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Pizza Styles: New York v. California

Updated on February 20, 2008

East Coast v. West Coast

I have lived in both New York and California, but more importantly: I’ve eaten both New York style pizza and California style pizza. Basically, I love pizza. It is hard to go wrong with pizza, unless you order one of the soggy pies Dominoes has to offer (I love Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all, but my pizza tastes have evolved).

I tend to eat more of the California pizza style – perhaps this is because I currently live on the west coast, although not in California. However, nothing makes me food happy more than a good slice of New York style pizza.

Which is your favorite? Share your preference with us by leaving a comment in the box at the bottom of the page.

New York v. California

California Style Pizza

California pizza has a crust influenced by the New York and Italian pizza styles. While on the thin side, California style crust is airier than the New York style. When ordering a California pizza, you are generally presented with more choice in size: small, medium, large, extra large, family size.

But, it is the toppings on California pizza that makes it stand apart from other pizza styles. From artichoke hearts to goat cheese, barbecue to fresh tomatoes, these pizzas are piled with chunky toppings. Pizza sauces used on this style will range from tomato to pesto to creamy white sauces. Many of the toppings that were once unique to the California style have become more wide spread, so you might not even be aware that you are eating a California pizza.

Another difference? California pizzas are smaller and pricier than New York pizzas. But, hey, they use fresh mushrooms.

New York Style Pizza

New York pizza pies are usually bigger than California pies, and cut into eight large slices. With a thin dough, these wide slices are often folded over to make it easier to eat them. I have heard that one of the things that makes NY pizza slices so good is the water used to make it (same goes for bagels). Rumor has it that a lot of the best Florida restaurants actually import New York water.

This style of pizza has a thin, hand-tossed crust with mozzarella cheese a light layer of tomato sauce. You can buy this pizza by the slice or by the pie. Every self respecting New York Style Pizza Parlor provides must-have condiments: parmesan cheese, crushed red peppers (my favorite), garlic powder, and dried oregano.

One note: east coasters tend to use canned mushrooms on their pizza.


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    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico

      It’s hard to choose, I love thin dough NY style much better than the California one, but I like the variety of fresh chunky topping, lots of them, from the California style. Best of both worlds.

    • WeNdYpOoPoO profile image

      WeNdYpOoPoO 7 years ago from Hudson Valley NY

      hands down NY has the best pizza Jonny's in Brooklyn oh yea baby a slice of heaven on a plate. Everyone knows you haven;t had a slice unless you had a piece from MY City.

    • YourTouristGuide profile image

      YourTouristGuide 10 years ago from Valley of the Heart's Delight, California

      I prefer CA-style pizza, but will gladly eat NY-style now and again just to make sure I'm being fair about it and all. ;-) The "father of CA-style pizza," Ed LaDou, passed away recently...

    • Olive S. profile image

      Olive S. 10 years ago

      lol, goodluck! =)

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      Yup. Get in line, right after me.

    • Olive S. profile image

      Olive S. 10 years ago

      They look sooooo delicous *whimper* "Can I have one? *whimper*