Best cheap pizza

Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you should put up with a greasy slice. Try one of these 11 affordable pizzerias.

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  • Co

  • Di Fara Pizza

  • Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

    Pizza/Pasta at Eataly

  • Kest Pizza & Vino

  • Lucali

  • Motorino

  • Photograph: Noah Fecks

    Paulie Gee's

Co


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Best Pizza
You'd never know it from the modest digs and $3 slices, but this Williamsburg pizza joint boasts a serious pedigree. Occupying the former Brooklyn Star space, it's backed by that venture's chef-owner, Joaquin Baca, along with the owners of Roberta's, who tapped Pulino's alum Frank Pinello as pizzaiolo. He's turning out pies topped with seasonal vegetables and local goods; the house-special Grandma pizza ($4), available only by the square slice, features anchovy-laced plum tomato sauce and mozzarella. Perch on one of the wooden seats if you like, or take your grub to go—the food, not the ambience, is the real draw here. 33 Havemeyer St between North 7th and 8th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-2210, best.piz.za.com)

Co.
This unassuming pizzeria marks the restaurant debut of cult baker Jim Lahey (Sullivan Street Bakery). Co. lives and dies by its famous pizza dough, which produces a thin crust blistered in a searing 900-degree oven. Individual, minimalist pies include the "flamb" (bchamel, Parmigiano, buffalo mozzarella, caramelized onions and lardons; $17). 230 Ninth Ave at 24th St (212-243-1105, co-pane.com)

Di Fara Pizza
For more than 40 years, Italian-born Domenico DeMarco has eaten a slice of his own pizza every day—a one-man quality-control outfit. You know he's doing something right. His painstakingly crafted regular pies ($25)—cracker-thin crust with a pleasing char and a subtle Parmesan zing—are widely considered to be among the city's best. Herbs grown in the window boxes flavor the sauce, and the dough is made fresh several times a day. 1424 Ave J at 15th St, Midwood, Brooklyn (718-258-1367)

Giuseppina's
In March of this year,the cultish joint Lucali opened a spin-off in Sunset Park, helmed by Chris Iacono. The 40-seat eatery offers an identical menu of classic calzones (small $10, large $20) and thin-crust pizzas ($20, each topping $3--$6). As at the original, guests can watch flour-dusted chefs punch and pull mounds of dough in front of a wood-fired oven. But drinkers, take heart: Unlike BYOB Lucali, Giuseppina's serves beer and wine. 691 Sixth Ave at 20th St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-499-5052)

Joe's Pizza
Dough technician Joe Pozzuoli has perfected the thin-crust slice ($2.75). It's well charred, with zesty tomato sauce and a blanket of fresh mozzarella. Best of all, only one or two pies are baked at a time, so the slices are burn-your-tongue fresh. One warning: Don't mix up this place with the unrelated Famous Joe's down the block. 7 Carmine St between Sixth Ave and Bleecker St (212-366-1182, joespizza.com)

Kest Pizza & Vino
If anyone can claim to be an expert on Neapolitan pizza, it's Kest'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, 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. Puffed with warm pockets of steaming air, it's tender yet resilient, stretching ever so slightly as you tear it with your hands. All over the golden surface is an even spotting of tiny blisters, just enough to deliver that brick-oven sear. 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. To keep things super-cheap, savor the Neapolitan wood-oven-fired lunchtime special: a portable, foldable mini Margherita dripping with fresh mozzarella ($6, takeout only). 271 Bleecker St between Cornelia and Jones Sts (212-243-1500, kestepizzeria.com)

Lucali
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. Affordable highlights include the massive five-cheese calzone (small $10, large $20). 575 Henry St between Carroll St and 1st Pl, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-858-4086).

Motorino
Neapolitan pizzeria Motorino's "DOC" version of the Margherita ($15)—the classic combination of tomato sauce, cheese and basil—comes with melted islands of buffalo-milk mozzarella on a thin layer of sweet sauce. The crust meets two critical standards, with both a properly blistered char and a wonderful elasticity. 319 Graham Ave between Ainslie and Devoe Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-8899)

Pizza/Pasta at Eataly
The pizza wars will rage on, but this resto's pedigreed San Marzano Margherita ($13) is as authentically sourced as they come—the creamy, elastic mozzarella; wood-burning ovens that give the tender crust a hint of char; and even the pizzaioli themselves are all imported directly from Naples. 200 Fifth Ave between 23rd and 24th Sts (212-229-2560, eataly.com)

Paulie Gee's
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 Cherry Jones—a frequent special featuring honey from a Brooklyn beekeeper, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, cherries and wispy prosciutto—beautifully balances sweet and salty ($17). The Rooftop Red includes crunchy Brooklyn-grown kale, gorgeously singed atop tomato sauce and shaved parmesan ($17). 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. 60 Greenpoint Ave between Franklin and West Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-987-3747, pauliegee.com)

Rubirosa
If you can't make it out to Staten Island, find this legendary pizzeria slinging the same time-honored pies at its new location in Nolita. The classic slice ($2.50) is a no-frills knockout: cracker-thin crust, slightly sweet crushed tomatoes and gooey pools of fresh mozzarella. 235 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-965-0500, rubirosanyc.com)


Users say

2 comments
Adrienne
Adrienne

This is a great list of delicious New York Pizza - Lucali's & Paulie Gee's especially. But I think of Cheap Pizza in New York as the awesome dollar slices everywhere. Where is everyone's favorite dollar slice? Mine is Mamani in the East Village.

Joe Masilotti
Joe Masilotti

We just released an iPhone app called Cheazza - Cheap Pizza which highlights dollar slice places in and around NYC. You can download it for free at http://bit.ly/CheazzaApp