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The absolute best pizza in NYC

The best pizza in NYC as tasted by our pizza expert

Photograph: Courtesy Molly Tavoletti/ Upside Pizza
By Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors |
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We are fortunate we live in a city where the pizza is so good, even the dollar slices are excellent. But with so many options, it's hard to know where's worth making the trek for. We put together our most comprehensive guide to slices across the five boroughs. Whether you're looking for a classic margherita pie, our favorite joint with old-school New York atmosphere or the spot to grab a slice outdoors in the warmer months, we've got you covered. Now more than ever pizza in New York is experimental and accommodating to all kinds of dietary restrictions (thank you, Screamer's!) while many of the old-fashioned spots have kept the same charm as ever. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best New York pizza

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Courtesy of Julianna's
Restaurants, Pizza

No. 1 Special at Juliana’s

icon-location-pin Dumbo

Armed with a tried-and-true coal oven, owner Patsy Grimaldi came out of retirement to to open his new Brooklyn Heights pizzeria called Juliana’s. He couldn't name it after himself because both his first and last name's were already taken by two of his biggest competitors: Patsy’s and Grimaldi's. This blistered beauty is a white pie topped with mozzarella, smokey scamorza affumicata, pancetta, scallions and oregon-grown white truffles in olive oil.

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Photograph: Yelp/ Ceylan T.
Restaurants, Pizza

Pepperoni at Totonno’s

icon-location-pin Coney Island

Anthony "Totonno" Pero began making pizza at Lombardi's back in 1905. After distinguishing himself as a master pizzaiolo, Totonno opened his own pizzeria in Coney Island in 1924. It still stands in the same location and is still run by the same family. True to its philosophy, only top quality ingredients are used here, including imported Italian olive oil, homemade mozzarella and savory tomato sauce—all cooked in the 600'F coal burning oven.

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Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Hot peppers with shallots at Lucali

icon-location-pin Carroll Gardens

Owner and chef Mark Iacono takes to his dough as a sculptor to his marble, carefully crafting every pizza as if it were a one-of-a-kind piece of art. He adds fresh mozzarella and a careful mixture of sharp cheeses to maximize the flavor of each pie. The onions and mushrooms are skillfully layered in order to enhance, rather than overpower, the essence of the other ingredients. The end result is nothing short of perfection.

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Samantha G.
Restaurants, Pizza

Bee Sting at Roberta’s

icon-location-pin Central Brooklyn

Only available on the lunch menu now, the "Bee Sting" (prepared with tomato, mozzarella, caciocavello, sopressata, chili, honey and basil) remains one of Roberta's most excellent slices. Now you can find spicy honey on a lot of Brooklyn menus, but Roberta's really created the standard by which other dishes using it would have to live up to. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Emily Kimball
Restaurants, Pizza

The Juno at Ops

icon-location-pin Bushwick

A pizzeria in Bushwick run by Marie Tribouilloy, Mike Fadem and Gavin Compton (who, collectively pull experience from Achilles Heel, Estela  and Buvette) for a neighborhood joint serving up pies. At Ops, you’ll immediately be made to feel like a regular, even if it’s your first time through the door. And while you’ll certainly be there to fill up on one of our favorite pies, the Juno— with broccoli rabe, potatoes, provola and ricotta salata—it’s also one of the only pizzerias we head to for some of the county’s most exciting natural wines. 

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Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Mushroom and pepperoni at Giuseppina

icon-location-pin Sunset Park

Giuseppina's owner and founder Chris Iacono proudly credits his apprenticeship at his brother's pizzeria, Lucali, for his skills. Chris Iacono's use of top tier ingredients like a cheese blend consisting of low-moisture mozzarella, homemade fresh mozzarella, and imported Italian parmigiano reggiano, along with hand-cut pepperoni, fresh mushroom, Italian olive oil and fresh basil epitomizes Giuseppina's commitment to quality. The incomparable sauce comes from a secret family recipe passed down to the owner from his grandmother named Giuseppina. 

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Joe & Pat's
Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Plain cheese at Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria

icon-location-pin Staten Island

Topped with creamy mozzarella melted in cubes upon a rich bed of savory tomato sauce spread to the edge of a thin crisp crust, a Joe & Pat’s pizza takes simple ingredients and prepares them exquisitely. It’s a recipe that has been perfected over the past 50 years and we hope it never changes. And now, you can get a taste at the East Vilalge outpost.

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Photograph: Yelp/ Kevin C.
Restaurants, Pizza

Pepperoni at Di Fara Pizza

icon-location-pin Midwood

Di Fara is the Mecca to which all die-hard pizza lovers should make a pilgrimage. It won't be on your way somewhere. You will wait a lot to be served then pay a lot to get your slice. You will either have to wipe down your own table or you won't even get one. But the amount of care and the quality of ingredients makes each pizza worth it.

