Little Italy Pizza and the Futile Search for a good Chicken Parm

The search for a good Chicken Parm sub in Midtown trucks on.  This week’s stop is Little Italy Pizza on 45th btw. 5+6th.  If you spend any time reading the comments posted to Midtown Lunch, then you know about Little Italy Pizza, and its neighbor across the street, Park Italian.  Both places have their fans, and detractors, serving up what amounts to two pretty mediocre chicken parm subs.

I’m not saying they are inedible.  I’m just saying mediocre.  A Chicken Parm Sub is going to taste good by default.  Any sandwich that consists of fried chicken topped with sauce and cheese is going to have its redeeming qualities.  Sure the sauce may be too sweet, the cheese may be no good, the bread may be soggy, or not toasted- but in the end it’s still a fried chicken sandwich.  It’s going to taste good enough to eat.  That being said, I’m not going to to tell you to go to Little Italy Pizza for the chicken parm.  It’s just ok.  The pizza on the other hand… now that’s a different story!

Awesome pizza porn, and a +/- after the jump…

The chicken parm by itself was eh.  Take the same chicken and put it on top of a slice… jackpot!

There was also buffalo chicken

Baked Ziti pizza

Eggplant Parm Pizza

A tomato, mozzarella & pesto pizza

And a larger than normal array of grandma style Sicilian pizzas

The selection is overwhelming (the photos aren’t even half of the slices they offer), and everything looks amazing.  The tough part is deciding which slices to choose.  I’m not a pizza connoisseur, so I can’t comment on the sauce, or the elasticity and crunch of the crust- but I really enjoyed both slices I got.  The only downside- we’re in Midtown and the slices with stuff on top of them range from $3-4, meaning two slices and a soda is going to cost you over $8.  Ridiculous.

You can’t beat 2 regular slices of plain cheese NY pizza (costing you under $5 at most places), and I’m still a huge fan of the the various 99 Cent Pizza places- but every once in a while a pizza splurge is in order.  If that’s what you are looking for, Little Italy Pizza will work just fine.

THE +

  • Amazing selection of delicious looking pizzas
  • Much larger selection of Sicilian slices than I’ve ever seen, with a thin crust, and  great toppings like large slices of mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.  Good stuff. 

THE -

  • Too expensive.  Slices are $3-4, making your bill for two slices and a soda over $8 sometimes.
  • Mediocre chicken parm sub.  The bread is better than the Park Italian version across the street, but overall not a great sub.

Little Italy Pizza, 55 W. 45th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-730-7575

32 Comments

  • a couple more +s — if I’m not mistaken, Little Italy also sells beer, and has a tiny bathroom up front by the register

  • just be sure to go to little italy during normal lunch hours. the pizza is much better/fresher. any later than 3p and it tastes like its been reheated half a dozen times.

  • Park Italian has very good bread. Unfortunately, they occasionally run out of it so you get stuck with mediocre bread that isn’t nearly as good. Be sure to ask. Little Italy’s pizzas are incredible, and they have more, cleaner seating than a lot of other comparable places.

  • I like Bravo Pizza over on 42nd and 5th. I don’t know if they have the best Chicken Parm, but I preferred their’s to Park Italian and Little Italy after trying both. I’d ask for some extra sauce.

    Pizza wise, its hard to say who’s better between Little Italy and Bravo, but Bravo does the fresh mozz, tomato and basil pizza really well.

  • The pizza is better at the other Little Italy (not affiliated with this one) on 43rd between 5th and Madison. Check it out. The line is out the door during prime lunch hours. Their prices recently went up, but the pizza is very good.

  • i always go for the tomato/pesto/mozzarella slices, very tasty

  • Manganaro’s Hero Boy on 9th ave has the best chicken parm hero I’ve seen in midtown.

  • i’m a little dissapointed with the glossing over of park. i feel like you missed the boat a little if attention was only given to the chicken parm hero. besides, it’s dirty, serves lots of fatty foods and you can get a huge amount of food for around $8…i thought those were ML’s requirements…

    now, if you’re afraid to “review” it because you think you might end up in the east river with cement shoes, that’s a whole other story…and somewhat understandable.

  • haha. nice. don’t you worry… Park Italian will get their day in the sun. but it certainly won’t be for the Chicken Parm. Although the comment about the bread is interesting… because I thought the bread was the worst part about the Sub at Park Italian. What is the “good” bread like?

  • Gyro/Doner on a pizza is lovely too.

    At 1 am saturday.Normally.

  • what about eggplant parm in midtown?

    somedays i would kill for a good cheesey eggplant parm at lunch- those panini things just dont do it for me.

  • Has anyone tried the chicken parm at La Bellezza Pizzeria on 49th, right next to the W Hotel? I wish the pizza there were better, because it’s the only real pizza joint I’ve found in midtown. It’s legit pizza from a hole-in-the-wall place. There’s no case of premade salads, there aren’t any fruit cups, no nonsense. I’ll have to bite the bullet and try the chicken parm sammich and report back.

  • Vishal – agreed on Bravo – they make a delicious fresh mozz pie, but their offerings by the slice are nothing special, in my view.

    Hungry – what is this Park Italian mystery bread of which you post? Do tell.

  • It isn’t mystery bread – I personally think their standard bread is great – usually extremely fresh and soft while maintaining its shape. However, I went a week or two ago on the late side (around 2 pm) and they told me they were out of their standard bread and gave me a shorter roll that tasted borderline stale. So I’m wondering if that’s what others have had. I eat there about once a week and that’s the only bad experience I’ve had, but maybe I just like my bread different than others.

    Though I love their chicken parm, I agree that they have some other great sandwiches too – very fresh meat at dirt cheap prices. And I also agree that it feels like a scene out of the Sopranos, though I find that to be part of the charm.

  • Mondello’s Pizza on 37th st. b/w 5th and Madison makes the best chicken parm i’ve ever laid lip on. Thick crispy-yet-tender slabs of meat, gooey mozzarella, and you get the option of adding extra succulent homemade tomato sauce and/or a healthy shower of parmesan. Long lines midweek, but they move quickly. For a $6 wedge of heaven, who’s complaining?

  • The other Little Italy Pizza on 43rd between 5th and Madison clearly has better tasting pizza than the place you’re reviewing now. As for Park Italian, it has great deli meats, but everything else is for the birds.

  • hmmm…how about a chicken parm week like you did with the falafel week?? Try a different one every day and then decide which you feel is the best!
    :)

  • WOW! That is a brilliant idea! I’m not brave enough to do a chicken parm week myself, but would love to read about zach’s chicken parm adventures.

  • ML Chicken Parm Week, brought to you by Nexium and Lipitor.

  • Chicken parm at John & Tony’s on 9th ave (40/41) is exquisite. Sesame seed bread, a virtual brick of chicken parm, really cheesy, almost enough for two people.

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