This week, I had the pleasure of meeting Alexandra Maruri, founder of Bronx Historical Tours, for breakfast in Little Italy. We had a glorious weather day and just sat al fresco drinking our coffee and cappuccino, while discussing her thoughts about the best pizza that The Bronx has to offer.
No easy task considering the plethora of destinations around this great borough for fresh, hot and mouth watering neighborhood pizza! The good news is, no matter where in The Bronx you find yourself, so too, will you find great pizza.
Alexandra's list consists of 14 different pizza destinations throughout the various sections of the Borough. From first-hand experience, having frequented the highlighted eateries throughout her life, she now includes many of these on her tour itineraries.
"It is incredible, just how many of my tour clients ask me for recommendations for the "best pizza in The Bronx," says Alexandra, "there are just so many I love that it is impossible to choose just one. Each establishment possesses their own unique flare and specialties, so I prefer to give a robust list of options!"
Here are Alexandra’s Top 14 Pizzeria choices in The Bronx:
1. Louie & Ernie’s Pizza - Pelham Bay
1300 Crosby Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
Louie and Ernie's Pizza has perfected the art of old school pizza making. While many other pizzerias have evolved through the years in offering a wide array of menu items, as well as specialty pizzas, Louie and Ernie's keep it simple, with variations on two basic items, which include pizza and calzones. No fancy dishes or extensive options. Just the basics, which they have perfected, gaining a loyal following for remaining consistent for the past six decades, with a formula that works!
2. Pugsley’s Pizza - Fordham Manor
590 E 191st Street, Bronx, NY
(718) 365 - 0327
Known for it’s New York style pies, Pugsley Pizza has been delighting lucky pizza lovers in The Bronx since the early 80's. This neighborhood pizzeria was originally opened on Pugsley Avenue and then Briggs Avenue. According to Alexandra Maruri, "I have great memories of frequenting the pizza shop on Briggs." In 1985, owners Sal and Pina Natale moved to their current location near Fordham University on the land of a former horse stable.
3. Full Moon Pizzeria - Belmont
600 East 187th Street, Bronx, NY
From his roots in Salerno, Italy, Full Moon Pizzeria's owner learned the value of customer service as a young boy. Arriving in Belmont in the Bronx at the age of twelve, he shined shoes and helped with his family bills. At 14, XX began working at Full Moon restaurant and eventually helped his father purchase the business from its previous owner. Today, he says that his business “is a constant reminder of where we come from and represents the Italian core: good company, amazing, soul warming food, and family. We love to treat our customers like family, only offering the best.”
4. Zero Otto Nove - Belmont
2357 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY
Located in the “Real” Little Italy, Zero, Otto, Nove has brought the flavors of southern Italy to New York. In fact, according to Forbes, “Dining here is like stepping into an Italian grotto in the hills of Tuscany.” While The Bronx is always our first choice, Zero Otto Nove also has two other locations, one in the FlatIron District of Manhattan and Armonk in Westchester.
5. Patricia’s - Morris Park
1082 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY
Open for lunch and dinner, Patricia’s food is consistently good, as is the service. Owner, Louis, has a reputation for being friendly, along with his staff and offering a large array of pizza options from tomato and garlic and no cheese to a full array of toppings of meats, vegetables and cheeses.
6. Tino’s Deli - Belmont
2410 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY
(718) 733- 9879
Tino’s Deli has been on 187th Street for over 50 years, but fifteen years ago, Rosa and Giancarlo Paciullo took it over and moved to a bigger a better location. Taking the old Belmont Community Center, The Paciullo's renovated it to provide their customers with great service in a friendly, home-like environment. This "Jewel of Arthur Avenue" also known as Tino's Deli, offers an array of brick oven pizza ranging from traditional Margherita to a variety of original combination toppings including their Pizza Salernitana with Mozzarella, Tomato sauce, black olive paste, marinated artichokes and Mortadella and their Pizza Tartufato with Blue Cheese, Dried Figs, Olive oil, Arugula and Truffle honey.
