One of Two Good Pizzerias in NYC: Totonno’s – Pizza – Kips Bay and Upper East Side
May 20th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

The way that I defend chain pizzerias should give you some indication of how much I generally think New York pizza sucks. It’s not the style I mind–I’ve grown to love the huge floppy crust that you fold together so the grease can drip straight into your mouth–but I just find it so entirely flavorless.

Totonno’s is about as New York-y as pizza comes, with an owner who started at the famed Lombardi’s, a location on Coney Island, and a reputation known the world-over. And yet, I find myself somehow craving it. The crust is brick-oven-browned, a little crunchy on the outside to help it maintain its form. But more importantly, the toppings are so mountainous you rarely see the cheese through them.

Totonno's NYC Pizza

And one of their available toppings is basil! Heaven. Indeed, Zagat said, “Only God makes better pizza.”

I have to admit that when I tried Totonno’s for the first time a couple of years ago, I thought it was just as bad as other New York pizzas. So either my tastes have matured, or my expectations are sufficiently lowered after five years of living here.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne-Half Star

462 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10016 (map)


1544 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10075 (map)

14 Responses  
  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    May 20th, 20103:33 pmat

    Well shit, if it tastes as good as it looks…eff me!!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 27th, 201010:59 amat

      It tastes even better than it looks, because my apartment has horrible lighting. :)

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    May 20th, 20104:01 pmat

    I tried New York style pizza in New York, and I was pretty underwhelmed. I mean, the pizza in that photo looks awesome and I would totally hork it down like the pig I am, but the New York style pizza I tried before reminded of the pizza you get at malls in Louisiana.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 27th, 201011:04 amat

      Yesterday, I saw a guy order a slice with extra cheese, and I was like, “OHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Genius. I sort of forget that I could make it less-awful just by asking them to change it up for me a little. Next time I’m in the mood, I’m just going to march into a pizzeria and say, “Gimme a plain slice with extra cheese and add a good dousing of red pepper and cilantro and as much Pizza Hut flavor as you can.”

      My favourite New York pizza, Two Boots, is based on flavors from Italy and Louisiana, so I have no doubt that your mall pizza is better than most of the stuff I’m eating.

  • Nastassia writes:
    May 20th, 20104:03 pmat

    Your post is sufficiently blasphemous as to leave me flabbergasted.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 27th, 201011:05 amat

      It’s an Ohio thing; YOU wouldn’t understand.


  • David writes:
    May 20th, 20109:03 pmat

    So sorry our pizza is flavorless. I guess it is the lack of high fructose corn syrup and other “natural” flavorings. Come on now

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 25th, 20106:07 pmat

      Now, now, David, don’t be cross with me. I only ask for a little cilantro, maybe some red pepper flakes, anything to add to the plain tomato flavor. And I understand why people like brick oven pizza so much, but I only like burnt flavor on my marshmallows.

  • Ash Bancale writes:
    May 20th, 20109:20 pmat

    I’ve always thought New York pizza isn’t as good as everyone says it is, but kept it to myself for fear of angering New Yorkers :P… Surprisingly the best pizza I’ve ever had comes from a chain in the Philippines called ‘Yellow Cab’, which actually is trying to pretend it’s New York style…

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 27th, 201011:09 amat

      I think there’s a lot of that going on here. Like when people talk about how New Yorkers are actually nice and how New York is surprisingly clean. NOT TRUE! New Yorkers are horrible, dirty, mean people. But New York is still great.

      You and I can continue to enjoy our Papa John’s, Applebee’s, and Olive Garden without embarrassment together.

  • Lori Young writes:
    May 20th, 201010:29 pmat

    I’ve eaten plenty of pizza in my lifetime. Homemade, handmade, high falutin’ brick oven made. I’ve paid a little for a lot and I’ve paid a lot for a little.

    Pizza Hut pepperoni pan remains the frontrunner. I can’t eat it anymore since I don’t eat gluten (no wheat, rye, barley so no regular flour anything) but when the Pizza Hut commercials come on the TV I have to leave the room so I don’t burst into tears.

    I miss it. So much. *sob*

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 27th, 201011:43 amat

      You just endeared yourself to me beyond belief. It’s sad that Pizza Hut will never have to cater to people with health concerns and allergies; I guess the main advantage to living in a city that’s obsessed with health is that we have all sorts of gluten-free pizzas available. Petition time!

  • Kim writes:
    May 21st, 201012:14 pmat

    Wait, you don’t like New York style pizza? I mean, I knew about your affinity for chain pizza, but I just figured that was a loveable quirk, like how my top 5 snack foods includes both beluga caviar and marshmallow Peeps.

    Now I’m just bewildered.

    You don’t like CHICAGO style do you?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 27th, 201011:46 amat

      My impression of Chicago-style is that it includes lots of tomato chunks, which I’m not into. But yes, I appreciate that Chicago pizza is as tall as it is wide.

      If you can make a decent beluga-and-Peeps-based recipe, I’d love to feature it here.

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