Restaurant: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Last visited: September 7, 2011
Location: Brooklyn, NY (DUMBO)
Address: 19 Old Fulton St (Under the Brooklyn Bridge)
Nearby Subway stop:
2 or 3 stop at Henry/Clark (first stop in Brooklyn from Manhattan)
A or C stop at High Street (first stop in Brooklyn from Manhattan)
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Multiple locations in New York
- This one is original location
- One of New York’s most famous pizza
- Multiple award winning
- Rated “Best Pizza in the City”
- Local & tourist favourite
- Long lines at peak hours
- Coal brick oven pizza
- Hand tossed crust
- Limited beer & wine
- Good for groups/families
- No slices
- Cash only
- Dine in/Take Out
- No delivery
- No reservations
- Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-10:45pm
- Friday 11:30am-11:45pm
- Saturday 12pm-11:45pm
- Sunday 12pm-10:45pm
**Recommendations: Margherita Pizza, White Pizza, and the cured black olives and Italian sausage are good toppings. If you like cannolis, try one here for dessert.
New York Pizza. You gotta have a slice if you’re in New York, but not just any slice, a real slice.
My first week of New York foodie adventures I featured one of the most famous and popular places for New York style pizzas, which was Lombardi’s Pizza. Although it was Zagat surveyed as “the best on the planet”, I didn’t really agree. I found it more for tourists and I just felt that New York pizza had to get better than that… and it did.
Welcome to Grimaldi’s! It was started by an Italian family and its original location is just under the Brooklyn Bridge. It now has a handful of locations throughout New York, but it doesn’t have that “chain association” or typical “chain quality”. The line up can get up to an hour, just like Lombardi’s, and both are multiple award winning pizzas rated the “best in New York” by various publications year after year, but I’d rather wait in line for this one.
Luckily I didn’t have to wait in line at all since I arrived at 9:45pm. But unluckily I made it here by walking over the Brooklyn Bridge (in heels, a white jacket, and a broken umbrella) while it was storming thundershowers… well I certainly got my slice of life (and a nighttime picture of the city in a storm), but at least it was served alongside a slice of pizza worth remembering.
It is popular to tourists, but several locals also recommended it. I only had one local tell me it was a “tourist trap”, but it was good enough for me.
Sure there could be better New York pizza than this, and if I was in the city longer doing a pizza search, I would be more eager to hunt for it. However as a foodie there for two weeks, I felt satisfied if I had to stop here with my New York pizza experience.
Lombardi’s Pizza was one of those foodie experiences I had to check off my list and I appreciated it for the history, but not really for the food. On the other hand Grimaldi’s delivered something that made me feel confident in highly recommending. It seemed more Neapolitan in style rather than American and it was more representable of a New York style pizza compared to Lombardi’s. Even just judging purely by flavour and not authenticity, it was still better.
It’s comparing apples to oranges, but based purely on enjoyment factor, I enjoyed it almost as much as Nicli’s Antica Pizzeria, which serves authentic Neapolitan style pizzas in Vancouver, BC. That’s just for the Vancouver readers so they can relate back to something closer to home.
On the table:
- Fresh mozzarella, crushed tomato, basil Small regular pizza (6 slices) $12 Large regular pizza (8 slices) $14
- Bottom half of pizza – Toppings (same price on half or whole pie) Italian sausage ($2), cured black olives ($2)
- Top half of pizza – Toppings (same price on half or whole pie) Pepperoni ($2), cured black olives ($2)
- Toppings are great, but try limiting it to 2-3 toppings because you don’t want to weigh the pizza down or have it too wet. This is New York style pizza, not the typical American kind that can handle tons of toppings.
- New York style pizza is inspired by Neapolitan pizza, so it’s a hand tossed dough with minimal sauce, but it’s larger in size and often folded when eaten.
- The edges of the crust were nice and crunchy with a little bit of charring, but I would have preferred more blackened spots around the edges.
- The tomato sauce was fresh and made with roasted pulpy San Marzano tomatoes (highest quality of tomatoes) spread in a thin layer over the crust.