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prince street pizza
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Chris L.
Restaurants, Pizza

Green Machine at Prince Street Pizza

icon-location-pin Nolita

Grab a Neapolitan- or Sicilian-style slice at this pizza joint, located in the space where the original Ray's Pizza once stood. Four signature pies boast neighborhood-inspired names like the thin-crust Mercer Margherita, made with fresh mozzarella, basil and marinara sauce, and the Spicy Spring, topped with Fra Diavolo sauce, spicy sopressata and fresh mozzarella. Our favorite? The green machine with pesto sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, olive oil and black olives.

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Chicken Parmesan at Best Pizza
Photograph: Jay Muhlin
Restaurants, Pizza

Mushroom with caramelized onion at Best Pizza

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

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 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, available only by the square slice, features anchovy-laced plum tomato sauce and mozzarella. Perch on one of 16 wooden seats if you like, or take your grub to go—the food, not the ambience, is the real draw here.

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Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Large square at Rizzo’s Fine Pizza

icon-location-pin Astoria

Known for its crisp Sicilian pie, Rizzo’s has become an institution in Queens since 1959. Since then, the menu has expanded but it’s the Rizzo signature slice: the thin crusted “Sicilian," that will keep you coming back. The recipe includes copious amounts of rich, tangy tomato sauce with a single slice of creamy mozzarella, flanked by bits of sharp and mild, grated cheeses. All of these rest atop a thin, crispy gas-powered oven crust. 

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Photograph: Courtesy of Yelp /Meghan A.
Restaurants, Pizza

Sausage pie at Louie & Ernie’s

icon-location-pin Bronx

Louie and Ernie's pizzeria is frankly adorable. The staff is friendly, the ambience is warm, and most importantly the pizza is delicious. Catch a glimpse of the heavily Bronx-accented teenage pizza chefs precociously preparing pie after pie and you'll notice something more than wise-beyond-their-years pizza knowhow: pride. The staff is clearly proud of their product and the Louie and Ernie legacy. One visit and you'll be proud of yourself for "discovering" it, even if you're late to the party.

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L&B Spumoni square pie
Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Restaurants, Pizza

Sicilian at L&B Spumoni Gardens

icon-location-pin Gravesend

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.

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Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Personal Spectacle Too at Paulie Gee’s

icon-location-pin Greenpoint

Paulie Gee loves good pizza. So much so that he dedicated his retirement to the art of pizza making. Using freshly grown basil, homemade fresh mozzarella, and a secret tomato source, Paulie perfected an entire recipe book in his very own backyard (that backyard contains a wood-fired brick oven that he built himself). Expect him to sidle up to your table for a chat about the pizza. 

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Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Personal Rubirosa Supreme at Rubirosa

icon-location-pin Nolita

Rubirosa is pizza royalty: The founder is of Joe and Pat's fame—he is the son of the owner of the Staten Island institution. The Rubirosa Supreme creates a salty-sweet medley by combining hand-cut spicy pepperoni, diced basil, and flavorful meatballs atop a firm crust that is both strong enough to withstand the weight of the ingredients and yet soft enough to fold like a typical New York slice. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Claire L.
Restaurants, Pizza

Cheese with meatball at Patsy’s Pizzeria

icon-location-pin East Harlem

While there are several pizzerias that share their name, only the original one was opened by Pasquale “Patsy” Lancieri and his wife, Carmella, in 1933. The East Harlem locale is still owned by the families of the former employees. The meatball pie is topped with just-right amount of rich tomato sauce, creamy low-moisture mozzarella cheese and homemade meatballs on a firm yet crisp, perfectly charred crust. Plus, it's the only place that serves coal-fired brick oven pizza by the slice.

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Heidi V.
Restaurants, American

12" Saint Louie at Speedy Romeo

icon-location-pin Clinton Hill

College chums Todd Feldman and Justin Bazdarich had long dreamed of joining their creative and culinary skills and opening up a restaurant together. Lucky for them, and luckier for all of us, their dream has become a reality. Speedy Romeo's Saint Louie pie bursts out of the gate delivering non-traditional provel cheese (a blend of provolone, Swiss, and cheddar) with savory pepperoni and sausage and pickled chilis for a swift kick of flavor. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Emmy Squared
Restaurants, Pizza

Roni Supreme at Emmy Squared

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Thanks to Emmy Squared, you can get a taste of Detroit-style pizza in Williamsburg. Their homage to the style includes the characteristic topping-centric, twice-baked, rectangular deep dish pies. The Roni Supreme combines hand-cut pepperoni and Calabrian chiles for a tasty zing and a memorable sting with every bite. Beneath the toppings on each pie lies a golden-brown melted cheese, which provides a tasty foundation and crunchy texture to the surprisingly filling slice. 

