Dining Out: Da Vinci’s Pizzeria

May 13, 2014 Helen Klein
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A classic Brooklyn style pizzeria can be hard to find these days.

` But, those in the know need only head to 18th Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets to enjoy a slice or two made the old-fashioned way, with love and top-notch ingredients.

There, Da Vinci Pizzeria dishes out a wide range of slices that feature incredibly crisp crusts topped with a variety of ingredients, just the way papa used to make them.

Indeed, brothers Angelo and Antonio Gnerre turn out pizza based on the recipes of their dad, Fedele, a self-taught pizza chef who hailed from Avellino, Italy, and who opened up the pizza place in 1966 after emigrating to this country, naming it Da Vinci in honor of the boat, the Leonardo da Vinci, on which he crossed to America to start his new life.

“We are trying to continue the family tradition,” noted Angelo, stressing that the brothers “still have the same recipes.” On top of that, he added, they have “introduced new products” that expand on the tradition.

That’s part of the duo’s recipe for success, as are “hard work and dedication,” said Angelo, noting, “A lot of it is the quality of the product. People talk you up and you have to back it up.”

We sampled a variety of slices. The Sicilian ($2.75/slice) is a Da Vinci’s favorite and it’s easy to taste why. Fluffy, well-baked and with a fantastic sauce-to-cheese-to-crust ratio, one slice might disappear so quickly you forgot you’d even eaten it if you weren’t licking sauce off your lips or fingers.

The Sicilian pizza, said Angelo, is, “Our staple. It’s what people really recognize us for, over the years.”

Da Vinci’s topping selections also stand out as delicious and fresh, with both classic and creative.

The broccoli, tomatoes and olives on the Fresh Vegetable ($3.50/slice) are neither sprinkled nor piled on, instead managing to be plentiful without falling off with every bite of the whole wheat crust, while the Buffalo Chicken ($3.50/slice) features a substantial helping of spicy chicken bites on a thick bed of melted cheese.

The White Pizza ($3.25/slice) is a must for cheese-lovers, with tangy ricotta atop melted mozzarella. The Fresh Mozzarella pizza ($3.25/slice) is rich and satisfying, with a large slice of the cheese melted atop a sweet, dense tomato sauce garnished with a basil leaf.

There are plenty of non-pizza options, as well. The Rice Ball ($1) is creamy and has a pleasant, not-at-all-overwhelming cheesiness, reminding one of us of risotto that has been breaded and fried. The herb-flecked Potato Croquette ($2) is large and well-seasoned, tasting a bit like eating the comforting mashed potato crust off of a shepherd’s pie.

No visit to any Brooklyn pizzeria is complete without an Italian ice for dessert and Da Vinci’s is no different. Their selections come from Gino’s Italian Ices, itself a Brooklyn institution. All the classic flavors are there, from lemon and rainbow to chocolate and blue raspberry ($1.75, small; $2.50, medium; $4.50, large).

Best of all, this top-notch food is absolutely affordable. Its modest price means that “it’s really open to everybody,” noted Angelo.

“For $10 to $15,” he stressed, “you can feed a family.”


6514 18th Avenue


10 a.m.-11 p.m., every day

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