The story of New York pizza begins as such: In 1905, Lombardi's opened as New York's first pizzeria, bringing the simple dish to Gotham’s Italian restaurants. The onetime exotic immigrant food quickly became as synonymous with Gotham as the city’s best bagels and hot dogs, and arguing over the city’s best pizza has become a classic New York pastime. With that in mind, we trekked all over town—from Coney Island to Hell’s Kitchen to Staten Island’s Dongan Hills—to find out if old favorites still lived up to their reputation and if new pizzerias could rise to the fierce competition. Here are the best New York pizza spots.
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Best New York pizza
Bow down, ladies and gentlemen. The king is an exquisite blend of bright plum-tomato sauce, puddles of rich buffalo mozzarella, zesty sausage, peppers and onions, all topped with drizzled olive oil from a copper pot and snipped basil leaves. Watching living legend Domenico DeMarco concoct his signature pie is damn near theatrical—if a bit on the long side. The hike for many of us to this no-frills Midwood spot will take a while. But trust us—one bite is worth the wait. $32.
The crisp throwback crusts, crowned with subtly sweet marinara and fresh mozzarella, are barely thicker than the paper plates your usual dollar slices are served on—but don’t write this pie off because it’s so damn pliable. (We’ll let deep-dish–lovin’ Chicagoans do that.) The nuanced za at this rustic Nolita eatery is a family affair too—it’s from Angelo Pappalardo, who learned the art of thin crust as a kid at his father’s Staten Island stalwart, Joe and Pat’s. $25.
Chef/owner Mark Iacono’s next-generation pizzeria in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens has attracted za cognoscenti and celebrity admirers alike (sup, Bey and Jay?), and for good reason: Lucali’s basic pie with basil is a tour de force, with a wide, char-pocked crust capped in garlic-zapped sauce, buffalo and low-moisture mozzarellas, whisper-thin ribbons of Parmigiano-Reggiano and aromatic rosettes of basil. $24.
Coal-fired blisters, spotted pools of house-made mozzarella and just the right amount of sauce (read: not much at all) keep us coming back to this 91-year-old Coney Island joint. Anthony “Totonno” Pero’s main attraction is a thing of beauty—perfectly served on a Styrofoam plate. $19.50.
The Neapolitan round on offer at Roberto Caporuscio’s West Village pizzeria is as exemplary a pie as you’re likely to find outside Naples—not surprising, considering Caporuscio grew up on a dairy farm an hour outside the city. It’s all about quality sourcing—San Marzano tomatoes, house-pulled mozz and a puffy, chewy crust built with Caputo 00 flour. We’re happy as hell you crossed the pond, dude. $13.
New Haven may have invented the clam pie, but Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens’s New York pizzeria damn sure perfected it. The gorgeous version here boasts a deep flavor, and the secret’s all in the sauce: The bivalves are plumped up in a white-wine reduction that’s then thickened with heavy cream and spread atop a crisp, AP-flour–based crust. With zippy chiles and a generous sprinkling of parsley, this is one pie to clamor over (yeah, we went there). $19.
There are few things we love more than a critic turned pro. From 2003 to 2014, Adam Kuban made a name for himself as the founder of beloved pizza blog Slice. Since then, he’s put his own slinging skills to the test, launching a weekend bar-pie pop-up inside Clinton Hill pizzeria Emily that regularly sells out months in advance. This mouth-tingling number builds on a well-done, credit-card–thin crust with Romano cheese, garlic-fennel sausage, pickled jalapeños and shaved red onions—a combo that’s launched this new pizzaiolo into the city’s pizza pantheon. $25.
A Greenwich Village institution since Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli opened his doors in 1975, this pocket-sized pizzeria excels in the quintessential New York slice, with its pliant yet cracker-thin undercarriage, slightly sweet sauce and a blanket of drippy, fresh mozzarella—big rounds of pepperoni are the metaphorical cherry on top. Stock up on drinks, though: The high demand means you’re almost always guaranteed a just-made one that will burn your tongue. $24.
The slices of Margherita at this 1933 East Harlem original are super thin and shorter than you’ll typically find, which means the average person—okay, fine, we—can easily wolf down five to six slices each, especially when they’re fresh from the oven with that bubbling, browned cap of creamy mozzarella beneath that zippy sauce. $18.
Carlo Mirarchi knows how to mess around. His Neapolitan pies sport witty names (Spudnik Cheesus Christ) and even more playful toppings, but our favorite is the takeout- and delivery-only Bee Sting, a salty-sweet blend of oven-crisped sopressata, crushed tomatoes, punchy chile and, the kicker, a few sticky swirls of honey that masterfully cut the spice and savoriness of the salami. Sometimes it pays to stay in. $16.
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Shocking news! New Yorkers love to argue about pizza. Who knew? Well, everyone, obviously—that’s why, when we presented our list of the 25 best New York pizzas, we also asked you guys to rearrange the list as you saw fit. Here are the results.
At many restaurants, the wine list can feel like an afterthought. At chef Jesse Schenker’s The Gander, it sets the tone for the entire meal. Once you settle into the cozy yet impressively large dining room, you’re presented with the most extensive wine list you’ve ever seen. With more than 650 bottles ranging in price from $55 well into the thousands, the thick binder can seem overwhelming to the layman. Thankfully, the staff will be more than happy to help you make a decision. The dinner menu is much more trim, offering a selection of snacks, small plates and larger dishes that are meant to be shared. Some starters, like the brisket tots ($13), seemed like elevated bar food. The fried pucks of beef and potato needed the spicy mustard for moisture, but hit the spot nonetheless. Others, like the sea trout tartare ($16), seemed to be something more. The tender morsels tasted refreshing and light, especially when served on a strip of fried trout skin, crispy as a chicharron. On a recent visit, the large plates skewed toward intensely savory, meaty dishes—ideal comfort foods. The duck breast with port wine sauce arrived medium rare, with beautifully rendered, crispy skin ($30). A hot pot of short rib, oxtail and andouille sausage was similarly well executed: the tender beef melted in the mouth, while the slices of carrots and potatoes remained al dente even after being submerged in an ultra savory broth ($28). As if you needed more, The Gander has plenty of tempting desserts o
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