Food & Drink

Here are the 10 best pizzas in NYC

Published On 09/05/2013 Published On 09/05/2013
New York's Best Pizza

In its adopted hometown of NY alone, pizza has probably hundreds of variations, each delicious and likely deserving of all sorts of saucy praise. But, as the confused Highlander who lost and got his head chopped off said, "There can be only 10." So we narrowed it down and ranked our favorites, 10 to 1. Read on to get very hungry.

Yelp user Jen H.

10. Vezzo Thin Crust Pizza
Midtown East
What you're ordering: Shroomtown
Part of a mini pizza empire (not a mini-pizza empire, although that would be pretty dope too) also comprising Gruppo, Posto, and Spunto, Vezzo gets the nod for flying under the radar and being a welcome surprise in a relatively barren neighborhood. They specialize in ultra-thin crust and somehow manage not to overwhelm it, even when loading up tons of toppings on pies like the excellent Shroomtown.

Yelp user Paulie G

9. Paulie Gee's
What you're ordering: Anise and Nephew
Started up by a guy who used to cook 'za in his backyard, this wood-burning Neapolitan spot brings in wild the things like the Monte Cristo with Gouda, Canadian bacon, and a "pure maple syrup drizzle", plus the Anise and Nephew topped with mozz, braised fennel, anisette-cream drizzle, Berkshire guanciale, and fennel fronds that're SO much better than Sbarro's fennel fronds.

Food Smackdown

8. Joe's Pizza
Greenwich Village
What you're ordering: Plain slice
Located in the heart of the Greenwich Village, to some this is the quintessential NY slice, and by "some" we mean the insanely famous people in the photos: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mickey Rourke, '60s pro wrestler Haystacks Calhoun, and noted pizza-dominator Anne Hathaway.

7. Keste
West Village
What you're getting: Margherita
A standard-bearer for stateside Neapolitan pies, Keste works with crazy-fresh ingredients and homemade mozzarella, and the pizzaiolo is a certified pizza master with the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, which is way more impressive than that one time you put basil on Elio's.

Yelp user Emiko T

6. Best Pizza
What you're ordering: White pie
This collab between Brooklyn Star and a Roberta's alum is the next evolution of the NY slice joint: everything is just a little bit better than you think it should be, from the occasional sesame seeds sprinkled on the white pie, to not-Ray's cuts of pepperoni, to the caramelized onions.

5. Prince St Pizza
What you're ordering: Vodka slice or Soho square
Our pick for the go-to slice joint right now, Prince St has the right doughy consistency, excellent cheese stretchiness, and a nice tally of step-up options like a killer vodka slice and square slices topped with spicy sopressata and fresh mozz.

4. Motorino
Williamsburg & East Village
What you're ordering: Prosciutto di Parma
Killer crust, a chewy slightly charred base, and a slew of inventive toppings like Brussels sprouts with smoked pancetta or cherry stone clams with oreganata butter put this two-location mainstay high on the list.

3. Juliana's
What you're ordering: Margherita Pizza
After changes went down at Grimaldi's and they ended up in a new space under a new owner, the original dude, Patsy Grimaldi, returned to the scene of the pizza crime we're happy he committed with Juliana's. It's simple, it's excellent, and it's not nearly as mobbed as it should be.

2. Roberta's
What you're ordering: The Family Jewels
With just the right mix of old-school and interesting, the Bushwick icon remains a favorite with everyone from its neighbors to Bill Clinton. We like to think he ordered the sausage and jalapeño-topped Beastmaster.

Flickr user Paul Lowry

1. Di Fara Pizza
What you're getting: Regular cheese pie
Beyond excellent since 1964 thanks to the slow-but-precise hands of the lone man who makes every pie, this is maybe the only place in the world where you can wait for pizza for two hours and not think you were insane when it was all said and eaten.

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1. Keste Pizza & Vino 271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

You know a restaurateur takes his pizza seriously when he's heating the pies on volcanic stone in a wood-fired oven that's made specially by Italian artisans. The man behind the kitchen is Roberto Caporuscio, a certified member of the Associazone Pizzaiouli Napoletana, a trade organization devoted to upholding traditional Neapolitan pizza techniques. Caporuscio's bona fide position in the pizza-making world puts Kesté among the best spots in the city for the sparsely topped, doughy discs -- all made with imported Italian ingredients.

