In New York City it’s common knowledge that pizza, like bagels, is something of a religion. Where to find the best pizza in New York City, however, is a matter of fierce local debate.
Most natives are quick to defend their favorite place to grab a slice, and whether their friends agree really depends on personal preference and whether they’ve really tried all the options. (And lucky for you, dear reader, we have.)
After 10+ years eating around the city as a food and culture critic, I can truly attest that after much R&D (for science!) I feel confident publishing this insider’s guide to the Best Pizza Places in NYC.
It’s no small feat, trying to organize and explain something as vast as the culinary landscape in a Pizzaiolo-filled city like New York, but I’ve been doing it long enough now that you can consider this punchy list to be a comprehensive overview of the quintessential pizza places in NYC.
Every pizza parlor on this list is worth visiting but for different reasons. It all depends on your personal preferences– though I can say this: even if it’s a corner walk-up pizza shop, wherever you decide to try pizza in NYC will be a worthy experience. Frankly, it’s all good.
Still, there are certain classics you just shouldn’t miss, whether you’re a visitor looking to scratch “pizza” off your NYC bucket list or a local who wants to experience all that the city has to offer.
Below we spotlight where you can find New York’s best pizza– in no particular order (so be sure to scroll to the end for a basic overview). Each of the following institutions is special and iconic for different reasons, as we’ll explain below.
Give it a quick scroll and Bookmark this list for easy reference later.
Una Pizza Napoletana
Una Pizza Napoletana is known for its wood-fired 12-inch Neopolitan-style pizza, which frequently sells out.
Topped with straightforward ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, smoked mozzarella DOO, fresh and dried oregano, Sicilian sea salt, and EVOO, the beautiful, billowy crust of each pizza is a testament to founder Anthony Mangieri’s pie-making prowess. Simple does it best– or so is the philosophy at this popular NYC pizza joint.
Ultimately, there are no crazy toppings here– just cheese, sauce, and herbs in various combinations. The biggest decision is the choice between white and red pies. (Ideally, choose both!)
The margarita pizza, moreover, is so, so good; the burrata is super fresh, and the prosciutto is rich, briny, and uber-tasty. It’s the restaurant’s signature dish, make no mistake in ordering it.
We also love the Alena white pizza with smoked mozzarella– a lovely and unique option for folks who want to go tomato-less.
The red sauce cheeseless pizzas, meanwhile, are beautifully herbaceous as the sauce has such brightness and depth of flavor that it could bring a tear to your eye. Even if you aren’t dairy-free, this is a perfect, simple crowd-pleaser. Each pizza here is small enough to indulge and large enough to share, so order a few for the table for the quintessential sit-down experience.
Ultimately, the real star of every pizza here is the dough, which they leaven with old-school techniques and cook in a wood-fired oven until it’s super fluffy, bubbly, and crispy. (^ Just look at that picture, above!)
We love that you can watch them make the pizza here live behind a glass wall, as well. That’s the authentic pizza parlor way!
Una Pizza is also known for its great desserts, so if you dine on-site, be sure not to skimp on them. In particular, look for seasonal specials like summertime mango-chili sorbetto, which they serve in a chilled metal chalice. Charming all the way!
Lucali is known for its thin-crust pizza and no-nonsense ethos. When it comes to pizza, this Caroll Gardens outpost is one of Brooklyn’s most traditional, serving what is likely the best pepperoni pizza in NYC. As a result, all the old-school Italians love this place– even famous ones like Henry Winkler (who played “Fonzie”) and Michael Imperioli (from The Sopranos).
Everyone from Jay-Z and Beyonce to Mark Wahlberg and Bella Hadid have been photographed here, and owner Mark Lucali has been on all the NYC talk shows, from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers to Kelly and Ryan. Needless to say, the visibility here is high.
Ultimately, hard work and dedication to using farm-fresh and locally-sourced ingredients set this straightforward Brooklyn pizza parlor apart, as the menu is short and simple.
The focus here is on classic pizza and calzones, no fancy spices, toppings, oils, or garnishes (for that, head to some of the other pizza places on this list, like Emily or Roberta’s!)– just plain pizza pies as traditionalists have come to know and love them. As a result, this spot is great for picky eaters and purists, alike.
During busy seasons, there can often be a line, and as of this writing Lucali is only open in the evenings from 5 PM to 11 PM, so check hours before you go.
The bustling, lively Roberta’s outpost in Bushwick is a classic for new-age Brooklyn hipsters who love pizza. This OG, new school pizza parlor is a great place to see and be seen while you dine on foodie-friendly pizza with toppings like tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pork sausage, onions, capers, and jalapenos (that’s the “Beastmaster”) or an extra-cheesy mozzarella, taleggio, parmigiano, black pepper, and cream (the “Cheesus Crist”).
If you’re a first-timer to this part of Brooklyn, try the OG classic “Bee Sting”– a tomato, mozzarella, basil, and soppressata pizza drizzled in chili and honey– which they have been slinging for ages. Otherwise, the “White and Greens” is a pretty popular greens-heavy option featuring a simple medley of mozzarella, parmigiano, fresh market greens, and lemon. Brooklyn vegetarians love their greens!
