Best Pizza in New York City

  • 01 of 11

    Lombardi's Pizzeria

    Lombardi's - America's first pizzeria
    ••• Mitchell Hall/snazzy54/flickr.com Creative Commons License

    New York City is famous for many delicious treats, including bagels, deli sandwiches, and even dim sum, but don't miss out on a chance to sample some of New York City's famous pizza.

    New York City's first pizzerias used coal-fired ovens to cook their thin crust pies, which were introduced to the city by Italian immigrants from Naples. The pizzas were typically prepared with the cheese on the crust and the sauce on top of the cheese. Interestingly enough, many of New York City's most famous pizzerias have a shared history -- the first pizza maker at Lombardi's went on to open his own shop, Totonno's on Coney Island.

    Even though there are places to grab a quick slice on nearly every street, I want you to experience the very best pizza New York City has to offer, so I suggest you try one of my picks. First up, Lombardi's.

    Established in 1905, Lombardi's claims to be America's first full-fledged pizzeria. Checkered tablecloths and black and white pictures hanging on painted brick...MORE walls offer a great backdrop for enjoying top-notch coal oven pizza. While all the pizza is delicious at Lombardi's, the clam pizza is a special treat, with whole clams adding a salty punch to the delicious pie.

    Lombardi's Details

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  • 02 of 11

    Grimaldi's Pizzeria

    Pizzas Being Made at Grimaldi's Pizzeria
    ••• Pizzas Being Made at Grimaldi's Pizzeria. Photo by Heather Cross, Licensed to About.com

    Grimaldi's outstanding coal oven pizza is worth waiting for which is why there is almost always a line of people waiting to get in! Thankfully, the line outside moves faster than you'd expect and pizzas arrive quickly once you're seated inside. Don't forget to take a post-dinner stroll down to the water to experience the outstanding view of Manhattan's skyline.

    Grimaldi's pizza is prepared in a coal-fired brick oven, which gives the crust a nice smokey flavor. Their signature pie is the Margarita pizza, which has San Marzano tomatoes, freshly made mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, oregano and fresh basil. It cooks for just 3 minutes in a 900-degree oven before it's ready to devour.

    While Grimaldi's Pizzeria is worth the journey on its own, it's a great reward after walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and a great choice near Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    Grimaldi's Pizzeria Details

    • Address: 1 Front Street, Brooklyn
    • Phone: 718-858-4300
    • Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
    • Subway: A/C to High...MORE Street in Brooklyn
    • Whole pies only
    • Website: http://www.grimaldis.com/
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  • 03 of 11

    L & B Spumoni Gardens

    ••• Kim/Flickr

    First opened in 1939, L&B Spumoni Gardens is most famous for its Sicilian pie, spumoni, and ices. They have casual outdoor seating, as well as a more formal inside dining room with a full menu of classic red-sauce Italian cuisine. With lots of room for running around and high-chairs available, the atmosphere is very family-friendly. This Bensonhurst, Brooklyn pizzeria is popular with neighborhood residents, as well as pizza lovers who don't mind the subway ride.

    Their signature Sicilian pie has a thick crust and is baked on a sheet pan, yielding square slices. If you buy just a slice, I suggest getting an edge or a corner, since that gives you the chance to experience the delicious crust. I love that this pizzeria is casual and has plenty of outdoor seating, which makes it a great choice for visitors when the weather is nice.

    L & B Spumoni Gardens Details:

    • Address: 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn
    • Telephone: 718-449 -1230
    • Neighborhood: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
    • Subway: D to 25th Ave; N to Avenue U or...MORE 86th Street
    • Slices & Whole pies
    • Websites: L & B Spumoni Gardens Website
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  • 04 of 11

    Di Fara's Pizza

    Arguably among the best pizza in New York City, Di Fara's in Brooklyn offers both square and traditional pies, in addition to a menu of classic Italian dishes in a spartan setting. One of the best aspects of enjoying pizza at Di Fara's is watching Dom DeMarco make each pie by hand. He expertly tops each pie with sauce, hand grated Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, and basil. His hands must be part asbestos since he's sometimes pulls burning hot pies out of the oven with his hands. The hardest part is the waiting; you'll have to wait in line and the pizza is served piping hot, so you have to wait even once you get it. I almost always burn my mouth because I'm so eager to enjoy it.

