Di Fara is a place I have heard/read about ever since moving to NY and started learning about the food here. I love pizza, and NY has some awesome pizza.. and I knew that if I wanted to pretend I knew anything about it, I had to eat here. It took me a while, but it finally happened. One Saturday I convinced Jennifer to hike out with me to Midwood and try Di Fara's legendary pizza.
It is a bit of a hike, especially if you're not in Brooklyn to start with, and especially if the Q is skipping some stops due to construction. You can call in your order (no delivery), but from what I can tell it doesn't mean that much. See, speed is not something you should expect here. The wait is part of the experience. And yes.. you will wait.
The man seen below, Domenico De Marco, has been at it for more than 40 years, and he is the only one making the pies. He uses authentic Italian ingredients, some sourced from his native village, and he's in no hurry. No. hurry. But you get the idea that he makes each pie as it he would want it, and I respect that. It's also fun to watch him drizzle the olive oil, grate the cheese and cut the basil (as he is doing to our pie below).
We ordered a meatball and artichoke heart regular pie, which cost roundabout $30-- a bit pricey, but also huge. The crust was crispy-chewy, not too thick and not too thin, and held it's own against the toppings. The sauce was bright and perfectly portioned, as was the cheese-- a mix including fresh mozzarella and parmesan. The fresh basil finishes it off perfectly. And of course, one of the draws of this place is the imperfections-- the wait, the lightly uneven toppings-- it's not perfect, but it is perfect in my mouth.
Di Fara is about the experience, and about a handmade pizza you're willing to wait for. I'll be back, anyway. -Laurel
Eating at Di Fara's reminds me of when I was little and I would wait (im)patiently to open presents from my grandfather at Christmas. He always gave me the best presents, remembering what I wanted from a mere mention or giving me some new, "high tech" gizmo that he read about in Consumer Reports. He gave me my first calculator watch, a pen with a clock on it, and he even gave my family our first computer.
In much the same way, Domenico De Marco makes some of the best pizza I've ever tasted, and I very much (im)patiently waited for the final product. He could sort of be called a pioneer...although he hasn't changed his ways in 40 years. He still laboriously (and yes, very slowly) makes each pizza by hand, and finishes them off with fresh ingredients. Also, he's a sweet old man, just like my grandfather, although Pop wasn't even remotely Italian.
Despite the expensive price and the long wait, this pizza was absolutely DELICIOUS - thick, crispy crust and fresh tomatoes, and the perfect mixture of mozzarella and parmesan. Most of all, artichokes are one of my favorite things to put on pizza (along with feta cheese and pesto), so I almost lost it when I realized they had the hearts. As you can see below, and as Laurel mentioned, one big complaint would be the uneven portions. One piece I got, I literally had to pick half off another piece, but it was so worth it.
For future reference, the pizza 100% stays warm until you get to Prospect Park (or wherever you're going, because eating in the actual restaurant is a hard thing to do). Make sure to get extra napkins and ask for a smaller box for leftovers - the box and pizza they give you are HUGE. Also, to avoid such a long line, go at an odd time - like 3pm or 4pm, but just know this will only shave 10 minutes or so off your hour or longer wait.
So go visit my Italian grandfather, and make sure you record him putting the finishing touches on the pizza...they call your name beforehand so you can watch. - Jennifer
Address: 1424 Ave. J at E. 15th St. (Midwood, Brooklyn)
Payment: cash only
Open Late: no, closed at 9 (last orders taken at 8:30)
Large Group Friendly: no, unless you take your pie and eat it elsewhere
Bar/Happy Hour: no alcohol