100 best New York restaurants: Best pizza and pie shops

Some of the best New York restaurants put sauce, cheese and twirled dough at a premium. But of all the pizzerias in NYC only a few contenders made our list.

Photograph: Filip Wolak
100 best New York restaurants: Motorino

Gotham’s pizza wars are legendary, with every chest-thumping local jockeying for the last word on which of the best New York restaurants makes the top pies in town. The mystical combination of dough, sauce and cheese is as much a part of the culinary identity of NYC as hot dogs and soft pretzels. That’s why we combed the city’s grimiest slice joints and upmarket Neapolitan pizzerias to bring you this list of the very best pizza in New York City.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of 100 best New York restaurants

Roberta's

Critics' pick

This sprawling, super-hip ode to market cuisine and artisanal pizza is a favorite for bargain-seeking locavores. In season, this green oasis located on an industrial Brooklyn block grows much of its own produce. Brick-oven pies feature inventive toppings such as guanciale and egg, or kale, taleggio and Berkshire pork sausage. For $30 a person, groups of 10 to 18 can reserve a table in advance, then settle in for a multicourse meal: Share meats, cheeses and salads to start, three kinds of Roberta's stellar wood-oven pizza—we like the salty-creamy Specken Wolf, which pairs melty mozzarella with speck—and cookies and gelato for dessert. For an extra $10 each, the "bomber package" throws in another main, like the rich, tender pork butt.

Read more
Williamsburg

Lucali

Critics' pick

Brooklyn’s pizza legacies are legion—from Grimaldi’s in Dumbo to Ditmas Park’s fabled Di Fara. To this noble lineup add Lucali. The artisanal intent at the candlelit pizzeria is visible in the flour-dashed marble counter where the dough is punched and stretched, and in the brick oven from which it later emerges crisp and blistered. There are just two items on Lucali’s menu: pies and calzones, adorned with milky, elastic mozzarella and simple toppings like chewy rounds of pepperoni or slivers of artichoke. There’s no wine list, but the unobtrusive staff will happily extract a cork from your own bottle—Grimaldi’s could learn a thing or two.

Read more
Carroll Gardens

Franny’s

Critics' pick

The sweet smell of smoke greets diners—and sticks to their hair and clothes—at this insta-classic. Thin, bubbly, locavore pizzas are the soul of this operation, helmed by husband-and-wife team Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg (Savoy). A sausage-and-cheese pie isn’t just a cravings-sater—it’s a work of art. The chewy, charred pizza, with coins of funky house-cured meat, buffalo mozzarella and fragrant Parmesan cheeses, a sauce that’s so sweet it reminds you that tomatoes are fruit, plus a drizzle of olive oil, is among the city’s best. Between the other excellent pies—like the clam-dotted version with chili and parsley—and multiple appetizers (if it’s on the often-changing menu, order the house-cured cod with crisp radishes), it’s tough to choose. Note: The place is popular, and they don’t take reservations.

Read more
Prospect Heights

Motorino

Critics' pick

Pizza is and has for a long time been serious business in this town, and while New Yorkers are often prepared to throw down over the supremacy of a slice, the truth is, a lot of it isn’t that good. Fortunately, some restaurants have abandoned corny dough-tossing antics and turned instead to the great Neapolitan pie, which, among other specifications, must be sized for an individual and cooked in a wood-fired oven. Motorino, passes the litmus test: Its “DOC” version of the Margherita—the classic combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil—comes straight from the dining room’s glowing oven, with melted islands of buffalo-milk mozzarella on a thin layer of sweet sauce. The crust meets two critical standards: A properly blistered char and a wonderful elasticity that is so often missing from lesser examples. For bolder palates, the Pugliese features pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe and the no-joke punch of fiery chili peppers. While the pizza is the draw, supporting dishes are also worth a detour: Pickled octopus offers chilled, meaty tentacles served with fingerling potatoes and a bright dressing of capers, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.

Read more
East Village

Kesté Pizza & Vino

Critics' pick

If anyone can claim to be an expert on Neapolitan pizza, it’s Keste’s Roberto Caporuscio: As president of the U.S. branch of the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, he’s top dog for the training and certification of pizzaioli (a former dairy farmer and mozzarella maker, he’s also intimately familiar with that most essential cheese). In addition to all the hallmarks of the Neapolitan product—San Marzano tomatoes, doppio zero flour, a scorching-hot wood-burning oven—Caporuscio uses a slow-speed mixer to work his dough. Then, he gently stretches it into a round with his hands, since it’s far too soft for tossing. The resulting crust is tender yet resilient, puffed with warm pockets of steaming airs. All over the golden surface is an even spotting of tiny black blisters, just enough to deliver that brick-oven sear, but not so much that any single bite tastes burnt. Whatever you put on it, from the classic Margherita toppings to butternut squash puree with smoked mozzarella, it’s as close to the platonic ideal as we’ve found.

Read more
West Village

Paulie Gee's

Critics' pick

Pizza hobbyist turned pro Paul Giannone produces truly original pies at this rustic Greenpoint eatery. The best pizzas here are mixed-media masterworks with gorgeously blackened crusts covered in crispy nooks and pillowy bubbles. The Honey Jones—a frequent special featuring honey from a Brooklyn beekeeper, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, cherries and wispy prosciutto—beautifully balances sweet and salty. The Rooftop Pie includes crunchy Brooklyn-grown kale, gorgeously singed atop mozzarella and sausage. Ask for a seat in the back for a view of the roaring oven—a custom-built, while-tiled dome that burns up to 1,000 degrees.

Read more
Greenpoint

Rubirosa

Critics' pick

Owner Giuseppe Pappalardo of Staten Island pizzeria Joe & Pat's enlisted his son Angelo (Esca) as chef and pizzaiolo at this Italian restaurant, offering simple, thin-crust pizzas and classic red-sauce fare. Rubirosa's crisp yet pliable pies have a delicate char and a small ring of crackerlike crust around the edges. We've yet to go wrong with the no-frills vodka rendition, which boasts a layer of creamy, booze-spiked tomato sauce and a gooey patchwork of fresh mozzarella.

Read more
Nolita
More of the 100 best New York restaurants

Comments

3 comments
Trevor S
Trevor S

I've been to quite a few of these places before, and I think that they are all great. I love all kinds of pizza, and it amazes me what kind of new things people come up with. Creativity is the key to making a delicious pizza. http://www.dulonospizza.com

Samantha
Samantha

Any time Luzzo Michele sei grande ❤️ Luzzo

Niki
Niki

Luzzo's any time any moment forever grazie luzzo