Everyone knows New York is the best city for pizza. But what places are cooking up the best pizza in New York? From the late-night spots that'll be open on the walk home from the bar, to the places that'll you need to clear your schedule for just to get a seat, here are the ten best pizza spots in the city.
A favorite of Beyonce and Jay-Z (and presumably Blue Ivy), this Brooklyn pizza restaurant is truly top notch. Serving only pizza and calzones, Lucali does it's one thing as perfectly as it gets. Dough is rolled thin with an empty wine bottle, topped with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzerella, and your choice of toppings, and served on a tall pizza stand with extra red sauce for crust dipping. The restaurant doesn't take reservations and can have an hours-long wait on weekends, but take advantage of nearby bars during your wait, and be sure to bring a bottle because Lucali is BYOB.
This Union Square Italian restaurant serves a broad menu, but the pizza is definitely a stand out. Served in two varieties, Neapolitan and Pizza en Pala (the dough rises for 72 hours and is baked twice), you have a broad variety of traditional, innovative, and even gluten-free options from the wood-burning oven at this pizzeria.
Ribalta (credit: Facebook/Ribalta)
Artichoke Bastille may have been my very first friend back when I moved to NYC in 2009, and I've certainly learned to share its excellence with my real New York friends. The artichoke pizza features a fluffy crust with alfredo sauce, spinach, artichoke, and parmesan. It's rich, gooey, and everything you could want in a warm handheld piece of food. One bite is heaven, and one slice is total indulgence. Margherita and crab slices are also delicious.
This Bushwick pizzeria brings even snobbiest Manhattanites to the outer boroughs. The famous Cheeses Christ is a cheese lovers' dream come true: topped with mozzarella, taleggio and parmigiano cheese, this pie is a true triple threat. Like anything good in New York, expect a long line where you will be tempted by pizza scents.
5. Di Fara
Domenico DeMarco is a local celebrity, having owned and operated Di Fara since 1964. Dom cooks both New York and Sicilian-style pizza Wednesday through Sunday (noon to 4:30 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) for hungry New Yorkers and tourists willing to wait in long lines, and brave the free-for-all that is the Di Fara counter experience. Yes, you're better off getting a whole pie than shelling out for the $5 slice. Yes, it's a trek, and sure, Dom goes through periods where the underside of the pizza can trend toward overdone, but when he's on, Di Fara can make a very strong case for being America's best pizza. If you want to understand why before visiting, watch the great video about Di Fara called, The Best Thing I Ever Done. You can’t go wrong with the classic round or square cheese pie (topped with oil-marinated hot peppers, which you can ladle on at the counter if you elbow in), but the menu’s signature is the Di Fara Classic Pie: mozzarella, Parmesan, plum tomato sauce, basil, sausage, peppers, mushroom, onion, and of course, a drizzle of olive oil by Dom.
Some spaces are cursed. Others? Blessed. When Anthony Mangieri shuttered Una Pizza Napoletana at 349 East 12th St. and headed west, Mathieu Palombino took over the lease, renamed the space Motorino, and the East Village pizza scene hardly skipped a beat. Motorino offers a handful of spirited pies, including one with cherry stone clams; another with stracciatella, raw basil, and Gaeta olives; and the cremini mushroom with fior di latte, sweet sausage, and garlic. But contrary to every last fiber of childhood memory you hold dear, the move is the Brussels sprouts pie (fior di latte, garlic, Pecorino, smoked pancetta, and olive oil), something both Hong Kong natives and Brooklynites can now attest to since Palombino opened (and moved and reopened) his Asian and Williamsburg outposts in 2013.
Franny’s isn’t just a Brooklyn pizza spot that opened in 2004, it’s one of the Brooklyn restaurants that helped generate the critical mass of passion that was necessary to create the Brooklyn versus Manhattan restaurants debate. This local spot run by husband-and-wife owners Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens (veterans of Savoy), who New York Magazine once called "as committed to the Chez Panissean tenets of local, sustainable agriculture as they are to the venerable tradition of artisanal pizza-making," is the restaurant darling of Brooklyn (it was also just named by The New York Times as one ofthe 12 best restaurants in New York for wine). And even though they’ve moved across the street, expanded from 32 seats to more than 100, and opened another restaurant (Marco’s), Franny’s quality and passion for food — and pizza — hasn’t waned a bit. Want to have some fun? Start a conversation at the restaurant about which of the 12 pizzas on the menu is best. It will be a heated debate. What’s certain is that the clam pie, not a style New York is known for mind you, with chiles and parsley, is one of New York City and America’s best.
For many New Yorkers, Arthur Avenue is a storied pilgrimage to the Bronx they’ve heard of where supposedly they can get the "authentic" Italian food no longer prevalent at the oft-maligned Chinatown-encroached tourist spots of Little Italy. Whether or not you agree that Italian Shangri-La matches the perception, Salerno native chef Roberto Paciullo is one of the driving forces behind it. The success of his first spot Roberto’s led to the pizzeria Zero Otto Nove ("0-8-9"), which was named for Salerno’s area code (Salerno being the port city about a 45-minute drive south of Naples), and a second location in New York’s Flatiron District (just around the corner from The Daily Meal’s office… stop by around 6 p.m. for a drink and ask for Freddy). The Neapolitan wood-fired pies cook under 900-degree heat for about 45 seconds, and they are exemplary (we can vouch for almost the entire menu, which includes pies with gorgonzola and tomatoes, sliced potatoes and sausage, and the more adventurous Cirilo with butternut squash purée and cream of truffles, but once again The Daily Meal’s panel of experts singled out the Margherita, which features a tangy, balanced sauce, and crust that’s light and a little chewy, too good to leave behind as pizza bones.
Zero Otto Nove (credit: Facebook/Zero Otto Nove
As a Columbia Alum, I feel obligated to include Koronet as having some of the best slices in Manhattan. First of all, the slices are as big as your face, and though the prices increase by a few cents every year, it always seems like a bargain for a giant Koronet's cheese slice (best topped with garlic powder and red pepper).
10. Two Bros.
Okay, so they may not serve the best pizza in NYC, but I'd argue that they do serve the best $1 slice! The dough is perfectly crisp, the sauce tastes like tomatoes (not ketchup or paste, like so many $1 slices), and the cheese is gooey and plentiful. For a quick, late-night pizza fix, any location of Two Bros around the city will do.