Where to Find the Best Pizza in NYC
NYC is rich in a lot of things—architecturally innovative skyscrapers, world-renowned cultural institutions, and oh...yeah, really freaking good pizza. From the boonies of Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan, these are our 10 favorite places to grab a slice.
Pizza Loves Emily, Clinton Hill and West Village
In a city saturated with pie slingers, what sets Emily apart from the cheese-pulling crowd? To start, the husband-and-wife–owned Clinton Hill and West Village shops serve up gourmet pizza crafted from hand-mixed doughs and handmade mozzarella in a warm, cozy, New American bar atmosphere where tables are close enough to the wood-burning oven that you’re almost forced to drool over every pie being pulled out. Our favorite pick off the menu is the eponymous Emily; found under “the whites,” the pie is a seemingly odd but out-of-this-world combo of mozzarella, pistachio, truffle sottocenere, and honey. Pro Tip: reservations here go fast—especially on weekends. If you can’t secure a coveted spot on your night of choice, try your luck at Emmy Squared, the duo’s other restaurant which specializes in Detroit-style deep-dish pies.
L&B Spumoni Gardens, Gravesend
Thick Sicilian pies and classic, creamy spumoni are the calling cards of this Brooklyn-based pizzeria. Before it became a Gravesend landmark, L&B Spumoni Gardens was a humble operation run by Italian immigrant Ludovico Barbati, who sold pies around the neighborhood from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. Now run by fourth-generation family members (this place has serious pizza pedigree), the 86th Street institution serves a full Italian menu (think veal marsala, chicken piccata, zuppa di pesce, etc.), but we’re still partial to their pizza.
Di Fara Pizzeria, Midwood
Before you make the trip to the boonies of Brooklyn—Avenue J in Midwood, to be exact—make sure you check Di Fara’s hours of operation. The 15-seater shop is run entirely by 83-year-old, Italian-born Domenico De Marco, so we’ll let the odd hours fly. Since 1964, ‘Dom’ has been hand-crafting every pie sold (up to 150 a day), while his children offer sous chef support. Di Fara’s cheese slices may cost $5, but they’re one of the most sought-after in all of the city, and the crowds that form down the block prove it. Before you gawk at the price, consider the fresh ingredients’ source: flour, extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are all flown in from Italy, while the basil is imported from Israel.
Paulie Gee’s, Greenpoint
Gourmet pizzeria Paulie Gee’s has stolen the hearts of Greenpoint dwellers and greater New Yorkers alike with its inventive options like the Monte Cristo (a mild gouda and sliced Canadian bacon pie drizzled with pure maple syrup) and the Anise and Anephew (a fresh mozzarella and braised fennel pie topped with anisette cream drizzle, Berkshire guanciale, and fennel fronds). Next time you’re looking for a mouthwatering slice, skip Seamless and hop on the G—it’s worth the commute.
Roberta’s, Bushwick and Midtown
This trendy Bushwick joint hawks light, fluffy, wood-fired pies out of a converted warehouse/garden/restaurant compound that occupies an entire city block. Dubbed a “hillbilly-hipster juggernaut” by NYMag, the spot has graduated from serving just pizza to a well-rounded dinner menu featuring candied walnut and mint salads, dry-aged wagyu carpaccio, Eastham scallops with peach and celery, and more. That said, we’ll always be loyal to pizza picks like the ShroomsDay Device (topped with taleggio, oyster mushrooms, pickled onions, scallions, black pepper, and cream) and the Bee Sting (tomato, mozzarella, basil, sopressata, chili, and honey).
Motorino Pizza, East Village, Upper East Side, Williamsburg
Motorino has outposts around the world—Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, and more—but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s adopted the shortcomings of a typical chain. In NYC, the pizzeria’s East Village, UES, and Williamsburg shops dish up wood-fired Neapolitan-style red and white pies cooked to the specifications of young, Belgian-born chef Mathieu Palombino, who cut his teeth at some of NYC’s finest kitchens (including BLT Fish). While you can’t really go wrong, we recommend the Bresaola and Baby Kale, crafted with fior di latte, fresh baby kale, parmigiano, and extra virgin olive oil.
Speedy Romeo, Clinton Hill and Lower East Side
Not all pizza joints offer ambiance, but if you’re looking for a date night-approved spot, Speedy Romeo has you covered. The pizzeria’s original BK storefront is situated in a 100-year-old bar-cum-liquor store-cum-auto parts shop that’s now centered around a wood grill brought in from Mesquite, Texas. Over on the Lower East Side, the pizzeria’s second outpost is a two-room, 100+ seat set-up that revolves around a marble horseshoe bar. At both, the Italian-influenced American menu comes courtesy of chef Justin Bazdarich, who’s secured Speedy Romeo a spot on the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list every year since 2013 with mouthwatering, innovative options like the White Album (bèchamel, roasted garlic, mozzarella, ricotta, provel, pecorino, and parm) and Paul’s Boutique (Katz’s pastrami, dijon bèchamel, smoked red kraut, fontina, thousand island dressing, and everything bagel crust).
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, DUMBO, Coney Island, Flatiron
When Patsy Grimaldi set out to open a pizzeria in 1990, he faced his fair share of hurdles. At the time, it was illegal to run coal-fired brick ovens—the very cornerstone of his business—in Manhattan, so he had to take his operation across the East River to DUMBO. Flash forward to 2018, and Grimaldi’s 1 Front Street location is the most famous, though it has since changed hands. (Fun fact: you can find Patsy Grimaldi right next door at Juliana’s Pizza—his circa 2012 rival venture.) Fair warning: don’t wander down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in search of a single slice. Here, it’s full pies only, but diners don’t seem to mind one bit.
Joe’s Pizza, Greenwich Village
If you’ve done even an inch of research, you’ve stumbled across Joe’s. The Greenwich Village institution opened its doors in 1975 when Naples native Pino "Joe" Pozzuoli brought classic slices to Carmine Street. Now, some 38 years later, the shop has moved a few doors down, but not much else has changed. Tourists swing by to try out the authentic pies and New Yorkers shuffle in after work for a pre-commute slice. The other constant: Joe himself. At the age of 75, he still personally looks over his iconic pizza counter, continuing to embrace the fact that the joint has “no glossy corporate backing, no fancy pants pies, no pretentious nonsense and no gimmicky budget pizza either.”
Zero Otto Nove, NoMad and the Bronx
Venture to NoMad or the Bronx and transport yourself to a Southern Italian trattoria. The roomy pizzerias known as Zero Otto Nove serve Salerno-style dishes from chef Roberto Paciullo and ingredients are fresh as they come, with mozzarella purchased daily from Casa della Mozzarella and tomatoes imported from the San Marzano region. While antipasta, insalata, zuppe, primi piatti, and secondi piatti are all on the menu, get at least one pie to share. We have eyes for the La Riccardo (butternut squash puree, smoked mozzarella, spicy pancetta, and basil) and the Quatro Latte (mozzarella, goat cheese, pecorino, fontina, and cream of black truffle).
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