fermentation after which given form and construction by a practiced hand. I’m not swayed by revolutionary or elaborate toppings. Ask any nice pizzaiolo what their favourite pie is and I’ll wager you, {dollars} to bombolini, they’ll say “Margherita.”

No pizzeria acquired on this randomly ordered listing with out serving a implausible Margherita however, this being Lengthy island, you’ll additionally discover well-wrought variations that go method past recent mozzarella and high-quality tomatoes. Right here they’re, offered in no explicit order. Buon appetito!

1653 Pizza Firm (80 Gerard St., Huntington): After an almost two-year gestation, 1653 opened in June in what had been Massa’s Coal-Fired Brick Oven Pizzeria. Companions Frank Antonetti and Michael Viglotti changed the whole lot besides that oven and chef Vigliotti, a maestro of the wooden fireplace, discovered easy methods to work with a brand new gas — with spectacular outcomes. His pie has the sunshine, puffy rim of a traditional Neapolitan pie however a sturdier crust, the higher to deal with such harmonious toppings as recent and smoked mozzarella, bacon jam and shaved crimson onions, or a mélange of mozzarella, scamorza and maitake, king trumpet and pioppino mushrooms with truffle paste and porcini mud. His unorthodox clam pie — involving a clam-infused cream, lemon zest and pickled banana peppers — is triumph. There’s tons greater than pizza on the menu, plus a swank décor, craft cocktails and an creative wine listing. Extra information: 631-824-6070

Charred Brick Oven (3915 Merrick Rd., Seaford): From the ashes of the previous Seaford Lobster Shack, Charred Brick Oven rose in late 2020 to deliver traditional Neapolitan pies to this nook of the South Shore. Proprietor Greg Garofalo stored a few of the former restaurant’s dishes (the clams oreganata stay on on a pizza) however put in a wood-burning oven in between the bar and eating room — the tables up entrance provide an unobstructed view of the pizzaioli at work. The Margherita is textbook Neapolitan, with its puffy, leopard-spotted crust. For sheer overindulgence, get the mortadella pie whereby slices of the imported sausage are draped over a white pie then lavished with stracciatella cheese, chopped pistachios, arugula and pistachio cream. Extra information: 516-586-8617,

Naples Avenue Meals (2905 Lengthy Seashore Rd., Oceanside): Since he opened the unique Naples Avenue Meals in Franklin Sq. (now Chef Gigi’s Place) in 2016, Naples-born pizzaiolo Gianluca Chiarolanza has been a standard-bearer for unapologetically Neapolitan pies, bordered by a puffy rim (“cornicione” in Italian) whose texture — pillowy however chewy — is the results of an extended, chilly fermentation and superfine “tipo 00” flour. On the bigger and brighter Oceanside restaurant (est. 2019), he’s tightened up his pies, making the crust crisper and the toppings much less soupy than is conventional in Italy. Past the marvelous Margherita and marinara pies, the “porchetta” is topped with braised pork, smoked mozzarella, arugula and lemon oil; the Bosco options San Marzano tomatoes, recent mozzarella, Gorgonzola, sausage, mushrooms and basil. The menu additionally options seven pastas and the Neapolitan panuozzo, a heat sandwich whose bread is a freshly baked size of pizza dough. Pies are available both 12-inch rounds or eight-slice rectangles. Extra information: 516-442-1692,

Brunetti (61 Primary St., Westhampton Seashore): When it opened in 2010, Brunetti kicked off Lengthy Island’s neo-Neapolitan pizza development, however it exited the scene in 2019 because it constructed a brand new, bigger pizzeria one block west. (It may hardly be smaller; the unique Brunetti was, basically, an oven, a counter and some stools behind a Häagen-Dazs store.) Brunetti 2.0 is a correct restaurant with tables, chairs and an expanded menu however its soul continues to be the wood-burning oven. The Margherita stays a traditional whose lily may be gilded with “Mary’s meatballs” and ricotta. White pies embody the “Funghi e Cipolle,” with shiitakes, caramelized onions, goat cheese and thyme. Tomato-less and (mercifully) cheeseless is Brunetti’s signature “Vongole,” a refined marriage of crust, clam, garlic, parsley and little else. Within the new area, founder Michael Brunetti is now joined by accomplice, Danny Armyn, who additionally makes pies and manages. Extra information: 631-288-3003,

