Best Pizza In New York City
Variations of Pizza
I love pizza! New York City is one of the best places to live if you love pizza as much as I do. Whether you live in the Big Apple or you are traveling to New York for any reason, this is the hub for you. Below you will find what I believe to be the best pizza in New York City. I have broken down my pizzeria recommendations by categories because there are different ways to make and bake pizza. These pizzerias are my personal favorites and they are all completely different in terms of style. Enjoy!
Traditional New York Style Pizza
Sal and Carmine's
2671 Broadway (Between 101st and 102nd Street)
This pizzeria is located in a neighborhood called Manhattan Valley, but I would say that it's just above the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It's my favorite New York style pizza.
This pizza shop has been there for decades and run by two brothers from Italy. They make the dough and sauce by scratch every day. It's mostly a take-out place but they do have about 6 tables in the back. They also have a tiny bar in the front where you can eat a quick hot slice if you're in a rush.
Slices are $3 each. Good pizza in New York is expensive, so if you're looking for cheap but high quality pizza in Manhattan, fuggetabout it!!!
Stylistically, this is your New York traditional pizza. Crispy crust, salty red sauce, graded mozzarella, and big, long triangular cuts. Not too thin but not too thick. Made to be eaten on the go, or hanging out with friends and family. By the way, in New York, we eat pizza slices by folding them so that each bite has the bottom of the slice on both sides as it enters your mouth. See the photo on the side.
In fact, if you order 2 or 3 slices for take-out here, the owner will fold the slices for you, put them on a paper plate and shove them into a paper bag for you!
Brick Oven Pizza: New York Style
260 W. 44th Street (near 8th ave.)
If you're looking for New York style pizza with a brick oven taste, John's is the place. It's located in Midtown which is conveniently located for people from out of town. Those from out of town naturally end up in Times Square and this place is just a block away.
This is basically a dine-in only type of pizzeria. They don't sell slices. Only whole pies. The slices are smaller than what you'd expect from a typical New York Style pizzeria but that's ok. You'll just have to eat more of it! This is a great place for couples or groups.
This pizza is literally baked in a brick oven using wood. The wooded fire gives the pizza a unique taste that the electric/gas ovens just can't produce. If you've never had real brick oven pizza, try this spot.
Neapolitan Pizza (Pizza Napoletana)
271 Bleeker Street
Neapolitan Pizza is actually the true Italian Pizza. Pizza was invented in Naples, Italy several hundred years ago. It was made in honor of Queen Margherita and to promote Italian pride. The original pizza is hence called "La Pizza Margherita," (Margherita's Pizza). This pizza is basically made for one person. It's served on a baking dish and you eat it with a knife and fork. The Pizza Margherita has basically 3 main ingredients on top of the dough. And each ingredient represents a color of the Italian flag: tomato sauce (red), mozzarella di bufala (white), and green (basil).
This is my favorite pizza in the whole world. It is baked in a traditional Neapolitan brick oven with a wood fire. What makes this pizza unique apart from just about everything is the mozzarella di bufala. This mozzarella is made from the milk of a buffalo. It's amazingly creamy yet slightly watery.
Keste is one of the best Neapolitan pizzerias in New York. It's a small place. Maybe 20 small tables. I don't recommend this place for groups over 4 because it's too small. But you could call in advance to see if they'll accomodate. Waiting for a table is usually 45 minutes. It's definitely worth the wait. This place is owned and operated by real Italians from Naples.
198 Allen Street
This style of pizza originates in Rome, Italy, though even this kind of pizza is difficult to find in Rome. It's more like a rectangle with rounded edges on the sides. It's usually served on a wooden tray and cooked in a wood fired oven. And just like the pizza from Naples, you eat this pizza with a fork and knife.
Palà is the only roman pizzeria that I know of in New York City, and that is fine by me because it's simply amazing. The ingredients are organic and they even have gluten free pizzas for people who can't eat gluten. It's definitely one of the trendier pizzerias in the city. It's located in the cutting edge and super cool neighborhood of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. However, they use a gas oven but it the incredibly fresh ingredients make this a unique pizza shop.
I usually order the "Bufala" or Buffalo. Ingredients are, tomato sauce, mozzerella di bufala, cherry tomatoes, basil, and little slices of prosciutto. It's definitely a filling pizza and my belly is always satisfied.
Waiting time for a table is about 40 minutes and could be more on the weekends, so plan ahead.
Coal Oven Pizza
1 Front Street, Brooklyn, New York
This is one of the most famous pizzerias in all of New York City. This is the only location on my list that is located in Brooklyn. It's cool because you'll be able to see the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It's practically under it! It's been around for decades and has historical significance by having been frequented my timeless celebrities such as Frank Sinatra.
No slices here. No delivery. AND, no credit cards accepted! Pies only. In my opinion, this pizza is kind of a combination of a neapolitan pizza and new york style. The pizzas are larger than the personal size of the neapolitan but smaller than the gargantuan New York Style pizzas.
The pizzas are baked in a coal fire oven which produces a unique flavor that is consistent. I highly recommend you try it. If you're from out of town, you might never find a pizza baked in a coal oven ever again. The pizzas are baked at 1200 degrees! Once the prepared pizza is placed in the oven, it will be cooked and in front of your watering mouth in just minutes!
Quick Story About My Pizzeria Experiences in NYC
When I first moved to NYC over 10 years ago, I used to go to different neighborhoods and walk around trying different pizzas. I would literally walk in to a pizza shop, order one slice of pizza, and continue my walk down the block and eating my slice simultaneously. Then I'd walk into another pizza shop and do the same thing.
I've got to tell you: There are more bad pizza shops in New York than any where else in the world!
But, I also discovered the best pizza during my little walking adventures as well as taking recommendations from friends. I hope you enjoy my discoveries!
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