San Remo Pizza
40-20 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday.
Catering in-house or off-premises available;
be sure to call them for your next party
Italian food better than the views
BY LOU PARAJOS
You can find almost anything in Long Island City – arts and culture, great views, and great food.
Including, by far, the best pizza in New York.
San Remo Pizza, in the heart of Long Island City, at 48-20 Vernon Boulevard, offers up pieces of heaven – by the slice or by the pie.
For a quick lunch or dinner, stop in for a regular or a Sicilian to go, or even a calzone – from cheese to ham to sausage to Stromboli, which is ham, salami and cheese rolled and baked together in a superb crust. They even have beef patties.
Using only the freshest ingredients, owner Paolo Cimino – in the business nearly 30 years – makes San Remo a family affair. His son Vincenzo, 20, also works at the restaurant, where regular patrons are known by name.
“These guys are nice,” wrote one patron of San Remo on a blog. ‘Hey, how you doin’, how’s your day, what can I get ya . . . yadda, yadda.’ [They are] genuinely friendly and the pizza was fantastic.”
Each slice is extra large, with the tastiest sauce I have ever had.
Toppings range from pepperoni to sausage, broccoli to spinach and onions to mushrooms. Vegetarian and white pies are also offered. I had a white slice on a recent warm day, and it was the perfect lunch – light and delicious, yet filling and satisfying.
Then there is the San Remo Special – a thick-crust pie topped with everything. What makes this slice so great is that each ingredient stands out – no one overwhelms the other – and one piece is filling enough for a full meal.
Pies can be cooked to order – I personally like my crust golden, and Cimino hit the mark. If you, however, like yours well done, they will make the pie to perfection for you.
San Remo has Italian specialties too.
From spaghetti and meatballs to lasagna, it was as if I were eating at my grandmother’s. Portions are huge and accompanied by a side of Italian bread, and I had plenty to take home.
I especially loved their baked ziti, since ziti is my favorite pasta.
With a chunky, thick sauce that is obviously homemade, and fresh mozzarella on top, Cimino turns an everyday dish into an unforgettable meal – with enough for two.
In the mood for a hero?
San Remo offers sausage and peppers, meatball, chicken cutlet and eggplant, as well as the more exotic veal cutlet and shrimp.
Each can be prepared “parmigiana,” meaning with cheese, and extra sauce can be added as well.
I have to say, though, my favorite was the “pepper and egg” hero.
The Italian bread (an entire loaf!) is crispy on the outside, the peppers and eggs a sensual combination of textures and flavors that make this a “must have” hero.
San Remo offers free delivery, or just stop in to pick up your order.
And now, with the Fourth of July just around the corner, the pizza shop is a destination location.
Because of its proximity to the East River, the Macy’s fireworks can be seen right outside the doors of San Remo – which will have various flavors of Italian Ices to help you cool down before, during and after the show.
Cimino told me that he learned everything he knows from his father-in-law, who owned numerous places.
“The recipes are still the same,” he said, noting that he has each committed to memory, as does his son. “We take pride in our pizza so that you can enjoy it.”