- Despite how it looks, it was even less sauce than Lombardi’s, but more sauce than an authentic Neapolitan pizza, which is an acceptable amount for a New York style pizza.
- I was hoping for more basil leaves, but I did like the fact that they were whole leaves unlike Lombardi’s. It is the Neapolitan style to have only 3 or so leaves though.
- The Italian sausage was very tender with high fat content which kept it really moist and juicy. They were nice and savoury, not spicy, and incredibly delicious!
- The large slices of pizza were very delicate, tender and had an excellent melt in your mouth home made quality.
- It wasn’t as herby or as stringy with mozzarella as Lombardi’s and the crust was even thinner and overall better.
- The quality and texture of the crust really carried the flavours of the pizza and that’s what made it different from the other pizza places.
- The pepperoni was also very fatty and they were sliced in small rounds and baked until they were a bit crispy.
- They had a meaty salty cured flavour with a little spicy heat and a bit of black pepper. The quality wasn’t bad and they weren’t paper thin slices.
- It was a very thin crust and foldable pizza with a soft and chewy centre and it was not soggy or wet, which is what you want.
- The mozzarella cheese is delivered fresh daily and although I prefer Fior di Latte or Buffalo Mozzarella, I didn’t expect it here.
- Lombardi’s makes their cheese in house daily which was commendable, but I still prefer the pizzas here.
- The cured black olives were quite authentic of authentic Neapolitan style pizzas and they’re very fruity and oily and almost like dehydrated mushrooms.
- They were as salty as anchovies and a bit chewy like raisins. I loved them and it gave the pizza a nice and salty meaty bite.
- The leoparding (blackened spots) on the bottom of the crust was definitely more impressive than Lombardi’s and I got more of that earthy charred flavour the pizza should have. It might not have been perfect, but it was good enough.
- The leoparding was definitely one of the better ones I’ve had and I was really pleased with the crust overall.
- The edges were crispy and crunchy and the home made dough had a nice chew.
- No tomato, extra cheese, fresh garlic Small white pizza (6 slices) $14 Large white pizza (8 slices) $16
- Toppings (same price on half or whole pie) Onions ($2), cured black olives ($2), ricotta cheese ($2)
- The onions were very sparse and I couldn’t really taste them in the pizza especially next to the other ingredients. They were a little bit sweet, but they were almost shaved paper thin.
- The ricotta was also very mild and I couldn’t really taste it and it seemed to have melted into the mozzarella cheese.
- The ricotta at Lombardi’s was piped in round clouds which was unusual – see here.
- I could taste the garlic and some fruity olive oil and the cured black olives were a great touch.
- Again the cured black olives are nice and salty and have a texture similar to dried mushrooms or raisins.
- The crust was very thin again and the centre was soft and tender as it should be, without being soggy or wet from the ingredients.
- The edges were nice and crunchy again, but I did want more charred blackened spots.
- The pizza was very foldable and both the ingredients and the crust carried equal weight in creating a delicious New York style pie.
- I can’t say I’ve had a lot of cannolis. I don’t not like them, but I wouldn’t order them. I’ll eat them if they’re there just because I like desserts.
- The waiter was so confident that these cannolis were the best in New York and he was way too enthusiastic about it, so I had to try it.
- These were huge cannolis though! Jumbo size!
- It was a pretty thick and crunchy fried pastry dough and that part wasn’t very sweet at all.
- It was filled with a very thick, rich, and creamy filling of ricotta whipped with sugar and chocolate chips and the cream part was the texture of rice pudding.
- It’s not like a cheesecake, and there wasn’t much ricotta, but it was just too rich and sweet overall for me.
- I’m not a fan of those grocery store, bulk quality, tiny and hard chocolate chips, so I wasn’t keen on this filling.
- The filling was almost like a frosting and there was a bit too much icing sugar in it and it was as sweet as store bought frosting.
- These could be one of New York’s “best cannolis”, but I wouldn’t have anything to really compare to. They did seem different than ordinary ones though.
- Another place famous for cannoli is Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe (342 E 11th St) in Manhattan, New York.
- I’ve also had “Do it Yourself Cannolis” at Nove Italiano in Las Vegas which were fun!