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Una Pizza Napoletana
Photograph: Gabi Porter
Restaurants, Pizza

Filetti at Una Pizza Napoletana

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Nine years ago, Anthony Mangieri took Una Pizza Napoletana, his popular East Village–via-Jersey pizzeria, and shipped it to San Francisco. Well, if you love something, set it free, because Una Pizza has returned to its rightful home. The menu sports an array of 12-inch pies, each $25 and free of any exotic toppings. The star is the Filetti pie: a chewy and airy crust topped with mozzarella, fresh, sliced cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil.

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Photograph: Courtesy Molly Tavoletti
Restaurants, Pizza

Falcowitz slice at Upside Pizza

icon-location-pin Midtown West

This throwback pizza shop with bright pink checkboard decals brings nostalgia back to the slice shop. The "Falcowitz" is made with a decadent white wine lemon-y cream sauce with fresh mozz, a sprinkling of mushrooms, with with jazzy lemon zests, pepper, parsley and a heaping of Parmigiano Reggiano. It's so good it might just make the Port Authority area bearable. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Matteo R.
Restaurants, Italian

Spring Ortolana at Saraghina

icon-location-pin Bedford-Stuyvesant

Like an artistic oasis in an otherwise urban landscape, Saraghina brings a foreign flare and a fantastic flavor to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Named after a character in the film 8 1/2, Saraghina churns out pizza that exceeds 8 1/2 on any taste scale. The Ortolana screams out the best of spring, with bites full of ricotta, charred asparagus, and onion with salsa verde and radishes as garnish.

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Mike C.
Restaurants, Pizza

Garbage Pie at Denino’s

icon-location-pin Staten Island

A Staten Island institution since 1937, Denino's has been pioneering pizza innovation for over eight decades. Layering the perfect amount of hearty meats including homemade sausage, savory tomato sauce and tasty veggies, the Garbage Pie embodies the ideal supreme pizza that well-known pizza chains strive so hard to imitate. There is nothing like the real thing and Denino’s proves it with every pie.

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Antika
Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Old Fashioned Grandma Style Square at Antika

icon-location-pin Astoria

This Astoria restaurant is named as an homage to Antica Port'Alba, arguably the oldest pizzeria in the world. The Old Fashioned Grandma Style Square Pie is big enough for a family—the cookie sheet-shaped pizzas are loaded with four types of high quality cheeses, savory San Marzano tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil and oregano, then twice-baked in a gas-powered oven yielding a crust that provides a sturdy foundation for the toppings without feeling too heavy.

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Amore Pizzeria
Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Cheese at Amore Pizzeria

icon-location-pin Queens

If you love ample amounts of rich sauce and oily cheese set on a thin crisp crust, that's Amore. The decor of the kitchen and dining area retain the homey style of a stereotypical city pizzeria with its tight quarters, colorful juices swirling in their dispensers, and a greasy menu board lacking several letters. Tasty and consistently delicious in its simplicity, it's no wonder loyalists have been frequenting this place for decades.

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Christina R.
Restaurants

Pepperoni pizza at Pugsley Pizza

icon-location-pin The Bronx

If US News & World Report ranked college pizzerias, Pugsley's would have to be ranked #1: Inexpensive, convenient and open late. Order a full pie, and you're invited behind the counter to bang a suspended gong. According to a sign penned by owner Sal, who is as eccentric as he is Italian (and he's very Italian), you are to associate your goals with the sound of the gong. If your goal in life is to eat Pugsley's pepperoni pizza, it’s a win-win.

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Jessica L.
Restaurants, Pizza

Personal Van Dammer at Milkflower

icon-location-pin Astoria

Milkflower is more than an Astoria pizzeria; it's a gallery where everything is art and it's all on display. From the imported wood-fired brick oven to the brightly-lit dining area to the garden out back, and, finally, the pièce de résistance: the pizza. The “milk flower” is made in house and featured on the egg-and-Brussel-sprout-infused Van Dammer. Expect a well-prepared, oven-kissed piece of art every time that is almost too beautiful to eat.

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Pizza Cotta Bene
Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Grandma "Josie" at Pizza Cotta Bene

icon-location-pin Gowanus

The Italian translation of this Gowanus restaurant is “pizza cooked well.”  It’s an understatement. Layered with rich cooked tomato sauce, locally sourced fresh mozzarella, and garnished with just the right amount of herbs and spices, the Grandma Josie pie satisfies both your tastes buds and your appetite. Spreading these top quality ingredients all the way to the rectangular edge of the twice-baked, gas-powered crusts ensures flavor with every bite. 

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Sal & Carmine
Photograph: Bob Wong
Restaurants, Pizza

Cheese at Sal & Carmine Pizza

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

It's tough to find a reliable slice joint on the Upper West Side. There is only one: Sal and Carmine. Salty, crusty, and stiff on the outside but soft and warm on the inside is the best way to describe both the pizza and the pizzaioli that craft it. The gruff demeanor of the staff and no frills dining area with its strict 20-minute seating time limit only add to its "charm." 

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