In New York City, pizza can be a more contentious topic than politics. NYC is home to some of the greatest pizza geniuses of all time, so the competition for making the perfect pie is stiff. With delicious, creative options in seemingly every neighborhood, the pizza scene in New York City can be overwhelming, even to long time residents. But that isn’t a reason to resign yourself to less than extraordinary pizza. Here are some of my recommendations – aside from Lombardi’s, John’s of Bleecker Street, and Grimaldi’s, which I’m assuming you’re already familiar with.
1424 Ave J
Brooklyn, NY 11230
New Second Location:
109 N 3rd St
Brooklyn, NY 11249
Anthony Bourdain described Di Fara’s pizza as the best of the best, so it should come as no surprise that New York’s (arguably) best pizza costs $30 per pie. The Midwood location has been open since 1965, with Domenico DeMarco (the owner) making every pie and treating each one as an art form, a craft he and his family have mastered for years. All ingredients are fresh and flown in from Italy twice weekly. The new Williamsburg location in the North 3rd Street Market naturally lacks the authenticity of the original location, but being able to get this legendary pizza in Williamsburg is well worth the change of scene.
1631 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10028
PQR Pizza owner Angelo lezzi has been making pizza since he was 13, opened his first pizzeria in Rome 30 years ago, won The World’s Best Pizza by the Slice Championship in 1993, and is now the President of the Associazione Pizzerie Italiane. That is – he knows a thing or two about how to make the perfect slice. Through the years he experimented with the dough-making process and discovered a high-hydration, 96 hour, cold fermentation process that creates a fluffy crust with a crispy-bottom that is also easier to digest, lower in carbs, and higher in protein than standard pizza. PQR stands for Pizza Quadrata Romana and the restaurant just opened in March.
Mani in Pasta
245 E. 14th Street
New York, NY 10003
Another Roman-style pizzeria owned by a world-champion pizza maker is Mani in Pasta, with an East 14th Street restaurant and a Midtown East take-out spot. Giuseppe Manco is the revered chef behind this joint and his pan pizza is what’s he’s earned championships for, but it’s not just the pizza that this chef does well; his entire Italian menu (meatballs, fritto misto, calamari, insalate, and much more) is a melt-in-your-mouth trip to the motherland.
63 Clinton Street at Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
As one of the 126 NYC restaurants to be awarded a 2018 prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand award, Speedy Romeo’s is the new gold standard for pizza. Its recipes are creative twists on classic Italian fare. House favorites include the Dangerfield, topped with béchamel, pork-veal meatballs, and ricotta; as well as the Anton Ego which features smoked eggplant, summer squash, and tomato concentrate.
Houdini Kitchen Laboratory
1563 Decatur Street at Wyckoff Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Located in a converted 19th-century brewery, this spot is effortlessly cool. Instead of overdosing on crazy toppings, Houdini’s wood-fired pizza features delicious, traditional flavors.
2287 1st Avenue at East 118th Street
New York, NY 10035
Pasty’s Pizzeria is the reason they coined the phrase “neighborhood institution.” Started in 1933, it became a 1970s hangout and inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola as he was dreaming up The Godfather. New Yorkers still venture there to feast on the coal-oven pizza topped with aged mozzarella.
21 West 8th Street at Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Pizza only comprises a small portion of this restaurant’s flavorful menu, but its been enough to earn the young chef Dan Kluger praise. Kluger’s joint won New York Magazine’s Best Pizza of 2018 for its whole-wheat baked crust topped with unexpected items like crab and fennel. Be sure to save room for the chocolate-orange cupcake.
Joe & Pat’s
168 First Avenue b/t 10th and 11th Streets
New York, New York 10009
Up until last year, pizza-lovers had to haul all the way out to Staten Island to try the famous Pappalardo family’s thin-crust pizza, a staple of the neighborhood since 1960. Luckily for Manhattanites, the owners decided to bring their fresh ingredients and perfected menu to the East Village. It’s a more dressed-up vibe, with catching vintage signs and a dark wood bar, but underneath it all, you’ll get to enjoy the same mozzarella recipes that have made it a cult-favorite.
254 S 2nd Street b/t Roebling & Havemeyer Streets
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Chef Massimo Laveglia is a Florence native who envisioned L’Industrie as the perfect blend of Italian tradition and New York City authenticity. The menu items, all crafted from top-quality ingredients, range from the classic Margherita to a unique breakfast pie featuring egg, bacon, and mozzarella. You’ll want to save room for the house dessert, a Nutella pizza topped with strawberries.