NYC Dining: Arturo’s Coal Oven Pizza (UPDATED)

106 W Houston St, New York, NY
(212) 677-3820

Click for Hi-Res Slide Show!

I’m a huge fan of coal oven pizza. While I love a classic, NY-style steel deck gas oven pie that’s been properly made, no pizza baking fuel medium can match anthracite coal for its heat. At best, a steel deck Vulcan or a Bari, heavily tweaked, can hit about 600 degrees — but a coal oven, stoked to the max, can hit over 800. This heat cooks the pizza faster and produces a crisper effect on the crust.

One such pizza restaurant that I like to visit which practices the coal oven art is Arturo’s, in the Village, who’s founder , Arturo Giunta passed away back in 2006. The pizzeria was opened in 1957, making it one of the “newer” coal oven places in NYC. But for some reason, Arturo’s doesn’t seem to get as much respect as some of the more well-known coal oven centers of activity, such as Patsy’s, Grimaldi’s, Lombardi’s and John’s. I happen to think that when Arturo’s is -on-, their pies are as good or better than some of the other places. And in particular, I find their White Clam pie to be exceptional. You also can’t beat their live entertainment during the evenings.

In the original version of this post, my beloved Canon A620 shuffled off its mortal coil, and I had to resort to my emergency camera built into my cell phone. We revisited Arturo’s with a fellow food blogger last night (and the trusty new Canon G7) who pronounced the pizza some of the best she’s ever had.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for some seriously old-school coal oven pizza.


Piano Area

Bar Area

Main Dining Room

Rear Dining Room

White Clam Pie, with garlic and mozzarella cheese. Normally one would think having clams with cheese is weird, and against traditional Italian conventions for not serving seafood with cheese, but in this case it works. I strongly reccomend this pie.

A regular pie with bacon and mushrooms. Also much liked.

Plain Margherita Pie with Mozzarella and Fresh Basil. The Classic.

Margherita Slice Closeup

Meatball and Sorpressata Salami Combo. I’m definitely ordering this again.

Meatball and Sorpressata closeup.

White Pie with Spinach and Ricotta

The Kubanesque Upskirt shot. Nice char.

Pizza In the Rain.

10 Responses to NYC Dining: Arturo’s Coal Oven Pizza (UPDATED)

  1. Elmer says:

    Good call. I’ve been saying that Arturo has had great pizza for years, but no one would believe me.

  2. Bux says:

    “I happen to think that when Arturo’s is -on-, their pies are as good or better than some of the other places.”

    Inconsistency will lose fans as fast as mediocrity sometimes. If you don’t know a place is going to be on, if you can’t be sure of getting excellence before you go, you’re not likley to go very far out of your way. I haven’t been to Arturo’s in a while, but on the whole, I’ve enjoyed their pizza more than Lombardi’s.

  3. Inconsistency appears to be a huge problem with all of the coal oven places. I find Arturo’s to be the most consistent, with Patsy’s following. I like Patsy’s pizza better when it is fully “on” but its possible to get a substandard pie at Patsy’s. The other places I mentioned, such as Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s and Totonno have similar issues with consistency.

    • tthekkid says:

      Arturo’s blow Patsy’s out of the water. Twice I had pizza at the one near Union Sq and both times it was soggy. I am interested in what you think of N0. 28? I really enjoy them.

  4. R Washburn says:

    But have they solved there rodent problems? Last time I was there a mouse caromed off my wife’s foot while we were enjoying our pizza. Our waiter assured us that we had mistaken the cat for a mouse.

    What is really surprising is how easy it is to make good pizza, yet how few places bother to do so.

  5. sturgo says:

    Hay, that’s a really interesting blog you’re running! You should take your culinary blogging skills overseas and do a couple of reviews around Europe.


  6. […] by a place like Trattoria Sorrentina, a NYC anthracite coal oven pizza like Patsy’s or Arturo’s, or even a high quality steel-deck gas pie such as the venerated DiFara in […]

  7. I’m way behind the times on this post, but even though I’m now based here in Sydney Australia,, I’m a pizza purist, and my favorite NYC pies are still at Arturo’s, and I’ve been happy that the tourists have been going elsewhere. The meatball is my pick, you just can’t beat it, and I was happy to see a little variety in the sopressata/meatball combo. I was last home in February, so I made the mandatory pilgrimage to Arturo’s and the to Di Fara spin-off just down the street. Both were delicious, but Arturo’s continues to occupy the top spot, save Peppi’s and Sally’s in New Haven.

    Oh, and if you ever make it to Australia, the artisan pizzas at Lladro in Melbourne’s FItzroy are worth checking out.

  8. jerry delmonico says:

    I stopped in with a friend who told me the pizza was the best. I was blown away, it took me back to my childhood and ‘coal burning ovens. I also sang a couple of tunes with the jazz duo that was playing. Great place!

  9. tthekkid says:

    WelCome Home!
    This is the greeting you will generally receive when walking into this excellent example of old-New York Family Style Italian dining. The Chef is what I call an over achiever, the specials are far more delicious then what you might expect to find at a “Pizza Bar”. Although the Pizza is very good the real values are the sandwiches, salads and Clams Arturo. THEN THERE IS THE JAZZ! With no cover charge! It is simply the best in NYC. The Harry Whitaker Trio is usually in session and always has special artists sitting in. The waiters sing as well. Jimmy, who is more of a host then waiter, is by far the last great waiter in NYC. He remembers your particulars, comps and deserves the highest tips you can pay. As mentioned by others, you can also eat at the bar. Tony your bartender, who looks like Al Pacino, fills all drink orders. He also takes bar food orders and closes out every cash receipt himself, without a hitch. The crowd literally varies in age from the ancient to the very young, but the patrons are generally the 30-somethings and the NYU hip. Every local NYC celeb knows about this place and occasionally as well as inconspicuously drops in. Did I mention the KITCHEN IS OPEN LATE and they DELIVER! Unfortunately Arturo as well as Harry left us but Here’s to Arturo’s forever!!

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