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2. Vezzo Thin Crust Pizza 178 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016 (Midtown East)

It's hard to get thin-crust pizza right -- without the ever-dependable thick layer of dough, the toppings have to deliver on all the texture and flavor. Thankfully, we have places like Vezzo Thin Crust Pizza to look to for inspiration. Its mushroom "Shroomtown" pie is the restaurant's calling card, but other topping selections (like four cheese and big pineapple) also make for memorable thin-crust experiences. If you're so inclined, the restaurant also offers classic pasta and small plate options to go with the Chianti-fueled feast you'll likely have.

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3. Joe's Pizza 7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014 (Greenwich Village)

Joe's Pizza is the epitome of an NYC slice joint. The West Village original has been doling out perfectly simple slices of New York and Sicilian-style pies since 1975. The process is simple: wait in line, pay for a slice, fold it in half, and eat it while standing.

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4. Paulie Gee’s 60 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

In the dog-eat-dog world of New York pizzerias, Greenpoint’s Paulie Gee’s ranks pretty high. The Neapolitan-style pies include classic ones topped with tomatoes, arugula, and Parmigiano reggiano and more experimental takes like the Greenpoint Benedict topped with mozzarella, baby spinach, Canadian bacon, and Hollandaise sauce. There’s vegan pizza that makes a strong case for dairy-free eating, plus salads and soups to start. The barn-like interior makes it feel extra rustic and cozy.

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5. Best Pizza 33 Havemeyer St, New York, NY 11211

Opened by Roberta's alum Frank Pinello, Best Pizza is paper-plating thin-crust and grandma-style pies with toppings like LaFrieda shortrib/brisket meatballs, chicken, anchovies, and bacon. Sometimes, however, simplicity is key, so we recommend giving the plain white slice a try as well. Best Pizza utilizes a century-old wood-burning oven, but the joint's other accents are decidedly no-frills -- the walls are covered in paper plates that are adorned with crazy drawings by customers, and the space in general is very reminiscent of an old-school pizza shop.

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6. Prince Street Pizza 27 Prince St, New York, NY 10012 (Soho)

This popular Nolita pizza shop specializes in square pizzas and New York-style pies. Available by the slice or as a whole pie, all of the pizzas are named after streets in SoHo. The signature is hands down the Spicy Spring, a square pie topped with spicy fra diavolo tomato sauce, mozzarella, and crispy pepperonis. The space is tiny and aside from a few counters, there isn't much seating so your best bet is to eat your slice on the street like a true New Yorker.

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7. Motorino Pizza 139 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Motorino's Brooklyn outpost is a Williamsburg staple, slinging excellent Neapolitan pies, from the classic margherita to more adventurous options like gorgonzola with speck and onions. The pies are supplemented with salads, antipasti, cheese, and salumi to round out an Italian menu rich in classics as well as quality modern takes.

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8. Juliana's 19 Old Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

It’s not a coincidence that Juliana’s is next door to the famed Grimaldi’s -- Patsy Grimaldi opened the Dumbo pizzeria in 2012, 14 years after he sold Grimaldi’s to a new owner and entered a legendary pizza feud. Long story short, Juliana’s thin-crust pies should be on your bucket list of New York pizza. Aside from the classics (margherita, marinara, and white pizza), there are a few specials, like the tomato-free pie topped with mozzarella, scamorza cheese, pancetta, scallions, and white truffles. The wait is the longest on the weekend, but it isn’t as tourist-heavy as other joints (ahem, Grimaldi’s).

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9. Roberta's Pizza 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)

Don’t be dissuaded by the gritty, graffiti-splattered cinder-block facade, Roberta’s is among New York’s most celebrated pizzerias, having made an international footprint (sauce print?) with visiting Europeans and local Bushwick loft-dwellers alike who endure long waits on nights and weekends for a table. Inside the red front door, you'll find a warm dining room and open kitchen where blistering discs of dough are pulled out of an Italian-made wood-burning oven and given names like Speckenwolf (mozzarella, crispy speck, cremini mushroom, red onion, oregano) and Millennium Falco (parmesan, pork sausage, red onion). The final product is Neapolitan-like in taste and structure, and since you probably won't have any leftovers, do yourself one last favor and buy a loaf of bread from the on-site bakery on your way out.

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10. Di Fara Pizza 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY 11230

You'll have to brave a long line, but it's more than worth it for Dom DeMarco's handmade pies, lauded by many as the best in New York, and featuring a sauce made with simple San Marzanos; a sprinkling DeMarco's blend of Grana Padano, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses; and a careful snipping of fresh basil across the top.



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