BEST EAST VILLAGE PIZZA - Offspring of the off-price Frank's Restaurant, LIL' FRANKIE'S overtook the challengers and has remained in the lead ever since it opened last year as the East Village's best pizza parlor. Hipsters seek out the rear room, with its classic view of a tenement garden, and bolt pizzas like the polpettine, littered with sage leaves and small savory meatballs
Any in-the-know East Villager will tell you it's all about the pizza. The genuine 12-inchers--cooked in a handcrafted brick oven with lava from Vesuvio--are dense and crisp, topped with gobs of mozzarella, curled-edged pepperoni and specialties like smoked ham. Fresh ingredients mark the other homemade recipes, from broad raviolis du jour to the sage-seasoned wood-roasted chicken with nicely browned but basic mashed potatoes. Conclude with a perfect tiramisu.
After the success of Frank's on Second Avenue, Frank Prisinzano opened this smaller pizza-~oriented offshoot with a garden out back. But none of Prisinzano's enterprises stay small for long; this one expanded into the next-door space, so now there's more room for neighborhood regulars to enjoy the thin-crust, wood-oven-baked personal pies. Classic marinara is lavishly sauced, while the cheeseless Bianca is liberally brushed with truffle oil and flecked with rosemary. As you might guess from the name, pizza is what Lil' Frankie's does best.
The irresistible offspring of Frank is distinguished by its custom-built brick oven, a tool used to sublime effect on everything from torpedo-size eggplants and lasagne alla Bolognese, to whole fish and terrific thin-crust pizza. The dense, earthy fava-bean soup teeters deliciously on the edge of oversaltiness, but cut it with a juice glass of Montepulciano, or get your vegetables the traditional way-in the unfailingly fresh Lil' Frankie's salad, a mound of zestily dressed arugula surrounded by neat piles of chopped vegetables and, to gild the Lil', cubes of Fontina cheese.
With a custom built brick oven donning Napolitan lava from Mount Vesuvius, Lil' Frankie's thin-crusted pizzas are memorable and deliciously fresh, despite skewing from the destinctive chew of New York's signature pizza dough. Straight from the oven and onto your plate, the restaurant's menu offers nearly a dozen classic pizza combinations by mixing and matching an endless number of delectable meats, cheeses, and vegetables. The capacious dining room features a tenement garden; one room is decorated with yellowing family photos while another is littered with mirrors. Wherever you sit, service is friendly and prices are fair. Gothamist recommends stopping by during mid-afternoon, after the lunch crowd and before the dinner one; grab a table, order a pizza, and you'll have the dining room to yourself.