di-fara-pizza-brooklyn
That yellow can of Filippo Berio olive oil is a giant red flag. Run away.

I grew up in central New Jersey eating greasy pizza made by Italians who were either too lazy to source decent cheese, too greedy to splurge on the good stuff, or too confident their clients couldn’t tell the difference. Plenty didn’t have the culture to know any better. I know oily industrial cheese and second press olive oil when I taste it and I am neither willing nor able to overlook Di Fara’s liberal use of both. The ingredients, and consequently, the pizza, at the uber-famous Di Fara in the Midwood section of Brooklyn suck. I explain why on Food Republic.

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Carbs · Food & Wine · New York City · Pizza · Restaurants

11 Comments:


  • I used to have a great deal of respect for your comments , Katie, but your rant about DiFara pizza is too much for me to bear. I find this type of journalism–if you can call it that–incredibly off -putting. To insult so many of us who have enjoyed DiFara pizza for so many years– in the manner that you chose–makes your credibility suspect.

  • Katie

    Finally! A dissenting opinion written in a rational tone. I appreciate that. I have gotten some pretty ridiculous hate mail. I acknowledge your offense, but hope my rant (which was a commissioned piece, therefore, technically, journalism) opens people’s eyes to what junk is really being served at Di Fara. It has never been my mission to win any popularity contests and I feel strongly in saying what others don’t have the courage or knowledge to say. The response to the post has been overwhelmingly one of agreement, which I found quite surprising. I thought more had been duped by the sentimental reverence manufactured by the press and the “Made in Italy” scam. But actually lots of readers, food writers and chefs have reached out voicing their agreement.

    My post was simply bringing to light that which is so obvious. The yellow can in the photo should be proof alone that Di Fara celebrates low quality product–that’s Berio’s mid-range olive oil. Not extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil. Let’s do the math: a mid-range oil from a low quality producer. That adds up to repellent. If all the critics had done their homework in the first place rather than declare the ingredients at Di Fara the finest Italy has to offer, you never would have heard of the place and it would have remained a neighborhood place with filthy floors and a disgusting bathroom.

    Your credibility comment doesn’t deserve a response.


  • Try Pizza Time on the next corner. Waaaaay better


  • Thanks for clarifying. And your point about the credibility comment is well taken. I do really, really enjoy the Sicilian pizza at Di Fara. But, after all it is a neighborhood pizzeria. There is nothing high-brow about the place. I never bought into the hype about it being “the finest that Italy has to offer”. And yes, the place is filthy and the prices and waiting times are absurd. But compared to a great many neighborhood joints in the metropolitan area, it remains high on my list.


  • I feel their prices are absurd to start, The place is in fact filthy and extremly small you have to worry that when you are scrunched next to the wall a roach don’t crawl on you. The most important part is The 2 times I was there the pizza came outboth times burnt and they still had the nerve to serve it. Learned my leason..


  • You are probably correct in your assessment of this pizzeria (which I have never heard of) in NYC. It is just your tone that I find off-putting. You are young … many generations younger than my generation, so maybe I am out of touch, but there is such a thing as civility. What I find especially offensive is the headline. That word seems to be very popular but I find it vulgar.


  • While I also find the dedicated following DiFara commands, baffling when considering the actual pizza being sold, I’d be wary of using the Berio olive oil as the main indicator of quality.
    After all, venerated Naples institution Da Michele uses soy oil rather than olive oil as a topping for their celebrated pies. I’m sure there are many other examples. It is my opinion that sourcing high quality (expensive) olive oil for pizza is something of a waste since the nuances of flavor rarely bear up to the high heat of a pizza oven.

  • Katie

    Hey Tom! Da Michele is behind the times, as many Neapolitan pizzaioli have abandoned their low quality oils and high protein flours in favor of proper ingredients adapted to creating a light and digestbile base. Pepe in Grani and 50kalo are two Campanian pizzerias that are the current point of reference. Da Michele is famous but not the gold standard.

    Ingredients dont need to be expensive but they do need to be natural and the oil must be extra virgin olive always. the flavor nuances are not the point of using EVOO and no one would claim they are preserved. using any other kind of oil can create a heavier, less digestible crust and. The US pizza pie scene doesnt really consider digestibility but in Italy it’s of huge importance.

    drizzling Berio second press oil on top of a $30 pie as Di Fara does is unconscionable. the cheese di fara uses is industrial junk and the pizzas are heavy and greasy (due to the bad oil and the cheese which secretes oil because it is processed) and that is why they are bad. the olive oil is just one factor but it is not the only one. id say the cheese, which behaves like emulsified oil instead of dairy, is more offensive


  • Well 50 kalo only opened recently and Pepe in grani is not exactly typical of the region so I’m not sure if that can be used as a representation of Neapolitan/Calabrian pizza trends. I do take your point however regarding digestibility. Quality issues aside I think that one of the problems with Difara is balance. There is way too much cheese on a relatively thin pie, which in combination with the oil equates to a grease overload.

  • Katie

    Ciro Salvo and Franco Pepe are outstanding pizzaioli and neither of their venues are their first foray into the business. They are absolutely representative of the current Neapolitan/Campanian pizza trend of sourcing excellent materials, developing exceptional dough, championing pizza as a quality product. It’s been going on for a a few years now in a significant way though this is not very well documented outside of Italy.


  • Just noticed my typo re campania not Calabria!
    I think you’re right re: emerging trend of some prominent pizzerias/pizzaiolos with more careful sourcing of ingredients. Do you think international awareness/recognition of Neapolitan pizza has played a part in this re-examination of Neapolitan tradition?

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