Posted: March 31, 2023 in Food, frying, Italian, New York City, pizza, restaurants, Rhode Island, Uncategorized
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Despite the large Italian community we have here in southern New England, there’s no exceptional pizza to speak of. I suppose you could say “them’s fightin’ words!” but if it’s here, I haven’t found it yet. (Fellini Pizza is about the best in Providence.)

So where is the excellent pizza? New York City, of course. OK…maybe I’m prejudiced because I’m a Brooklyn boy, and worked in a variety of pizzerias in my younger days, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if you want the best pizza–or bagel, for that matter–you’ve got to go to the Big Apple. (Even “Frank Pepe’s” in New Haven, CT is a mere stop on the way to the real deal.)

Pizza in the Big Apple can be confusing, as there are many different varieties to choose from. Brick oven pizzas abound, but there are pizza lovers who won’t settle for anything less than an old-fashioned pizza baked in a coal-fired oven. The extremely high heat of a coal-fired oven cooks the pizza in just a minute, and imparts a crusty, charred flavor you can’t get any other way. There are only about a dozen coal-fired pizzerias left in New York City, and many of them have been around for a hundred years or more, so it’s definitely a matter of making a special trip to enjoy this style of pizza. (Providence now has its own coal-fired pizza, but it just can’t compare.)

There’s plenty of good, basic pizza in New York City, too: the traditional thin, round Neopolitan pie, and the thicker, square Sicilian pie, baked in that Blodgett pizza oven we all knew in our early pizza-making days.

Many years ago, when I heard through the pizza lovers’ grapevine that a “new” pizza was out there, one that was gaining a cult following, I needed to know about it. And more importantly, I needed to taste it!

It’s called Pizza Montanara, and there’s still only a few pizzerias in New York City that serve it. The one I go to without fail is PizzArte, on West 55th, and I have to say it’s the ultimate pizza.


Pizza Montanara, sitting next to me in the car, just waiting to be devoured.


What makes Pizza Montanara so spectacular, quite simply, is that the dough is fried in oil for 30 seconds, flipped and fried another 30 seconds, before they put the sauce and cheese on it, and then they cook it in a wood burning oven. It is not greasy. The frying process puffs the dough up and creates a beautiful pillow-like softness that I’ve never experienced in a pizza before. Imagine a pizza cloud and you’ve got Pizza Montanara.

Where to get Pizza Montanara.


I’ve made Pizza Montanara at home, with limited success. I poured a few inches of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, stretched my dough into a small pie, and gently floated it into the pan. Using a spatula and tongs, I was able to flip the fried dough over after about 30 seconds, then removed it from the pan after another 30 seconds. It was golden and puffy. I quickly sauced and cheesed it and in the oven it went. But it’s a messy process that doesn’t always come out just right. I need more practice!


Frying the pizza dough. I use olive oil for better flavor, but I have to watch the temperature, because the smoking point is low (about 375 for extra virgin olive oil) and burnt oil is not what anybody wants!



A homemade Pizza Montanara, with buffalo mozzarella and pepperoni.


A four-cheese Montanara, with mozzarella, sharp Provolone, Parmiggiano Reggiano, and ricotta…and lots of garlic!


Every time I post a photo of Pizza Montanara on Facebook or Instagram, my friends don’t believe that this could possibly be a life-changing pizza experience. It is. After a trip to Manhattan, we’ll devour 3 pizzas on the ride home. Nothing makes New York traffic easier to bear than a Pizza Montanara in the seat next to you!

Pizza Arte also makes one helluva gluten-free pizza.



  1. love this
    Great post! I’ve always been a fan of coal-fired pizzas, but I’ve never heard of Pizza Montanara before. The frying process sounds interesting and I would love to try it. Do you know of any other pizzerias in New York City that serve Pizza Montanara, or is it only available at PizzArte?


    • Alz355 says:

      Hi! I think there are a couple of others in the city, but I’ve never gone to any of them. I have to be honest… It’s so good at Pizzarte, I just don’t want to take the chance elsewhere! I don’t get into the city as often as I’d like to.


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