Tell any New Yorker that their Italian-influenced palette is elitist and you’ll receive confused stares. That’s because what a non-New Yorker may think is elitist is but merely a finely-tuned palette, rigorously trained from years of consuming the best of the best pizza.
In an unwavering gastronomic bubble where even the rats have discerning taste buds for a decent cheese slice, when the champions reign, they reign supreme. We’ve filtered through the cream of the crop and compiled the 9 best pizza places in NYC.
Named the first pizzeria in the United States by the Pizza Hall of Fame, Lombardi’s in Nolita has been serving gloriously delectable pies since 1905. Today, you’ll find one of the most famous pizza places in New York championing their famous clam pie, which comes topped with a whopping three dozen chopped clams along with garlic and lemon.
You’ll find yourself hoping the tourists have decided to stay home so you can avoid waiting out front for too long, but even if you have to, it’s a minor price to pay for some of the best New York pizza. You won’t find slices here, but whole pies only, so make sure you’ve built up an appetite (or fridge space for leftovers).
8. Patsy’s Pizzeria
One of the rare NYC gems that sells its coal oven-fired pies by the slice, the original Patsy’s pizzeria in East Harlem has been a neighborhood institution since 1933. Aiming for a casual, family-style atmosphere, Patsy’s has a fairly large menu compared to the rest of the bunch, with a whole side for non-pizza items, such as grilled salmon and New York steak.
Although best known for their Margherita pie made with fresh mozzarella and their traditional thin crust, their Nutella (yes, Nutella) pie puts up quite a fight on its own. This local landmark has some of the best coal-fired pizza in NYC and is more than worth the small trek uptown (or from out-of-state)
7. Joe’s Pizza
Award-winning chefs and cheese-loving citizens alike profess the pros of Joe’s Pizza without an ounce of trepidation, and for good reason. With rooted history in Naples, Joe’s pies are the quintessential sign of authentic, old-world pizza.
It’s also great street slice, carrying a near-perfect ratio of sauce to cheese. You’re sure of a line, but at least you know it leads to possibly one of the best New York pizza experiences.
6. Di Fara Pizza
On first glance, you might think this Brooklyn pizzeria is simply understaffed. However, look a little closer and you’ll find Dom DeMarco, the original owner, handmaking every pie ordered. He knows working solo lengthens wait times, but no one seems to be complaining.
Dom makes the pizza the same way he’s made it for decades and it obviously appears to be working. How else could this restaurant be arguably one of the best New York pizza joints?
5. John’s of Bleecker Street
The coal-fired brick ovens inside John’s of Bleecker Street have been churning out pies for almost a century in this Greenwich Village pizzeria. Their calzone gets a ton of recent fanfare, but pizza is still what they do best.
Patrons can carve their name into the graffiti-laden furniture if they’d like to personalize their dining experience. Whether you choose to give your seat the old John Hancock or not, you’ll be glad you came for some of the best coal-fired pizza in NYC.
4. Joe & Pat’s
Not to be confused as the offspring of Joe’s Pizzeria and Patsy’s Pizzeria, Joe & Pat’s continues to keep Staten Island satiated with great pizza, year after year. A trip to Manhattan or Brooklyn simply isn’t needed to have a taste of Naples if you happen to live across the New York Bay.
In fact, you’ll quickly find residents from the other four boroughs making the hike to Staten Island just for a paper-thin, vodka sauce-coated slice, pizza as delicious as it is unpretentious. Pasta, seafood, and desserts also await diners to mingle with their taste buds if interested. For almost 60 years, Joe & Pat’s has been considered by many to be one of the best pizza places in NYC.
While you’re looking for the best brick oven pizza in NYC, turn your head or you might miss celebrities like Beyonce and David Beckham snapping culinary artwork for the ‘gram inside this tiny BYOB eatery in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Owner Marc Iacono opened Lucali to recreate the pizza that his grandmother would make him as a kid and it’s obvious his youthful food-centric experiences fully coat the restaurant’s menu.
Amidst Lucali’s rustic, yet romantic charm, don’t be surprised to hear passionate conversations about vino. Lucali is a haven for local wine lovers, a spot where they can bring and enjoy a bottle from their personal collection while savoring a large pie. At the end of the day, Iacono is keen on preserving old-world simplicity and flavor, and with Lucali, succeeds admirably.
Some say that variety is the spice of life. If you carry that belief, then Keste needs to be on your list of NYC pizzerias to explore. Visit the FiDi location for nearly 30 different pie variations, each and every one made with imported ingredients from Italy. They make vegan and gluten-free pies, but if that isn’t enticing enough, you’d be glad to know their pies are cooked in a scorching, 1,000-degree oven made from the lava clay from Mount Vesuvius. No big deal.
Kesté’s owner and chef is a member of the American chapter of Associazone Pizzaiouli Napoletana, an organization that gives full-blown certification to authentic Neapolitan pizzas, so you can be assured what you are ordering passes the authenticity test.
Kesté is translated as “this is it, ” and if you’ve eaten here, you’ll surely agree with that phrase, if not having already uttered it aloud at your table on your first visit.
1. Best Pizza
The name alone bluntly suggests one of the best pizza places in NYC, and we’re not so sure they’re wrong. Best Pizza in Williamsburg has started to put out one of the best white pizza slices in all of New York City. Constructed with pecorino and ricotta cheese, topped with caramelized onions, and built with a sesame seed crust, it’s also one of the best wood-fired slices in the city.
Best Pizza is standing room only, so TV binge takeout or an on-the-go slice gets preferred treatment here. If you want to save a white slice for another day, try their gluten-free pie or their popular meatball hero, as well.