If dining on-site Roberta’s also offers a delightful array of charcuterie options, salads, pasta, and grilled items like Figs & Prosciutto– market figs and Broadbent prosciutto enrobed in basil, lemon, and olive oil– or seasonal Sunchokes grilled with hazelnuts, thyme, and sunflower crema. So good!
Ultimately, the pizza is the real draw here, but it sings in partnership with the whole Roberta’s experience. It’s one-part restaurant, one-part high-end bar, and it’s an absolutely great place to grab a drink and pizza with friends after work (said from many years of experience).
Oh, and if you want to make-your-own pizza? The DIY options at Roberta’s are great, from griddled garlic to top-notch guanciale.
Di Fara Pizza
Di Fara pizzeria is something of an OG, with an original outpost in Midwood, Brooklyn that many New York pizza acolytes are okay with making a long pilgrimage for. (Though they now have an airy pop-up in Seaport, for those who want a shorter commute from Manhattan.)
The shop was founded by Domenico De Marco, aka “Dom”, who opened the shop in 1965 after emigrating to Brooklyn from the Province of Caserta, Italy.
For fellow NYC pizza makers like Mark Lucali, he is a mentor and avuncular figure who is generous both with his love of pizza and his thoughts on making it.
The go-to pie here is a classic Margherita, though the pizza they named “The Classic” is actually the above-shown sausage, sweet pepper, mushroom, and red onion pizza, which has been on the menu since 1965. The menu here is pretty no-frills (you won’t find any fancy or exotic toppings here!) and it’s nothing if not consistent.
Emily (& Emmy Squared)
With its unique and often unusual flavor combinations, Emily is offbeat compared to some of the more classic NYC pizza institutions on this list. Still, the restaurant’s beloved epicurean slices are an absolute delight nonetheless.
While not the traditional NYC pizza slice most would come to expect, the square pizza slices at Emmy Squared, the brand’s Detroit-style pizza offshoot– are also some of the most Instagrammed pizza slices in the city. (To say nothing of their insane Emmy Burger— but that’s a story for another time.)
Is it sacrilege to recommend Detroit-style square pizza in NYC? Maybe. But these punchy flavors and rich crispy pies speak for themselves. The crust here tends to be a lot thicker than standard NYC pizza, of course, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something more foldable.
Either way, don’t miss the eponymous “Emily” pizza– a white pizza topped with pistachios, honey, mozzarella, and truffle Sottocenere cheese– as well as the Pig Freaker (Benton’s bacon, kimchi, miso queso, and sesame). These are pretty iconic pies that capture what makes Emily so special.
Most of the menu offerings are equally unique and seemingly upscale as far as pizza goes– see, for example, the Lady Pizza Girl, which features ricotta, Havarti, mushroom, pickled jalapeño, and basil. Creative, unique, and ultimately gorgeous!
The menu offerings are slightly different at the West Village and Clinton Hill locations, so feel free to peruse the menus before deciding which one to go to. All of the food at Emily is decadent and delicious– don’t miss the appetizers and salads, which make ideal accompaniments to these unusual pies.
And, FWIW, any pizza here can be made gluten-free using Thomas Keller’s Cup4Cup gluten-free flour.
Joe’s Pizza is a Greenwich Village institution for getting an authentic (usually late-night) New York street slice. This place dates back to the 1970s and has been featured in opening montages of various NY-based and filmed TV shows, cementing its iconography in the landscape of NYC pizza institutions.
Today, NYU students, tourists, and native New Yorkers alike find the pizza here so reliably comforting that they used to have a sign that said, “In a world that’s constantly changing, it’s good to know that some things stay the same.” <— That about sums up the classicism of the pizza here. It’s thin-crusted, foldable, sauce-and-cheese-centered oversized street pizza served on paper plates.
Even the ordering counter has a welcoming, come-hither vibe that invites casual walkups. It’s the kind of place where people eat their slices standing up at the window counter.
Basically, if you’re looking for a quintessential New York City street pizza experience– one where iconically large wedges of thin-crust pizza are served by the slice, and devoured hungrily– this is it.
Joe’s Pizza was founded by Joe Pozzuoli, a native of Naples, Italy (the birthplace of pizza) in 1975. At 75 years old, Joe still owns and operates the restaurant. Viva la pizza!
Juliana’s Pizza (h/t to Grimaldi’s)
Juliana’s Pizza is a welcome derivation from a Brooklyn classic, as it was founded by the same folks behind the historic Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, the pizza parlor “that made the Brooklyn Bridge famous” (which is now a huge local chain).
For the best experience, try the house special No. 1, which features mozzarella, Scamorza affumicata (a smoked, chewier form of Italian mozzarella), pancetta, and scallions (no tomato). The specialty pizzas here, in general, are what make this second-generation DUMBO pizza destination so great.
See, for example, the No. 6 specialty pie featuring grilled chicken, house-made guacamole piped directly onto the pie in pretty florets, Monterey jack, white cheddar, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of cilantro. Guac on a pizza? It’s far from traditional, but it works brilliantly here. Trust me.
