We are fortunate we live in a city where the pizza is so good, even the dollar slices aren't half bad. Think of all the good pizza we eat in a given year. Yes, even the vegan and deep-dish varieties. Now think about all the good pizza we don't! It’s tragic. Among the best pizza in the world, most of it resides within our five boroughs. When Gennaro Lombardi opened up shop in 1905, he set in motion the most delicious machine on Earth: the New York pizza machine. To this day, Lombardi's, John's, and Grimaldi's enjoy lines down the block while other amazing coal-fired pizzerias remain hidden gems awaiting your patronage. Slice joints like Joe's in the Village, New Park Pizza in Howard Beach, and L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst helped define the quintessential New York street slice, but others in your own neighborhood have been slinging more than suitable replicas for generations. Kesté is the besté when it comes to serving traditional pies at the best Italian restaurants (where authentic customers order in actual Italian); and, if you can't get a reservation there, why not try somewhere that you can? Whether you want to avoid long lines, be in the know about the next big thing, or give a new shot to an overlooked favorite of yesteryear, here is the best New York pizza you haven't had (yet).
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Best New York pizza
Hidden in plain sight, NY Pizza Suprema greets Penn Station travelers in the shadow of Madison Square Garden. With the amount of foot traffic this pizzeria enjoys, they could skimp on ingredient quantity and quality but they choose not to. Instead, the chefs use the same family recipe since they opened in 1964 featuring some of the best cheeses from Italy and Wisconsin, perfectly ripened canned tomatoes from California, on a firm yet chewy classic New York crust. The never ending behind-the-counter dough tossing exhibition alone is worth the cost of the perfectly constructed slice. $20.
This unmarked Carroll Gardens gem combines hipness with pizza perfection for a laid-back dining experience patrons won't soon forget. The venue’s wait and minimalist menu in this BYOB joint may raise some concern but all of that will disappear once you take your first bite of Lucali wood-fired brick oven pizza. 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. After pressing out the dough and spreading the sauce, 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. Expect a true masterpiece with each and every Lucali pie - anything less is likely not Lucali. $30.
Giuseppina's owner and Founder Chris Iacono proudly credits his apprenticeship at his brother's pizzeria, Lucali, for his vast knowledge of dough preparation, oven maintenance, and topping distribution. Although there are subtle differences between the brother's pies, they are both equally and uniquely perfect. 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. Its cash only and not cheap, but, considering the high quality ingredients, time and love that goes into making each perfectly modeled pizza, it's a bargain at any price. $28.
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. $14.
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.) In 2010, he opened his own pizzeria in a public space so now everyone can be a dinner guest at Paulie Gee's. Expect him to sidle up to your table for a chat about the pizza. $17.
When trapped in tourist-infested Little Italy, look north! Rubirosa's triangular sign will guide you the two short blocks to some of the best pizza in the city. At the core of each pie are simple ingredients cooked expertly in a gas-powered oven by a family that has been in the industry long before Rubirosa's 2010 opening. The recipe that was perfected at Joe and Pat's is just as good now as it was over 50 years ago. 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. Not only will the slice defy your previous expectations of pizza, it will defy the laws of physics! $21.
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. It will be worth it. The amount of care Domenico DeMarco dedicates and the quality of ingredients ensures that each and every pizza that exits those conventional ovens will find its way into a very lucky person's face. There's a reason the dining room is filled with plaques, trophies and accolades. $30.
Anthony "Totonno" Pero began making pizza at Lombardi's, America's first pizzeria, 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. Fortunately he still uses the same recipe because it ain’t broke. True to its philosophy, only top quality ingredients are used here, including imported Italian olive oil, homemade mozzarella and savory tomato sauce. The secret of Totonno's success lies in their mastery of the coal burning oven. Maintaining a temperature of around 600'F enables the pizza chef to evenly and thoroughly cook the toppings and outer edge without risking the potential carbon-filled bitterness that comes with over charring. A visit to Totonno's may seem like a bit of a trek, but it's one of Coney Island's biggest (edible) attractions. $22.
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. The first one’s free....for real - tell them it's your first time! It won't be your last. $20.
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. $20.
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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.