Food & Drink

NYC's 12 best under-the-radar pizzas

Published On 04/15/2014 Published On 04/15/2014

The problem with our fair city's unrequited love for pizza (sorry, man -- pizza does not love you back) is that at a certain point, you find you've eaten your way through what's widely considered the city's top pizza spots (to say nothing of the entire country's). But what about the pies that've slipped through the proverbial cracks? Or even the real cracks, in a table with rather large cracks?

Here to keep you full, in newfound ways: our list of the 12 best under-the-radar pizzas in NYC, none of which you'll find on any "Best Of" lists from NY Mag, Zagat, Time Out, Eater (Eater again!), Serious Eats, Gothamist, or Village Voice.

Solo Pizza NYC

Solo Pizza (click here for address and info)
Alphabet City
Take the most deliciously reliable slice joint you’ve ever lived near, add a superb Grandma slice, and throw in some of the garlicky-est knots ever knotted, and you’ve got Solo. If you’re wandering Alphabet City/in the delivery area and need a top-notch slice, this is absolutely the place you want.

The Square

The Square (click here for address and info)
Staten Island
In a city where the triangle slice is king, this haven for doughy, saucy square slices is just as satisfying, while also being a welcomed change of pace.

The Manor Restaurant

The Manor Restaurant (click here for address and info)
Staten Island
If you're not from the area, it's highly probable that you might walk right by this restaurant without realizing they've got some choice pizza options, along with their white table clothes, linguini with clam sauce, and chicken Francaise. The humdingers, though? An off-the-charts bianca with mozzarella, ricotta, oil, garlic, and fresh basil, and a "garbage" pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, peppers, and mushrooms.

Andrew Zimmer

Toby's Public House (click here for address and info)
Nolita and Park Slope
This casual bar and pie shop has been slinging top-notch wood-fired cheese discs for years in Brooklyn (and slightly more recently in Nolita), next-leveling their pies with top-notch ingredients like Buffalo mozz, prosciutto di parma, and pecorino Toscano DOP. It doesn't hurt that they've got a pretty great beer selection too, including All Day IPA, Arrogant Bastard, and Sly Fox.

Rocky Sullivan's (click here for address and info)
Red Hook
The only Irish bar to make the list (or probably any pizza list ever) turns out a titular thin-crust brick oven 'za topped with sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoni, and roasted peppers. As it turns out, that pie also goes really well with rooftop seating, pool, and pints of Guinness.

Flickr/Joe Hall

Sam's Restaurant (click here for address and info)
Cobble Hill
There're no bells and whistles at this super-old-school spot (we're talking checkered-table-clothes-level old-school), but there is an old NY attitude, and a "no slices" policy for their coal-fired brick oven pizza, which has a chewy-yet-crispy crust and a nostalgia-inducing mix of sauce and melty cheese.


Williamsburg Pizza (click here for address and info)
A relative newcomer to the pizza scene, this spot was started by a member of the United States Pizza Team (which sounds like something you should try out for immediately), who's making just about everything from scratch, including the cheese -- because according to him, real Brooklyn thin crust pizza doesn't need any gimmicks, just good ingredients, and an "obsessive devotion" to freshness and quality.

Editor's Note: It's been brought to our attention that Williamsburg Pizza was on one of NY Mag's "Best Of" lists last year. And while we still think it's not yet considered to be one of the NYC Pizza Standard bearers just yet, we acknowledge that it's not quite as under-the-radar as the others.


Ribalta (click here for address and info)
Union Square
They've got four different kinds of ovens here all pumping out different types of great pizza, including our rec: the Pizza in Pala, which's a special way of twice-baking it so that the crust comes up with that perfect combination of crispy and chewy. The Napoletana's great too, but it's probably time you branched out.

Wikimedia Commons

Dani's House of Pizza (click here for address and info)
Kew Gardens
Dani's is one of the reason's Queens could very well be the best borough. It's been perfecting old-school slices since 1959, and should be held up as a tried and true example of the form.

Mario's Restaurant and Catering

Mario's Restaurant (click here for address and info)
The Bronx
Zero Otto Nove and Coals (whose Bronx location is unfortunately now closed) got a lot of the love in the Bronx, but Mario's -- which has been open for 90+ years on the legendary Arthur Ave -- is top-notch as well. It's not a slice joint by any means; instead, it's the kind of place with old-school, over-the-top Italian charm that just does flat-out incredible pies, even though the pizza's only listed as an appetizer. Whatever you do, don't let that deter you.

