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Pizza at Roberta’s in Brooklyn

Four Emperor's Pizza Entrance to Roberta's Pizza oven at Roberta's Pizza's at Roberta's main dining room at Roberta's pizza assortment at Roberta's  diners at Roberta's

Ask ten New Yorkers where to find the best pizza and you’re likely to receive ten different responses. New York is a serious pizza town, and opinions, like the styles of the pizzas themselves, vary. It might surprise some, then, that one of my very favorite pizza places isn’t focused only on pizza, and may not come to mind as quickly as Joe’s, or John’s of Bleeker Street, or Co., or Motorino (all of which are certainly part of the ‘very good New York City pizza’ club!). It’s true that Roberta’s excels at many things, and one of those happens to be turning out exceptional Neapolitan-inspired pies from their wood-burning oven.

Located in the once solely industrial neighborhood of Bushwick Brooklyn, Roberta’s minimal curb appeal belies the wonder of the experience within. An entire complex is tucked away behind its graffitied cinder block walls and the adjoining corrugated metal fencing, including the aforementioned pizza oven, several dining rooms, a bakery, a take-out window, a garden, an army-style tent to accommodate diners waiting for a table, a radio station, and a very serious high-end sister restaurant with two Michelin stars serving a set tasting menu at its chef’s counter. Though the restaurant is perpetually-buzzing, we lucked into a free table as soon we arrived one recent weekend, benefiting from the cold weather that must have been keeping many people home. Roberta’s doesn’t do much to dispel its reputation as a one of Brooklyn’s original hipster hangouts, but the staff are friendly and welcoming to children, and high chairs are available.

In the main dining room worn wooden picnic-style tables line the poured concrete floor. Once settled we perused the menu, and I remembered what I love so much about the restaurant – pretty much everything (no, seriously, everything!). The menu, filled with casual food prepared with precision and serious attention to ingredients, makes it very hard not to over order. Most of the pizzas employ topping combinations that skew toward the creative end of the spectrum, but classics like the Rosso and Margherita are always available. For our family of two adults, a nearly 4-year-old, and an 11-month old, we settled on a salad, a main, three pizzas (!), and a sticky bun to tide us over until the food arrived. We wanted to order a few more dishes but tried to our best to be reasonable. That said, if you’re there at dinner, the pastas are consistently excellent, as are the calzones. It’s impossible to order badly!

By the time the pizzas arrived we’d already eaten the sticky bun, plus a cucumber salad with with garlic and chili and a tonkatsu-style piece of pork over kale, stracciatella cheese, avocado, and chipotle. The pizzas feature house-made mozzarella, locally-milled flour in the crust, and vegetables from the restaurant’s garden when the season permits. Our picks for the day, the Four Emperors, with arrabbiata, mozzarella, ricotta, capra con pepe, asiago, and sesame seeds; the Guanciale & Egg; and the Fennel Countdown with mozzarella, pecorino, pancetta, fennel, and lemon were uniformly excellent, with well-blistered crusts that managed to stay pleasingly chewy. We fed little bites of each to the baby as we devoured them, slice after slice disappearing from the trays and happy smiles spreading across our faces. Don’t you love when kid-friendly comes hand-in-hand with adult-approved?

A few additional details:

  • The closest subway station is the Morgan Avenue stop on the L train.
  • Takeout and delivery, including excellent breads and pastries from their bakery, are available from 10am-12am daily.
  • The restaurant accepts walk-ins only, but does offer group dining packages for parties of 10-16 people.
  • If you can’t make it to the original Roberta’s in Brooklyn, the outpost at Urbanspace Vanderbilt close to Grand Central is a great alternative.
  • Blanca, the tasting menu-only restaurant with two Michelin stars behind Roberta’s makes an excellent special occasion or date night restaurant, but does require planning ahead (bookings are accepted 30 days in advance).

 


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Comments (1)

Sophie
November 14, 2018

I’m so excited about our New York trip but I’m nervous about traveling with the children so I appreciate all the help!! Thank you!


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