Margherita with sausage.

Pre-Theater Dining at Don Antonio in Manhattan

After trying the lemon pizza at o lar and then seeing on Small Bites that David DiBari was also serving it from his DoughNation pizza truck, I did a little investigating into the history of the dish. Turns out, they’re making it at just two places in Manhattan: Keste, where the pizziaolo at o lar once worked, and Don Antonio, which is owned by the same guy. I did a story on it for The Journal News here.

Fried pizza at Don Antonio by Starita.
Fried pizza (!) at Don Antonio by Starita.

After doing the story, I knew the next time we had theater tickets that we absolutely had to go there. Neapolitan pizza, from a chef who also owns a pizzeria in Naples? I’m in.

Don Antonio interior


We went for lunch just before seeing The Other Place. (Highly recommended, btw.) Turns out, we did not order the lemon pizza after all. But what we did order — a fried pizza and a margherita with sausage — was really outstanding.

According to the web site, the pizze fritte, or lightly fried pizza, is a signature dish.

 “Montanara Starita”, which is flash-fried pizza dough topped with signature Starita tomato sauce and imported smoked buffalo mozzarella, finished in the wood burning oven. This is a combination and technique first created by Antonio Starita over ten years ago and is now emulated by many pizza makers today.

It give the dough a light crunch, not unlike a really light zeppole, and makes the pizza irresistible.

Greg ordered the margherita with sausage:

Margherita with sausage at Don Antonio.
Margherita with sausage.

Also fantastic.


In the back of the restaurant, there’s a TV that broadcasts the view of the pizza makers working:

Don Antonio by Starita

Not only is the food great, there is a very nice cocktail program. They have all sorts of housemade bitters and salts and spices, as well as tons of obscure and unusual liquors and liqueurs. We were there for lunch, so we did not imbibe, but next time, we will!

The best part about Don Antonio is the pizza. But the second best? If you’re in a rush pre-theater, your meal is ready in about 5 minutes. Make it a stop next time you’re in midtown.

The 411 on Don Antonio by Staria: Here is your answer for pre-theater dining. A Neapolitan pizza restaurant where the specialty is “lightly fried” dough, which is finished in the wood-fired oven. Exposed brick and a big copper bar in the front; a simple dining room with a closed-circuit television broadcasting views from the open kitchen in back. An excellent wine and spirits menu, too. 309 West 50th St. near 8th Ave., Manhattan. 646-719-1043.


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