Thursday, December 6, 2007

News readers choose borough's best pizza

IN QUEENS: BELLA VIA (47-46 Vernon Blvd. at 48th Ave.; 718-361-7510)

See audio slideshow


Five years ago, when Sal Polito, the chef and an owner of Bella Via, stood admiring the view of the Manhattan skyline from the street outside his brand new Long Island City restaurant. Suddenly, he had the perfect name for his new venture: Bella Via, or "beautiful way."

Life's been beautiful ever since at this family-run restaurant – sister-in-law Vicki and her son, "Little Sal," 23, are always on hand. They toss some thin-crusted beauties that hold some of the best and most imaginative toppings around.

"We use the real San Marzano tomatoes," says Polito, expertly slicing up one of his pies for a diner to sample. "This makes a big difference in the color and flavor of our sauce."

That well balanced sauce is the base for a number of delicious pies, including the regular margarita, which is scattered with fresh mozzarella and slivered basil, as well as a terrific arugula and prosciutto pizza. For this one, a pie crowned with mounds of peppery fresh arugula is tossed with slivers of prosciutto. Another winner is the four seasons, or quattro stazione, in which each quarter of the pie has different toppings like mushrooms, artichokes or ham.

What sets this pizza apart from many others is the crisp crusts – and that everything is super-fresh.

"All our pizza is cooked in a brick oven," Vicki Polito says. "And nothing is mass-produced. We make our dough every day. The cheese is handsliced with a knife, the old fashioned way. Everything is fresh done to order so people may have to wait a bit to have their pie."

Since it tastes so good, no one's complaining about the wait. Just ask voter Jay Meehan. "Best brick oven pizza in New York!" he emailed. It's a sentiment echoed by the legions of fans who come here from all points of the city to order Polito's perfect pies.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Manetta's on Jackson Ave near Vernon in LIC is also very good.

Michael said...

Rosa's on Fresh Pond road, best Sicilians in the world.

ken said...

that pie in the photo looks delicious. I could eat it in one sitting! :)

Anonymous said...

"Pizza di Politico" ......

"4 and twenty council/crooks baked in a pie.....
when the pie was opened
those birds began to sing...."

and rat each other out !

There is no loyalty among thieves
holding public office.

georgetheatheist said...

I finally checked out Gaby Pizza (204-33 Hillside Avenue) the other day. It was voted "best pizza" on the Rachel Ray Show [yoickks!] over a contender from Chicago - they have a sign in the store telling the customers that. Let me tell you, it was no big deal. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 6.5-7.5. Just a normal workmanlike slice you'd find in countless NYC pizzerias.

BTW 1. Isn't it unsanitary to make and handle pizza while touching money?

2. How do pizzerias handle sales tax? Chinese take-out joints too. Hot dog and falafel vendors as well. Some charge the tax, some don't. Is the sales tax included in the posted price? Or is it all, wink-wink, under the table?

Anonymous said...

hey crapper, good to see you finally posted a positive link on the queens west area

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is who is doing the voting? The hipster yuppies jackoffs from Wisconsin who have infiltrated the area and wouldn't know a good slice if it bit them in the ass?

verdi said...

Anyone remember
the "Pizza Connection" case years back.....
they were hooked up to "the mob" ?

The same situation might apply
for all of these cash business food emporiums!

Our tax dollars are going under the table.....
maybe some of it "pays protection".... George!

Anonymous said...

delicious pies, with mounds of peppery fresh arugula

The A-hah word is ARUGULA the moment countless food places mention arugula, you just know that they are targeting non-natives who swoon at the thought of paying up to eat sour lettuce for acceptance in a fabricated sophistication.

No knock on Bella Via - they are probably raking in the green, I am sure their pizza is good at $5.00 per slice if you could purchase it that way. Must be good business people.

Go to Singha famous 30 years on B-way, Elmhurst - see their customized personal pizza for all tastes that go no higher than 6.50 - a working man's feast for 30 years - India's answer to pizza.

Anonymous said...

There's always Dee's on Metro if you like brick oven pizza. Even O'Neill's has it now.

ken said...

$5.00 a slice? Good God! :-o

Panzer65 said...

Many New York pizza parlors are similar, they just act different. That being said, outside of NYC you can't find a better pizza. I like New Park on Cross Bay Blvd. It has the 'dive" atmosphere that many claim are the best places around. It also has a parking lot and a no frills dining area.

georgetheatheist said...

Hey, face it, you get the best pizza overall in the United States, yo, in Noo Yawk. Better even than in Eee-tal-ee! What's better than going for a walk on a bitterly icey day in late January-early February, stopping in the pizza jernt, and devouring a fresh-out-of-the-oven slice where the mozzarell burns the skin of the roof of your mouth! Better than dining at LeCirque! Hey, I could eat pizza all day long. Bury me between 2 slices.

Anonymous said...

The pizza that you see is $9.95 for the entire pie! Not $5.00 a slice. Bella Via is a great place with great food as well as the pizza.

ken said...

pretty good deal. Put me down for 3pies and a large rootbeer.