Cheap Eats

Pies that bring you back again and again.

Margheritaville: A perfect pie at Nick's Pizza in Forest Hills.
Speaking of pizza pilgrimages, we've done Denino's (Staten Island), Totonno's (Coney Island), and Pepe's and Sally's (New Haven) -- all mandatory excursions for any pizza freak. But it takes more than a pizza margherita -- no matter how masterly -- to bring us back again and again.

At Nick's Pizza in Forest Hills, Queens, owner Nick Angelis's light, fragrant, superbly charred crusts ($11 and up) contrast beautifully with creamy fresh mozzarella --melted but not boiled over -- and bright tomato sauce and basil. No wood, no brick, no coal -- how does he achieve pizza greatness with a conventional gas oven? The mystery is part of Nick's allure. That, and a wine list that goes beyond the basic pizzeria house red and white, plus killer cannoli that will change forever your perception of the Mulberry Street staple.

A year ago, we tracked down a favorite ex-Mezzogiorno pie man at Sapori d'Ischia in Woodside, Queens, working for importers Frank Galano and his son Anthony, who've transformed their wholesale-gourmet-Italian-foods warehouse into a red-hot red-sauce dining destination where you can still get a great deal on imported pastas and cheeses. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there's live Neapolitan music; Thursdays are "opera nights." If the stellar thin-crust pizza, the homemade pasta pillows wrapped around spinach andricotta, and Wednesday's hunky headliner, crooner Paolo Siani, aren't enough to lure you out to this industrial desolation row, factor in the steep discounts on extra-virgin olive oil, 25-year-old balsamic vinegar, and aged provolone -- all up for grabs, if you can work your way around the boisterous crowd.

<<< Previous: Pita Sandwiches



· NICK'S PIZZA, 108-26 Ascan Ave., Forest Hills, 718-263-1126
· SAPORID'ISCHIA, 55-15 37th Ave., Woodside, 718-446-1500