Ultimately, if you’re out and about in DUMBO, this is a great place to order a pizza for a picnic in neighboring Brooklyn Bridge Park or on the nearby waterfront. (Both are lovely options when the weather is nice.)
The famous artichoke pizza at Artichoke— as the name might suggest– is a real showstopper. The crust here is much thicker than traditional New York City pizza, but the hefty pies are a favorite among locals and the late-night crowd, specifically.
Sure, this pizza joint might be most popular with the drunk, college-adjacent crowd, but it holds a warm place in their hearts for a reason. The experience is unpretentious and satisfying for even the most basic eaters.
For the classic experience, go in the evening and order the massive signature Artichoke slice. It’s a rich white pizza featuring artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella, and pecorino romano cheese. (And it somehow reminisces of fettuccini alfredo in pizza form.)
Otherwise, their Crab pizza (not a typo; they make it with crab sauce, fresh mozzarella, and a surimi stuffing) and the twice-baked pan-style Sicilian pizza are also great options. Most people ultimately order single slices of pizza here, because that’s really all you need.
Macchina serves a veritably gorgeous personal burrata pizza that is this pizza restaurant’s main draw. Basically, if you don’t order the burrata pizza here, you’re doing it wrong!
Located in the heart of Williamsburg with a dark steam-punky interior, it’s a very “Williamsburg” pizza joint, for sure. Other offerings run the gamut from shrimp scampi pizza to vegan + gluten-free pizza, all cooked in traditional stone-fired Artigiano ovens. (Plus: they make their gluten-free pizzas with cauliflower crust, not gluten-free flour.)
For a unique experience, try the Foraged and Farmed Mushroom Pizza, featuring fior di latte, scallions, arugula, and truffle oil. If the Burrata Pizza is the real star here, then this unique mushroom pie isn’t far behind.
Meanwhile, for those who are into libations, the cocktail menu here is reliably robust and approachable.
Consider pairing your pizza with The Bedford Paloma (mezcal, creme de pamplemousse, fresh grapefruit juice, lime, and agave) or the Junipero (gin, basil, fresh lime, and white cranberry) for a real local experience. Both are great in the summer!
Milkflower is a super hip, modern, cult-favorite pizza parlor in Queens. They specialize in veggie-heavy Neapolitan pies slung from wood-fired ovens in a shop that was formerly a laundromat. If you’re looking for a cool, underground vibe, this pizza shop is your best bet.
Go here for unique locavore pizzas featuring veggies typically not seen on pizza. Take, for example, the “Abe Froman”: pork sausage, tomato, shishito peppers, red onion, oregano, garlic, and grana padano.
Or, try the “Chardie Sheen”, featuring swiss chard, speck, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and young pecorino. Even the classics like the “Wu-tang Clam” (the restaurant’s take on a classic clam pizza) have just a little extra parsley and flavor enhancers like fresno chili– and that’s why we love them.
For the full experience, order a side of their gorgeous wood-fired vegetables (items like wood-roasted zucchini and eggplant served with Meyer lemon, creme fraiche, and za’atar– or blistered shishito peppers with cracked pepper aioli).
Here, all food is embued with the kiss of a wood-fired pizza oven– they even offer wood-roasted octopus, wood-fired peekytoe crab cakes, and wood-fired tiger prawns as small plates.
But first, pizza.
Motorino has multiple NYC locations in the East Village, Williamsburg, and the Upper West Side. Known for its offbeat creations like brussel sprout pizza (don’t knock it ’til you try it!), this pizza parlor is an epicurean wonderland of pizza-related creativity.
They do a gorgeous ramp pizza in the spring (if that doesn’t scream New York foodie, I don’t know what does–) as well as seasonally-changing takes like Cremini Mushroom white pizza and a Prosciutto di Parma pie that is, quite literally, so papered in prosciutto that you can’t even see any cheese.
Another popular style here is the Arrabbiata, a red pie with fior di latte, merguez, fresh goat cheese, preserved lemon, Provençal herbs, and pecorino. So so good!
Ultimately, if you’ve already been around the block when it comes to New York City pizza, the pies here offer exciting twists on the classics that you’re not likely to see anywhere else. In a city where going to restaurants is a lifestyle, the novelty never gets old.
~ Honorable Mention ~
- While not a proper pizza place, per se, Frenchette Bakery‘s pizza is insanely good, largely owing to its textbook perfect dough.
- Totonno’s in Coney Island is one of Brooklyn’s oldest pizzerias, serving classic New York pizza to Coney Island crowds for over 90 years. If you find yourself way out on the coast, this is the best place to get pizza, as it really is an old-school NY institution.
- Prince Street Pizza doles out respectable Detroit-style square pizza and an iconic spicy pepperoni square. Like Emmy Squared, it’s a go-to pizza place for crust lovers and fans of crispy, square slices. Not the traditional NYC style, but a popular spot in the city nonetheless!
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12 Unique New York City Ice Cream Shops.