    Now for the bag: seating is pretty limited, so it's not really a place to linger once you've gotten your slice or pie. Weekends can bring crazy lines and long waits, so I encourage you to go for lunch during the week if at all possible.

    Di Fara's Pizza Details

    • Address: 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn
    • Telephone: 718-392-12...MORE22
    • Neighborhood: Midwood, Brooklyn
    • Subway: Q to Avenue J in Brooklyn
    • Slices and whole pies
    • Di Fara's is closed on Monday and Tuesday
    • Website: www.difara.com
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  • 05 of 11

    Nick's Pizza

    ••• Steve Craft/Getty Images

    The original location is located in Forest Hills, but they also have a branch on the Upper East Side that serves up crisp, thin-crust pizza if you're not up for the trip into Queens. Established in 1993, Nick's Pizza uses a gas-fired oven to cook their pizza and calzones. If you still have room after dinner, they offer delicious cannoli for dessert. Nick's locations all have typical Italian restaurant offerings as well, but the pizza is the true star. Nick's also sets themselves apart by using local purveyors for ingredients when possible.

    Nick's Pizza Queens Location Details

    • Address: 10826 Ascan Ave, Forest Hills, Queens
    • Telephone: 718-263-1126
    • Neighborhood: Forest Hills, Queens
    • Subway: E, F at 71st St-Continental Ave
    • Whole pies only
    • Nick's Pizza Review

    Nick's Pizza Upper East Side Location Details

    • Address: 1814 2nd Ave (94th St)
    • Telephone: 212-987-5700
    • Neighborhood: Upper East Side (Map)
    • Subway: 6 to 96th Street
    • Whole pies only
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  • 06 of 11

    John's Pizzeria

    ••• feryersan/Getty Images

    With three locations in Manhattan, John's Pizzeria is a good choice for delicious New York style pizza wherever you are in the city.

    The original John's is located on Bleecker Street (though it first opened on Sullivan Street) and serves coal-fired brick oven pizza to locals and visitors in Greenwich Village. The location has a real old-world feel, with well-worn booths, lots of NYC paraphernalia and celebrity photos.

    The Times Square location is housed in a former church: the Gospel Tabernacle Church which was first built in 1888. The architectural details from the church, including beautiful stained glass, add to the atmosphere of this location and it's a great spot if you want to dine before or after a Broadway show.

    John's Pizzeria Bleecker Street Details

    • Address: 278 Bleecker Street
    • Telephone: 212-243-1680
    • Neighborhood: West Village (Map)
    • Subway: B/D/F, A/C/E to West 4th; 1 to Christopher Street
    • Cash only, Whole pies only, no reservations
    • Website: johnsbrickovenpizza.com

    John's Pizzeria...MORE Times Square Details

    • Address: 260 West 44th Street
    • Telephone: 212-391-7560
    • Neighborhood: Times Square (Map)
    • Subway: 7, 1/2/3, or N/Q/R to Times Square
    • Whole pies only

    John's Pizzeria Eastside Details

    • Address: 408 East 64th Street
    • Telephone: 212-935-2895
    • Neighborhood: Upper East Side
    • Subway: F to 63rd Street
    • Whole pies only
    • W​ebsite: www.johnspizzerianyc.com
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  • 07 of 11

    Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano in Coney Island

    ••• Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

    Totonno's has been making excellent coal-oven pizza in Coney Island since 1924 (despite a short hiatus after a fire damaged their store and from flooding after Hurricane Sandy). Totonno's is a great dining stop if you're visiting the New York Aquarium or Coney Island. Busiest during the summer (when Coney Island is bustling), you will enjoy shorter waits at Totonno's in the winter months.

    Despite having to rebuild multiple times, Totonno's Coney Island location manages to look exactly the same every time it re-opens. The celebrity photos, newspaper articles, and simple setting all ensure that the pizza is the true star at this spot.

