When people talk about the best New York pizza, they’re really talking about one borough: Brooklyn, home to both legendary dough punchers like Dom DeMarco and new-wave trailblazers like the Roberta’s crew. These are more than your cheap-pizza dollar slices–this is some of the best pizza in America, made with time-honored techniques, hyperfresh ingredients and plenty of attitude. This exemplary crop of restaurants in NYC is serving the best Brooklyn pizza in town.
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Best Brooklyn pizza in NYC
The painstakingly crafted Neapolitan pies—cracker-thin crust with a pleasing char and a subtle Parmesan zing—are widely considered among the city's best; dough is made fresh several times a day. To keep kids occupied during what feels like an interminable wait, point out the window boxes full of herbs used to flavor the sauce.
At Totonno’s—a Coney Island beacon since Anthony Pero opened its doors in 1924—the pizza de résistance is the top-notch white pie. Sand-dusted pizza lovers make the trek from the beach for the off-menu garlicky round: It’s covered in gleaming white house-made mozzarella and pecorino romano, leopard-spotted with crispy char marks. It’s the best thing on the menu, and given delicious alternatives, like the purist Margherita pie, that’s saying something.
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.
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.
Buzzing with urban-farming fund-raisers, local brewers pouring their ales and food-world luminaries fresh off Heritage Radio interviews, this sprawling hangout has become the unofficial meeting place for Brooklyn's sustainable-food movement. Opened in 2008 by Chris Parachini, Brandon Hoy and Carlo Mirarchi, Roberta's features its own rooftop garden, a food-focused Internet-radio station and a kitchen that turns out pizzas—like the Cheesus Christ, topped with mozzarella, Taleggio, Parmesan, black pepper and cream—that are among the borough's best.
Since 1939, this Bensonhurst original—where muscle-bound Brooklynites with deep accents gather in the outdoor patio—has served one of the best Sicilian slices in town. Candy-sweet tomato sauce is generously slathered over tall, doughy rectangles with a crunchy browned bottom. It’s finished with squares of melted mozzarella and zippy strands of Parm.
The heat of the wood-fired oven welcomes you into the cozy dining space, indicative of the charred crusts and inventive toppings to come. The pizza, categorized by sauce color, is the star of the show. From the Red column comes the Camp Randall ($19), an idyllically charred crust topped with tomato sauce, sausage, mushrooms, peppers and cheddar curds. It’s an update to the pies you ate in your youth, savory from the sausage and perhaps a bit squeaky (in the best way) from the curds. The namesake White pizza, the Emily ($22), surrounds you like a hug—topped with mozzarella, pistachios, truffle sottocenere and honey, it’s a performance in restraint.
Patsy Grimaldi—the flour-dusted legend behind Grimaldi's, which has since changed hands—busts out of retirement to reclaim his pie shop's first location, along with its original coal oven. The octogenarian pizzaiolo–who learned to spin dough at age 13 in his Uncle Patsy Lancieri's Harlem institution—named the spot after his mother. The menu spotlights iconic red-sauce fare, including classic pies (Margherita, sausage and broccoli rabe), appetizers (eggplant rollatine, baked clams with parsley) and desserts (cannoli), but the New York icon mixed in a few nods to modern times, like a bagel-riffing pie made with lox and mascarpone.
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—featuring honey from a Brooklyn beekeeper, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, cherries and wispy prosciutto—beautifully balances sweet and salty. The Whiter Shade of Kale sees a nut-free kale pesto fired atop gooey mozzarella. 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.
Wood-fired cooking arrives in Clinton Hill via this Italian-inspired tavern. Watch Jean Georges vet Justin Bazdarich work the flames at the log-fueled grill and oven as he dispatches smoke-kissed pizzas, steaks and seafood from an open kitchen. The simple menu also includes small plates, like fresh homemade mozzarella, aioli-drizzled mussels and market salads. Drinkers can choose from eight draft beers, an extensive selection of canned beers (Narrangansett, 21st Amendment), and Italian and American wines. Tools, parts and equipment from the former occupant, an automotive shop, decorate the 60-seat space.