Review by: Roadfood Team

In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi started selling pizza on Spring Street, making his restaurant the first of its kind in the United States. The original Lombardi’s closed its doors in 1984, only to reopen down the block, at its current location on the corner of Mott and Spring Streets in 1994. Still operated by the Lombardi family, this Manhattan institution is a must-visit for any pizza enthusiast given its history and atmosphere that exudes a feeling of old New York.

While the nostalgic environment of Lombardi’s may be first class, the pizza itself is not. Maybe expectations have been set too high for this landmark establishment. Zagat reviewers claim that it is the “best on the planet”. The impressive coal burning oven can be seen by visitors as they walk through the kitchen. The pizza itself had several defects, the most obvious of which is the inconsistency of mozzarella cheese on each pie. Only fresh, sliced mozzarella is used, but it is spread sparingly over each pizza, leaving many bites without cheese. What is left (on a typical margarita pizza) is an average tomato sauce that lacks much flavor, an unnoticeable dusting of Pecorino Romano cheese, and fresh basil. The moderately thin crust, though chewy and firm, lacked the charred taste or crispness one would expect from a pizza cooked in a coal-fired oven. Also ordered were pies topped with a bland sausage and red onions and another with a more flavorful pancetta. Roughly a dozen toppings are offered.

Overall, Lombardi’s does not serve the best pizza around, but neither does it dish up a bad product. Service is efficient, quick, and friendly, avoiding the stereotypical brusque attitude that other New York establishments maintain. The excellent wait staff, combined with decent pizza and a great historical atmosphere, continues to make this pizzeria one of the most popular in the city.

What To Eat

Margarita Pizza

Sausage And Onion Pizza

Pancetta Pizza

Sausage Pizza

Gennaro’s Original Pizza


Lombardi’s Recipes


What do you think of Lombardi’s?

One Response to “Lombardi’s”

Dennis Smith

November 12th, 2008

I saw Lombardi’s on Food Channel shows several times, and I also looked it up on Roadfood.com; we made it a point to visit on the only open night (a Saturday) my wife and I had while visiting New York. We’d read in the Zagat guide that there is usually a line, and when we showed up around 7:00 there was a crowd; thankfully, everyone in front of us wanted a table for four or more and we just needed a little two-top in the back.

We started with the mozzarella, tomatoes and roasted red peppers; delicious. Then our masterpiece arrived: a small (12″) pepperoni, sausage and red pepper pizza. The sausage was sliced, not crumbled like we get here in Southern California, and delicious, as were the other two toppings. The crust was perfect from the oven, slightly crunchy but just chewy enough. The first pizzeria in America, and from my experience the best!


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