    While the Manhattan branches can't quite compete with the atmosphere of the Coney Island original, you won't be disappointed with the brick oven pizza served at any of their locations.

    Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano Details

    • Address: 1524 Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn
    • Telephone: 718-372-8606
    • Neighborhood: Coney Island
    • Subway: D, F, N, Q at Coney...MORE Island-Stillwell Ave.
    • Whole pies only
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  • 08 of 11

    Patsy's Pizzeria

    The original East Harlem branch has been open since 1932 and it still serves up delicious pies and slices from its coal-fired oven to those willing to venture to East Harlem. Visitors have the option of either grabbing a quick slice from the to-go ​area or sitting down to have pizza (& other menu items) in the simple dining room with red-checkered tablecloths.

    Patsy's is a true neighborhood institution -- politicians, celebrities and neighborhood residents alike can often be found dining and socializing at Patsy's.

    Patsy's Pizzeria Details

    • Address: 2287 1st Avenue (117th/118th Sts)
    • Telephone: 212-534-9783
    • Neighborhood: East Harlem
    • Subway: 6 to 116th Street
    • Slices and whole pies
    • Website: www.thepatsyspizza.com
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  • 09 of 11

    Motorino Pizzeria Napoletana

    ••• Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    One of New York City's newer pizzerias, Motorino serves excellent Neapolitan-style pizza at its locations in the East Village and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both locations are popular, so waits are common in the evening and on weekends. The pizzas are on the smaller size, but that offers the opportunity to try several when you dine with even a small group. In addition to the classic choices, they have one pizza starring Brussels sprouts and another topped with white anchovies. The Williamsburg location accepts reservations for groups of 6 or more and the East Village location welcomes people to call ahead Monday - Thursday to be put on the waitlist.

    Motorino East Village Details

    • Address: 349 East 12th Street (1st/2nd Ave)
    • Telephone: 212-777-2644
    • Subway: L to 14th St/1st Ave
    • Whole pies only
    • Website: www.motorinopizza.com

    Motorino Williamsburg Details

    • Address: 139 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY
    • Telephone: (718) 599-8899
    • Subway: L to 14th St/1st Ave
    • Whole pies only
    • Website: www.motorinopizza.com
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  • 10 of 11

    Kesté Pizza and Vino

    Kesté Pizza and Vino
    ••• Kesté Pizza at Kesté Pizza and Vino. Anthony Bianciella

    Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Kesté offers pizza lovers both classic and creative Neapolitan pizzas that are prepared in a wood-fired oven. Chef Roberto Caporuscio grew up outside of Naples and learned his craft there before opening Kesté in New York City. Pies are "personal" sized, making it a great spot if you're traveling alone, but they are also easy to share. Although homemade mozzarella cheese graces most of the pies, folks with dietary restrictions will love the gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan offerings on the menu.

    Kesté Pizza and Vino Details

    • Address: 271 Bleecker Street (Jones St & Morton St)
    • Telephone: 212-243-1500
    • Neighborhood: West Village
    • Subway: 1 to Christopher Street; A/C/E, B/D/F/M to West 4th
    • Whole pies only
    • Website: www.kestepizzeria.com

     

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  • 11 of 11

    Lucali

    Pizza at Lucali's
    ••• Pizza at Lucali's. Heather Cross, licensed to About.com

    I'm hesitant to add this spot to my list, mostly for selfish reasons -- it's right in my neighborhood and I don't want it to be any harder to get a table here than it already is! This neighborhood BYOB spot offers just two menu items: pizzas and calzones. You can bring your own beer or wine to enjoy alongside (they do have some non-alcoholic beverage choices as well). They open nightly at 6 p.m., but there are often an hour or more long waits for a table, even if you arrive shortly before opening. That said, the pizza is superlative and well worth the wait. Put your name on the list and head out to one of the great bars along nearby Smith Street to kill time while you wait for your table.

    Lucali Details

    • Address: 575 Henry Street
    • Telephone: 718-858-4086
    • Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
    • Subway: F or G To Carroll Street
    • Whole pies only, cash only, BYOB
    • Website: http://www.lucali.com/