New York is a pizza lover's paradise. There's nowhere else in the world where you can find so many pizza places so close to one another. You’ll find Ray’s, Luigi’s, Sal’s, and Tony’s aplenty: But how to choose when nearly all of them claim to serve up the city's best slice?!
Make that next pie count at one of these 15 best pizza places in New York City. Although you'll find variations in recipes, ingredients, and nearly every other aspect about how the pizza is prepared, there is one thing we can promise you for sure: After visiting these pilgrimage-worthy establishments, you'll never want to eat at Pizza Hut again.
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This famed hipster hangout in Bushwick, Brooklyn, offers much more than just killer pizza, with a rooftop garden and bakery on site – not to mention a radio station broadcasting here around the clock. Tasty NYC/Neapolitan-hybrid pies star on the menu, loaded with homegrown produce, charcuterie, fresh sauces, herbs, and cheeses. Choose from some eight varieties, like the Beastmaster, smothered in tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pork sausage, onion, capers, and jalapeno.
Although Patsy’s has a few Manhattan locations, hit up the original East Harlem branch for the most authenticity. A true neighborhood institution, politicians, celebrities and neighborhood residents alike can often be found dining and socializing at Patsy's, which has been open here since 1933. Serving up delicious paper-thin pies and slices from its hard-to-come-by coal-fired oven, visitors have the option of either grabbing a quick slice from the to-go area or sitting down to order pizza pies (and other menu items) in the simple dining room.
Easily ranking among the very best pizza joints in New York City, old-school Di Fara Pizza in Midwood, Brooklyn, offers both square and traditional pies. One of the best aspects of enjoying pizza at Di Fara's is watching master pizzaiolo Dom DeMarco make each pie by hand, as he expertly tops each pie with sauce, hand-grated Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Try the pizzeria’s artichoke or sun-dried tomato slice, and even if the digs are spartan and seating is limited, it'll all be worth it. Weekends can bring crazy lines and long waits, so aim to go for lunch during the week if at all possible.
This Nolita eatery, which opened in 1905, claims to be America's first full-fledged pizzeria and has maintained legendary status among the city’s pizza places ever since. Out-of-towners can often be seen mingling with locals on the corner of Spring Street and Mott Street, as they wait for a table and the opportunity to taste one of the city's most delicious pies. The basic pie comes with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil; additional toppings can be piled high. While all the pizza is delicious at Lombardi's, the clam pizza is a special treat, with whole clams adding a salty punch for the palate. Although the prices are a bit higher than when Lombardi's first opened, you can be sure that the pizza is just as tasty.
This laid-back neighborhood BYO spot in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, offers just two menu items: wood-fired, brick-oven pizzas and calzones. You can bring your own beer or wine to enjoy alongside your meal (though they do have some nonalcoholic beverage choices, as well). Cash-only Lucali opens evenings just shy of 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 (there's a reason it's a celebrity magnet for folks like David Beckham, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé). 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.
First opened in 1939, L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, is most famous for its Sicilian pie, spumoni, and Italian ices. They have casual outdoor seating, perfect for when the weather is nice, as well as a more formal inside dining room with a full menu of classic red-sauce Italian cuisine. Their signature upside-down Sicilian pie (the sauce goes on top of the cheese) has a thick crust and is baked on a sheet pan, yielding square portions that are counted among the best Sicilian or “square” slices in the city. With lots of room for running around and high chairs available, the atmosphere is very family-friendly.
Another Coney Island contender, Totonno's has been making excellent coal-oven pizza here since 1924. Little more than celebrity photos and newspaper clippings adorn the simple setting, ensuring that the coal-oven pizza, sourced from top-quality ingredients, is the true star at this spot. A great dining stop if you're visiting the New York Aquarium or Coney Island boardwalk and beaches, keep in mind that Totonno's is busiest during the summer (when Coney Island is bustling); come in winter for shorter waits.
With the original located in the West Village (there are newer outposts Downtown and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), 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. 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.
Home of the “Original SoHo Squares,” this tiny grab-and-go spot in Nolita is known for its four varieties of oversized, crispy-bottomed Sicilian and grandma slices. Carnivores can opt in for the unbeatable Spicy Spring, a spicy pepperoni “square” with fresh mozzarella and fra diavolo sauce, while the thin-crust Mercer Margherita, loaded with mozzarella, basil, and marinara never disappoints.
Motorino serves excellent Neapolitan-style pizza at its locations in the East Village, Upper West Side, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All three outposts 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 sample several when you dine with even a small group. In addition to the classic choices, they have some standout specialty options, too; one pie stars Brussels sprouts, for instance, while another comes topped with white anchovies.
Artichoke opened to rave reviews in early 2008 and pizza lovers throughout the city have been flocking to their ever-expanding locations across NYC ever since. They're especially known for their signature artichoke-spinach slice, but the Sicilian option here is a close second. Although the prices are on the high side, the slices are huge enough to match.
While many New Yorkers venture to the boroughs beyond Manhattan in search of the city’s best pizza, they can save a trip out to Queens since the famous Nick’s Pizza of Forest Hills has a location on the Upper East Side, too. Their pizzas are uniformly excellent—a crispy crust, gooey mozzarella cheese, tangy marinara sauce, and a touch of fresh basil that completes their mouthwatering pies. You can choose from some two dozen additional toppings, too. But Nick’s is about more than just pizza. Start your meal with their arugula salad with roasted peppers, sun-dried tomato, and honey-mustard vinaigrette, then finish it off with one of their renowned cannolis.
For a quick slice late-night—or any other time—you can’t beat this classic chain of Manhattan/Brooklyn pizzerias (the original West Village location opened in 1975). The thin-crust plain and pepperoni slices here are the real-deal, affordable, New York City-style pizza of your imagination—fast, easy, no-frills, but downright delicious. Happily, you’ll find consistent pizza goodness at any of Joe’s Pizza’s four outposts.
This Staten Island mainstay is well worth a hop across the harbor for its incredible vodka pie, so-named for the vodka-infused sauce it incorporates, along with mozzarella and basil. Though the classic, thin-crust classic cheese pie—on offer by the pie or the slice—is always an excellent bet. The family-run pizzeria has a devout local following; with pies this good, it’s little wonder that it’s been in business since 1960.
Tucked away in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, since 2010, the always-crowded Paulie Gee’s earns points for its creative takes on pizza, and rustic decor. Choose from a lip-smacking range of Neapolitan-styled pies with clever names: Try the Brisket Five-0 for fresh mozzarella, mild Gouda, brisket, and house-pickled pineapple, or the Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me, with mozzarella, Canadian bacon, sweet Italian fennel sausage, fresh basil, and hearty dollops of ricotta. (Bonus: There are vegan options, too.)