The Onion Tree (242 Sea Cliff Ave., Sea Cliff): Jay Jadeja is that culinary rarity, a jack of all trades and grasp of fairly just a few. He and his accomplice, Raquel Wolf Jadeja, opened The Onion Tree in 2019 and have managed to show it right into a vacation spot for New American, genuine Indian and Neapolitan pizza — on weekly “Tasting Tuesdays,” they tackle the remainder of the world. The worldwide influences typically migrate onto the pies — to glorious impact — as within the “Palek Paneer pie,” topped with spinach, recent cheese, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, or the one made with Darjeeling-inspired brief ribs, tamari, Gorgonzola and onions. After all you possibly can’t go incorrect with the Margherita, quattro formaggi or the luxuriant “Funghi” with wild mushrooms, Taleggio, Fontina, thyme and truffle oil. Extra information: 516-916-5353,

Mangia Bene (14 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): The menu at this year-old Rockville Centre trattoria ranges everywhere in the boot, however consideration should be paid to the person Neapolitan-style pizzas, designed by govt chef, John Di Lemme, and proprietor, Maurizio Vendittelli, and baked in a newfangled electrical oven imported from Italy. Crust and toppings are in good concord, from the best marinara and Margherita to the “PLT” (smoked Tyrolean Speck, arugula, cherry tomatoes, lemon, mozzarella and Parmesan) and the “Calabrese,” sparked by scorching sausage and Calabrian chilies. Gluten avoiders can order any pie with a cauliflower crust and oenophiles will admire the wine listing, stuffed with attention-grabbing, pizza-friendly wines, lots of them accessible by the glass. Extra information: 516-447-6744,

King Umberto (1343 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont): John Cesarano grew up at King Umberto, the enduring Elmont pizzeria established by his father, Ciro Cesarano, and accomplice Rosario Fuschetto. Having mastered the Lengthy Island fundamentals (thin-crusted spherical, Sicilian and grandma), in 2018 he launched the “metro pie,” made within the pizzeria’s deck oven however impressed by the long-fermented doughs and thoroughly sourced toppings that characterize Roman pizzas. In 2021, when the restaurant constructed a marble-tiled coated terrace, he arrange somewhat shed alongside one facet, acquired himself a elaborate new electrical oven, and began engaged on his personal private holy grail, a pie that has the ethereal construction and refinement of a Naples-style pie, however with the crunch and crackle of New York. The Margherita is a factor of magnificence, made with each cow and buffalo mozzarella and imported Parmesan. Much less conventional pies embody these impressed by cacio e pepe and Amatriciana pastas in addition to the white “Sizzling Boy Summer time” pie with common shredded mozzarella, ricotta, candy and scorching peppers, spicy sausage and Mike’s Sizzling Honey. Extra information: 516-352-8391,

Salvatore’s Coal Oven Pizzeria (124 Shore Rd., Port Washington): The one pizzeria that has been on each certainly one of our best-pizza lists, Salvatore’s, which opened in 1996, had Lengthy Island’s first coal-burning oven. Coal was the gas utilized by New York’s very first pizzerias, Lombardi’s, John’s, Totonno’s and Patsy’s (from which Salvatore’s is descended by its founder Patsy Grimaldi). The pizzaioli right here use an unorthodox approach for stretching the dough — rolling pins as a substitute of hand-spinning — however what comes out of the 900-degree oven is a soulful mixture of char and creaminess. The crust is a dream, crisp however pliant, the topping is a balanced meld of recent, milky mozzarella and chunky chopped tomatoes. No designer pies right here, simply your alternative of traditional toppings to be loved in a retro room the place the soundtrack is 50% Sinatra. In 2017, possession of Salvatore’s handed from founder Fred Lacagnina to brothers Pat and Dom DeSimone, with no discernible change. Extra information: 516-883-8457,

