Established in 1905, Lombardi's claims to be America's first full-fledged pizzeria. An old-style Italian atmosphere is created in this cozy space with checked tablecloths and black and white pictures hanging on painted brick walls. Their coal oven thin crust pizza is touted by many to be the best in Manhattan -- which results in long lines to get a table. Often waits can be an hour or more to sit down, although weekday lunches and mid-afternoon on the weekends tend to be less busy.
Pizza purists will be satisfied with Lombardi's standard pizza ($18.50 for a 6-slice small/$22.50 for an 8-slice large) it combines fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce and is topped with Romano cheese and fresh basil. The thin crust is flavorful and perfectly textured: the crispy, blackened bottom combines with a moist, slightly yeasty fullness at the pie's edges.
If you like toppings on your pizza, Lombardi's offers a wide array of high quality choices: pancetta, sweet Italian sausage, homemade meatballs, ricotta impastata, imported anchovies, roasted peppers, calamata olives, red onions, fresh mushrooms, and beefsteak tomatoes can all be added to your pizza ($3-4 for toppings on half or a whole pie). They also have a white pizza which has mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino romano, garlic infused oil, pepper and basil ($18.50 small/$22.50 large). Lombardi's is also well known for their fresh clam pizza, which is made using hand-shucked clams, oregano, fresh garlic, parsley pecorino romano cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh ground pepper ($28 for small).
Aside from pizza, there are calzones ($15), mesclun salad ($9, large enough for 2), baked clams ($9), mozzarella and tomatoes ($10.95) and oven-roasted portabella mushrooms ($6.50) -- though personally, I'd save room for more pizza. You can wash down your pizza with fountain sodas ($1.75), wine ($4.50/glass) or beer ($3.50 - 4.25).
Service can be brusque though it's such a busy spot, it's not totally surprising.
Pro-tip: across the street is Rice To Riches, a store that features more than 20 flavors of rice pudding at any time. It's crazy rich stuff, but it's pretty delicious and makes a perfect dessert stop after Lombardi's (or if the wait to dine at Lombardi's is making your stomach growl, you have my permission to have a "backwards dinner" and start with dessert.)
Address: 32 Spring St
Phone: (212) 941-7994
Nearest Subways: 6 at Spring Street
Cross Streets: between Mott and Mulberry Streets
Price: $20-30 for pizza and and beverages for 3-4
Special Info: Cash or Check only, No Reservations
Official Website: Lombardi's Website