7. Antonio's Trattoria - Belmont
2370 Belmont Ave, Bronx, NY 10458 · ~16 mi
To quote this restaurant’s website, “There is a phrase in Italian that goes, "Piatto ricco, mi ci ficco;" rich plate, and I dive into it. Antonio’s serves both lunch, dinner and offers a catering menu as well. With many items on the menu that they strive to “emulate "nonna's" home cooking,” their brick oven pizza is tops when it comes to Bronx neighborhood pizza. From classic cheese to pizza bianco and even lasagna pizza, the variety is plentiful.
8. Nick’s Pizza Restaurant - Gun Hill
1356 E Gun Hill Rd, Bronx, NY
According to Alexandra Maruri, " Nick's serves up what I would call "old school pizza and one of a few places in the Bronx which are a staple for the local community."
Their pizza is a perfect combination of thick crust and heavy on the cheese. There is no need to order extra cheese since it is made with the perfect balance of sauce and cheese. Maruri goes on to say, "everyone knows Nick's - from teachers, bus drivers to the conductors. I use to frequent this pizza shop as a kid, and it is a "must visit" for the locals and visitors.
9. Emilio’s of Morris Park - Morris Park
1051 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY
Serving the Morris Park and beyond since 1989, Emilio’s of Morris Park offers an extensive menu of house-made Italian favorites ranging from panini, flatbreads, calzones and heroes to chicken, shrimp, seafood and vegetarian entrees to the delicious house-made tiramisu. They are most famous for their “famous chicken vodka pizza”
Owner Richie DiNardo is a true Bronx native, born in the Borough, he started working in restaurants at 16 and owned his own place at 18. And although he has owned and operated restaurants in Miami, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Connecticut over the years, he came full circle back to the Bronx when he bought Emilio’s in 2006. Emilio’s has gained neighborhood fame for their
10. Mario’s Pizza - Eastchester
3824 Dyre Ave, Bronx, NY
(718) 325 - 8770
What makes Mario’s pizza so good? According to Alexandra Maruri, “I love the thick crust slices with a lot of cheese - the way pizza was when I was a kid.” A neighborhood favorite where the pizza is always fresh.
11. Venice Restaurant & Pizzeria - Mott Haven
772 E 149 Street, Bronx, NY
With a full menu of appetizers, entrees, burgers, hot and cold heros and a variety of seafood and other salads, Venice Restaurant’s pizza is up there with its customer favorites. Pizza is made to order in three different sizes that include 10”, 14” and 18”. Whether it is traditional Margherita, White Pizza or Hawaiian, toppings that include Pepperoni, Sausage, Mushroom, Peppers, Anchovies, Meatballs or Ham are available to personalize to all pizza lovers’ preferences.
12. Mario’s Restaurant - Belmont
2342 Arthur Ave.
Bronx, NY 10458
Celebrating 100 years in 2019, Mario’s Restaurant is a staple on Arthur Avenue since its humble beginnings when it was first opened by Socolastia and her son Giuseppe. Five generations later, Mario’s Restaurant is a steadfast reminder of the neighborhood’s past. All of the food is made to order, including their thin crust pizza, prepared exclusively in their pizza ovens.
13. Ljubo Pizzeria - Westchester Square
15 Westchester Sq, Bronx, NY
Known for their huge slices at a price that can't be beat, Ljubo's Pizza is the neighborhood destination for oversized and extra large slices. A definite must-visit, but note, there is limited stool seating inside, so it's not best for large groups dining in. Service is prompt and friendly and they only accept cash.
14. Catania's Pizzeria & Cafe - Belmont
2307 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY
The outside to Catania’s does not do justice to the inside, which is beautifully decorated, The lovely interior is only second to its pizza, which is made with the perfect blend of sauce to cheese ratio. With every topping available, Catania offers both Neapolitan and Sicilian pies.
Till next time,
Elisa is a travel blogger and freelance writer. She is co-founder of TravelinCousins.com travel blog and writes a weekly column for ThisIsTheBronx.info.