Chef Gigi’s Place (970 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Sq.): In early 2021, Italian chef ​​Pierligui “Gigi” Sacchetti took over the unique Naples Avenue Meals, modified the identify and added dozens of regional Italian pastas. However, fortunately, the pizza choices stay the identical, nonetheless made within the wood-burning oven by Giorgio Jeri, who has been slinging pies right here since n 2016. (Unique founder Gianluca Chiarolanza has decamped to Naples Avenue Meals in Oceanside, which opened in 2019.) The traditional Neapolitan pies can be found in each 12- and 17-inch sizes, and the menu additionally options pucce (singular: puccia), Pugliese sandwiches made on freshly baked “pocket” breads that take pita to an entire new stage. Fillings embody sausage and broccoli rabe; imported mortadella, shaved Parmesan and artichokes and prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and arugula. Extra information: 516-673-4630,

Saverio’s (929 N. Broadway, North Massapequa): In 2015, Sam and Emily Cataldo carved out simply sufficient area from their venerable A & S Pork Retailer to accommodate a wood-burning oven, a prep counter and some tables and, earlier than too lengthy, individuals have been coming from throughout Lengthy Island to pattern the pizza — and to hang around with the prolonged Cataldo household. Finally, tables have been arrange within the pork retailer itself and, within the fall of 2021, Saverio’s took over the neighboring storefront to have a correct eating room for the primary time. A number of the finest pies recall nice Italian pasta dishes — alla vodka, broccoli rabe and sausage, or the “Mother’s Pie” that includes onion-rich Genovese sauce. One other favourite is the Speck pie, topped with cream, mozzarella and the eponymous smoked prosciutto, which will get somewhat crusty within the oven and, lastly, is topped with shaved Parmesan and your alternative of Mike’s Sizzling Honey or truffle oil. Final yr, Sam was impressed by the newly ascendant deep-dish Detroit-style to create his personal “Depequa” pie whose prime and sides are crisp with a hardened matrix of mozzarella, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses earlier than being topped with tomato sauce and extra cheese and despatched again into the oven. Extra information: 516-799-0091,

Donatina (18 West Ave., Patchogue): They’re doing all of it at John Peragine’s three-year-old Patchogue pizzeria. There’s a wall of deck ovens for each conventional New York- and Detroit-style pies. The latter, a Michigan import, are baked in deep, metal pans, a thick topping of mozzarella, Cheddar and Wisconsin brick cheese seeping down the edges and caramelizing, even perhaps burning somewhat, to create plenty of crunchy, pleasantly greasy crust. Then there’s a wood-burning oven for baking particular person Neapolitan pies that embody the sausage and cherry pepper, a masterful mix of tomato, mozzarella, crumbled scorching and candy sausage and sliced cherry peppers; and the open-faced calzone, whose torpedo form maximizes the proportion of well-browned crust. It arrives heaving with a molten filling of recent mozzarella, ricotta, sausage and marinara sauce. Extra information: 631-730-7002,

Pizza Rita (55 Center Rd., Mattituck): Jeff Marrone’s three-year-old eatery is positioned in a strip mall midway to the top of the North Fork and is just open Thursday by Sunday (and typically not even then — name to guarantee that Marrone is just not catering a celebration or has run out of dough). However that is the very definition of a pizzeria well worth the drive. Within the wood-burning oven that he lovingly tiled with damaged crockery, Marrone bakes pies whose just-short-of-over-the-top toppings by no means overshadow their supernal crusts. No pie beats the Margherita, however just a few give her a run for the cash, amongst them, the “Northforker,” with mozzarella, mascarpone, pine nuts, Pecorino Romano, kale and crimson onion, the latter two components sourced from native farms. New pies are posted on Instagram (@pizza.rita) which is how we discovered in regards to the “Carmen,” topped with broccoli rabe pesto, fennel sausage and buffalo mozzarella. Extra information: 631-315-5557,

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