Most New Yorkers would agree that Gotham is best known for two things: stellar cheap pizza and exorbitant rent. The latter gives us good reason for our endless quest for the best cheap eats in NYC. And although we’ll happily indulge in a late-night dollar slice at one of several 24-hour pizza spots or go in on pizza delivery just to save a buck or two, sometimes we crave a touch of ambiance that only an authentic eat-in New York pizzeria can provide. From $3 slices to $20 pies, these za joints are serving up some of our favorite cheap New York pizzas.
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Best cheap pizza in NYC
Unassuming from the outside, you’d never guess this equine-inspired automotive shop turned St. Louis-style pizzeria slings some of the best hardwood-fired rounds on the Atlantic. Menu staples like the King Salami (hot and sweet soppressata, finocchiona, red peppers) and the Kind Brother (wild mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, farm egg, sage) pair exceptionally well with Speedy’s house-made pickled peppers and prove perfect for sharing—one $20 pie will easily satisfy two.
Don’t let the crowds deter you—the line moves quickly at this iconic, standing-room-only pizza joint. A plain Neapolitan-style slice will only run you $3.21, but take it from us and throw another buck toward the Spicy Spring square slice, a thick and doughy Sicilian-style crust topped with Fra Diavolo sauce, spicy pepperoni and gooey mozzarella ($4.52).
Ivan Orkin’s claim to fame is obviously ramen (Ivan Ramen). But the chef is a culinary globe-trotter, and his latest stand at Hell’s Kitchen’s Gotham West Market focuses on staples from his hometown of New York. Taking on the city’s arguably quintessential dish, the all-important pizza pie, his new spot has slices with exceptionally light crust—thanks to the artisanal Central Milling flour, cake yeast and a nearly three-day fermentation—most appreciated in Corner’s no-nonsense Margherita slice. ($3.25, cornerslicenyc.com)
Proud to be the first pizzeria in Brooklyn to offer coal-oven pizza by the slice, Table 87 takes its toppings just as seriously as its crackly, coal-fired crust. Case in point: the seasonal veggie square slice. A feast for the eyes, each Sicilian-style square is adorned with vibrant bursts of purple and yellow cauliflower, slivers of silky roasted red peppers and eggplant, and fresh basil plucked straight from the stem. The extra large slice rings in at just $4, so you might as well treat yourself to a cold Peroni to boot.
If you’re going to pay for artisanal pizza, it’s best served fresh: Here, piping-hot plain cheese slices will set you back $3.25, a whole dollar cheaper than Artichoke. Drop down another $3.75 to try a leopard-spotted white slice jazzed up with caramelized onions and sesame seeds, and wash it down with a Mexican Coke.
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—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. Just remember to bring some of your own dough, as this joint’s cash only (pie $28, slice $5).
In 2011, the cultish joint Lucali opened a spin-off in South Slope, helmed by Chris Iacono. The 40-seat eatery offers an identical menu of classic calzones (small $12, large $22) and thin-crust pizzas (pie $22, each topping $3-$8). As at the original, guests can watch flour-dusted chefs punch and pull mounds of dough in front of a wood-fired oven. And drinkers, take heart: Unlike BYOB Lucali, Giuseppina's serves beer and wine. Cash only.
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.
If anyone can claim to be an expert on Neapolitan pizza, it's Kesté’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. Whatever you put on his perfectly blistered, golden dough—from butternut squash puree to homemade burrata—you’re bound to reach pizza nirvana. To keep things cheap, savor the Neapolitan wood-oven-fired margherita lathered in tomato sauce and generously topped with milky mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil ($13).
Hop the ferry to Staten Island and get transported back to the good ol’ days at this Dongan Hills staple, serving up a renowned bar pizza that rivals the city’s crispiest brick-oven pies. Head to the back dining room and order an individual-sized bar round with sausage and zesty red sauce ($7.50), or get it plain Jane for a solid $6.25.
Looking for cheap brunch?
SAN CARLO Osteria Piemonte
San Carlo Osteria Piemonte in Soho isn’t your typical pasta joint. This restaurant focuses on cuisine from the Piedmont region of northern Italy, which leans more towards rustic home cooking. The menu reveals an emphasis on game you don’t often see in Italian restaurants. You can order an appetizer of tonno di coniglio, rabbit marinated in olive oil served with pickled vegetables ($17), or pan-seared guineafowl with leeks, potatoes and kale sauce ($27) for your entree. Other menu options include chestnut gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and parmesan fondue ($22), bone-in veal milanese with arugula and cherry tomatoes ($42) and bollito misto piedmontese, a stew of brisket, ribs, beef tongue and pork sausage with vegetable relish ($29). The dessert menu offers more than just the usual suspects as well. You’ll find pears cooked in red wine, honey and star anise ($15) and a mint semifreddo with chocolate sauce ($13) alongside tiramisu and hazelnut mousse (both $12).
Venue says: “Producing exceptional fine wines, artisanal meats and cheeses, and some of Italy’s best known specialtiesincluding white truffles.”