Table 87

Table 87 (click here for address and info)
Brooklyn Heights
Claiming to be the first spot in Brooklyn that'll give you coal-oven pizza by the slice, this spot near Barclay's Center has some big-time competition nearby. But it's got enough nostalgia-inducing flavor, smell, and feel that you shouldn't sleep on it.


Reader's Choice
SYKE! We only picked 11; the 12th is actually totally up to you. Where's the best, most underrated pizza in the city? Let us know in the comments (each mention is one vote, and remember: it can't be on any of those "Best Of" lists) and we'll announce the winner by the end of this week (4/18 - and here it is, the Reader's Choice)

Andrew Zimmer is Thrillist's NYC Editor and he thinks cold pizza in the morning is excellent. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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1. Solo Pizza NYC 27 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009 (Alphabet City)

This seriously underrated pizza joint dishes out a variety of pizzas in basically every style you could imagine, from thin crust to thick, Sicilian or New York-style, etc. And if you're not in the mood for pizza (shame on you), it also serves a menu full of other options like pasta and sandwiches.

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2. The Manor Restaurant 917 Manor Rd, Staten Island, NY 10314

This Italian haunt brings a number of authentic menu options from their kitchen to your tastebuds, including a tasty linguini with clam sauce, succulent chicken Francaise, and a number of pizzas including their special Garbage pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, peppers, and mushrooms.

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3. The Square 1910 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10305

One of two Staten Island locations, the Square breaks out of the New York City norm by baking up fresh and delicious SQUARE 'za instead of the traditional triangle slices, in addition to pasta, salad, wings, and subs.

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4. Toby's Public House 86 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

For years one of BK's fave 'za joints, Toby's has jumped the river and landed in an old-school, brick-laden alfresco corner on the Nolita/SoHo border, where they'll kick out pancetta-wrapped shrimp, andouille & focaccia mussels, three-cheese prosciutto cotto calzones, and wood-fired pies like the prosciutto, crimini & black truffle cream sauce Tartufata, as that's exactly what tartufo cream sauce will make you.

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5. Sam's 238 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Cobble Hill)

This red sauce Italian joint in Cobble Hill has remain unchanged since opening in 1930. The basement space is outfitted with red checkered tablecloths and red leather booths, aka it's the perfect place to enjoy brick-oven pizza made with a thick-for-New-York crust and a liberal amount of sauce and cheese. The menu also includes basic Italian dishes like spaghetti with meatballs, baked clams, and lasagna. The real star of the place is Louis, the son of the original owner who mans the dining room with a gruff and no-nonsense manner.

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6. Williamsburg Pizza 265 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Williamsburg Pizza is a popular counter-serve joint that doles out Brooklyn slices and Grandma squares, plus some of the shiniest, crustiest, and steaming hot garlic knots in the city. Toppings vary from house-made mozzarella and Italian sausage to crimini mushrooms and white truffle oil. The no-frills spot is perfect for when you're looking for a late-night slice, or you just feel like ordering a pizza.

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7. Ribalta 48 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)

Wood-fired, thin-crust Neapolitan pizza is what's on the menu at this airy, modern Italian restaurant near Union Square. While crispy pies piled high with bright splashes of tomato sauce might be the stand-outs here, Ribalta's menu also features a nice selection of rustic pastas and greens. Flat screen TVs regularly broadcast international soccer matches, adding to the casual, bistro vibe.

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8. Dani's House of Pizza 81-28 Lefferts Blvd, Kew Gardens, NY 11415 (Queens)

This pizza spot has been around since slices were going at 25 cents a pice (1963 to be exact). There's a larger Italian restaurant connected next door, but this is the place to hit up when you're in desperate need of a quick, tasty, no-frills slice.

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9. Mario's Restaurant 2342 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10458 (Bronx)

Expect nothing less than an authentic Italian-American experience at this red-sauce joint that's been in business for more than 90 years. The Arthur Ave spot focuses on classics like linguine and clams, chicken parm, and ossu buco, but you'd be remiss if you didn't order the margherita pizza. It's hidden under the appetizer section on the menu, so make sure you ask for it in a large unless you want a tiny starter pie. In case you needed more proof that Mario's is legit, here's some trivia: a scene from The Sopranos was filmed inside.

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10. Table 87 87 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Brooklyn Heights)

Vince Vaughn and Colin Ferrel have turned out for this pizzeria which churns out pizzas by the slice - might be the only place in NYC to do this - or pie from its coal-fired oven.

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11. Rocky Sullivan's 34 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

This new iteration of Rocky Sullivan's - the first in Manhattan - comes replete with Irish book readings, Irish music(Celtic hip-hop anyone?), quiz night and a roof deck. If you're in the mood for a beer, you'll likely be served one of the drafts from next door's Six Points Brewery.



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