During the first week of Premier Chess Camp at ZPlay School, the campers and I decided the best pizza was at Freddie and Peppers – and the best service was from Little Italy Pizza. Let’s see how things fared when we tried another five places: Saba’s Pizza, Rays Pizza, Bagel and Company, Pizza Pete’s and Gigi’s….
On Monday, we decided to order from Ray’s Pizza, located on Columbus Avenue, between 82nd and 83rd Streets. Please do not confuse it with the original Rays Pizza, which was located on 6th Avenue and 11th Street; this location was famous for huge slices with boat loads of cheese. However, the pizza uptown was similar; if you like a pizza with a lot of cheese, this is the place for you.
On Tuesday, we catered to the two brothers at camp who keep Kosher and ordered from Saba’s on 80th and Amsterdam. While we chose Saba’s for dietary reasons, it turns out the kids liked this place the most! When I asked the kids, which was better – Saba’s or Rays – the kids said Saba’s hands down. Premier Chess instructor Lucca Castrucci and I decided to order one of the falafel pies. I was a little hesitant at first as it sounded like a weird mix, but it was delicious. I am going to recommend the idea to Israeli chains like Agvania!
Next up on the list was Pizza Pete’s, on Columbus Avenue, between 85th and 86th Streets. I frequently ate their 2 slice and soda combo for lunch when I went to the Dwight School a few blocks up. I was slightly turned off by the place before the pizza arrived. When I called to order, I asked for the pizza to be delivered in Riverside Park, where the kids were enjoying their soccer break. A few minutes later, after the kids were saying it was hot, I called back to ask that they change the address to ZPlaySchool’s address, which is in between Broadway and Columbus, actually closer to the pizza place. He told me I couldn’t change address; of course when I replied “OK- please cancel order”; he quickly changed his mind. When the pizza did arrive though, we enjoyed the nice thin slices.
By the time Thursday rolled around, I was honestly starting to struggle to find new places to try; however, I was on the mission to find the BEST pizza on the Upper West Side and had to try something new. Therefore, I decided to order from Gigi’s, which is located on 71st street and Broadway. This is actually the only place we did pickup from, as it was on the way from the PS199 court, where the kids had a basketball lesson with Michael Deutsch’s Hands on Hoops NYC. Gigis was cheaper than the rest of the places but that was the only advantage. When I asked for napkins, the lady told me to go to the dispenser. Of course, most of the ones that I carried blew away outside. When one orders two pies, they should give a handle of napkins in bag. Also for the double-sliced pizza, they did not give us nearly enough plates. Most importantly however, several of the kids claimed the place was a “ step-up from Dominoes” in taste. The slices had a mediocre crust and didn’t seem authentic. Gigi’s is a decent place to eat but stick to their salads, soups and other food items.
On the final day of camp, we ordered from Bagels & Co on 79th and Amsterdam. Each pie was several dollars more expensive than Saba’s, the other Kosher place we ordered from. The pies were a little on the smaller side and did not have enough tomato sauce.
Whether or not you keep Kosher, Saba’s wins the competition of best pizza in week two, hands down. The pizza has the perfect mix of tomato sauce and cheese and they have interesting items like the falafel one we ordered. If you haven’t already, you should definitely give the place a shot: http://www.sabaspizzanyc.com/
Here is a list of all 9 places we tried during both weeks of camp – listed from best to worst (keeping in mind pizza taste, price and service):
1) Freddie +Peppers
2) Saba’s Pizza
3) Little Italy
5) La Traviata
7) Bagel and Co
8) Pizza Pete’s
For more Upper West Side restaurant reviews, join our newsletter now!