San Matteo Pizza

The Upper East Side is not exactly known for its food. In fact, it’s generally assumed that the UES is simply filled with overpriced, bad Italian and not much else. This isn’t entirely wrong but we do have a few winners! We’re not an entirely food barren area, thank you very much. One such place is the newish San Matteo Panuozzo at 90th and 2nd ave. It opened in October and despite wanting to go immediately, it took me this long to actually make it there. I really should stop procrastinating because this is easily the best pizza in the area and probably one of the better pizzas in NYC. My friends and I have made it a mission to try all the best pizza in the city. Though the list is long and the journey arduous, we felt it our duty to eat the best of the best and report back to the good people of the world.

Prosciutto & Mozz Panuozzo

It is a tiny place, so avoid going with groups larger than 4 people but it’s definitely worth a trip. The 3 men who started the restaurant are all from Salerno and they bring with them the “panuozzi,” which is a sandwich made from the pizza dough and then stuffed with delicious goodness like cured meats and vegetables. We got the panuozzo with prosciutto, buffalo mozz, roasted red peppers, and added some arugula for good measure. Having the pizza dough as the bread is a pretty awesome idea. I thought the sandwich was good but the red peppers were overwhelmingly what you tasted the most. I’d like to try the others.

The Margherita

As for the pizza, it took much discussion and a good amount of time to decide on the following 3: Margherita, quattro formaggi, and porcini e tartufo. The pies are small, one person could finish off the entire pizza and still be ready for dessert and coffee afterwards, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The crust is slightly thicker than what I normally think of for a Neapolitan pie but it was nicely charred on the bottom and not at all soggy. It stood up really well to the toppings. The Margherita was absolutely my favorite, as they invariably tend to be when I get them. The tomato sauce was excellent, fresh and bright, and the mozzarella tasted creamy and slightly salty. My only complaint was that there were only 4 pieces of basil on the entire pie. I would have liked more.

Porcini e Tartufo

The porcini e tartufo was also delicious, though again, I wish there had been more mushrooms on it. I love mushrooms and I love truffles. They did not skimp on the truffle oil and it gave the pizza a wonderful earthy flavor.

Quattro Formaggi

Obviously anything with 4 cheeses can’t be bad and the quattro formaggi did not disappoint. The main flavor that comes through is definitely the gorgonzola. It’s the strongest cheese and it lends the most flavor to the pie. Even with all 4 of those heavy cheeses on top the crust didn’t buckle under the weight. I was impressed. Chewy and perfect.

I can’t wait to go back and try this place again. Anyone who lives on the UES is lucky to have San Matteo’s as the local pizza joint.

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