The early years of the 20th century were full of historical events. The first Nobel prizes were awarded, Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic radio signal, the Wright brothers made their first flight, Einstein formulated E=mc² - the world’s most famous equation, and the Teddy bear was invented.
But 1905 is THE year for foodies in the US - when the first pizzeria opened in New York. Lombardi’s pizza opened its doors and paved the way for the hundreds of pizzerias to follow.
Many Italian immigrants like Gennaro Lombardi came to the US, bringing their passion for pizza making. Their artisan techniques and the secret family recipes transformed the American taste and market.
New York turned into a melting pot, which resulted in the magnificent creation of the NY-style pizza.
The hand-tossed doughs were baked to perfection in coal-fired ovens, and soon, the love for the flat, topped crust took over New York and the whole country.
The New York reinvention of the Neapolitan style pizza is characterized by a thin crust at the edges and a soft, delicate, and easy-to-fold center.
The two main ingredients for a NY style pizza are cooked tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella.
While many cities and states serve a NY style pie, the five boroughs still offer the best slice. All five, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, have local pizza gems beloved by locals and tourists.
We’ve pinpointed some of the joints with the best pizza in NY so you can easily add them to your foodie’s bucket list.
The best part?
You cannot make a list of the best pizza places in NYC without the first pizzeria in New York – Lombardi’s pizza.
Since 1905 pizza has been baked and eaten in the US, thanks to Gennaro Lombardi. He moved to the United States in 1897 and opened a small grocery store. One of the people who worked there, Antonio Totonno Pero, started making pizza.
The pie became so popular that Gennaro decided to open the first pizzeria, naming it Lombardi’s. However, his biggest triumph, by far, is the creation of the New York-style pizza.
A Neapolitan pizza with a local, New York twist that everyone simply adored!
Located in Little Italy, this legendary, cash-only shop serves its smoky-crusted coal oven-baked pizza. The thin crust is covered with juicy San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh whole milk mozzarella, and fresh basil.
Aside from pies, they serve calzones, pasta, chicken specialties, and salads.
Their pizzaiolos make a delicious Clam pie with baby clams and garlic, but if it’s your first visit (or order), you should start with a classic like the Original Margherita pizza.
Have a taste of history by ordering some delicious New York pizza near you for pickup or delivery.
Have a look at the name of this pizzeria – does it sound familiar?
It's named after the pizzaiolo from Lombardi's, who began making pies back in 1905 – Antonio Totonno Pero. The first pizzaiolo in the US!
After working at Lombardi's for almost 20 years, he opened his own restaurant on Coney Island. Thus, in 1924, Totonno Pizzeria Napolitana was born.
This family-owned restaurant is based on a simple philosophy: "as long as there's dough, we will bake you the best pizza, with the finest ingredients."
Totonno is one of the last places to use a coal-burning oven that gives a distinguished, slightly burned taste to the pie. Their award-winning pizza is topped with chunky tomato sauce and patches of fresh mozzarella, making it one of NYC's best pizza slices.
Moreover, their tradition and quality are recognized through the years, and in 2009 Totonno's was awarded the James Beard Award in the category of America's Classics.
One of the pizza spots responsible for developing the local pizza culture is John’s of Bleecker St. in West Village.
Founded back in 1929 by the Italian immigrant John Sasso, the pizzeria was first located on Sullivan Street and later moved to today’s Bleecker Street location. Hence the name.
Sasso ran his business until 1954, when he sold the pizzeria to the Vesce family. Today they still own the legendary pizza spot, preserving the traditional way of pizza making.
John’s of Bleecker St. bakes hundreds of crispy, charred pizzas daily in their authentic coal-fired brick ovens. Other trademarks of this pizza gem are the wooden booths. Even though they are worn by the time, they witness the perennial tradition of John’s of Bleecker St.
They serve whole pies (not by the slice) generously topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Additionally, you can choose from more than 10 other toppings and customize your pizza by preferences.
COVID-19 Update: To make indoor dining as safe as possible, they installed plexiglass between each booth and MERV filters. Outdoor dining is available too.
This hip pizza joint is on the New York pizza map for more than 10 years, and it's one of NYC's best pizza places. Situated in Bushwick, Roberta's redefined the neighborhood, becoming the local's favorite pizza place.
Their Neapolitan style pizzas are made with delicious house-made mozzarella and house-cured meats and salumi, baked in a wood oven. They have delicious seasonal toppings and various pies with surprising ingredients such as speck, breadcrumbs, or honey.
They serve meat (from sustainable farms) and pasta dishes, as well as pies, pastries, and custards.
A must-try is their sweet and spicy fusion - Bee Sting Pizza with tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, chili, and honey.
They have an outpost on the waterfront in South Williamsburg Brooklyn – Roberta's Domino, open for takeout and delivery.
Well, the name here is self-explanatory, right?
That was the owner and pizzaiolo Frank Pinello idea when he opened a pizza spot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – to make it the best pizza place in New York.
He wanted to create an authentic East coast style dough and surprised everyone by using sesame on the crust. Pinello works as a reporter for Viceland on The Pizza Show and appears on Munchies.
They serve pizza by the slice and whole pies baked in a wood oven and topped with savory, fresh ingredients. However, their White pie is outstanding (three kinds of cheese, caramelized onions, and sesame seeds), so make sure to order one (or more) next time you order.
Another popular Brooklyn eatery is Lucali. Owner and (as he puts it, accidental) pizzaiolo Mark Iacono lived in Carroll Gardens his whole life. He opened Lucali in the hope of preventing the local candy store from becoming a generic shop.
Since then, this BYOB place is full of loyal and satisfied pizza lovers who are always coming back. At Lucali’s, they are aware of this, so they suggest that visitors should show up before 5, put their names on the list, grab a drink, and wait for when the table is ready.
But, the thin-crust pies, with a perfect tomato sauce and cheese ratio and some fresh basil on top, are worth waiting for. Garlic and basil are free of charge, and you can add some additional toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, hot or sweet peppers, shallot, and onions.
As their official website states, Lucali was rated as #1 pizzeria in NYC and #2 in the country
Тhis East Harlem institution still stands on the original location where it was first opened. Founded by Pasquale “Patsy” Lancieri, in a neighborhood with lots of Italian immigrants, this place soon became a popular spot for authentic, Sicilian coal oven-pizza.
Patsy’s is celebrated for popularizing the traditional New York-style thin-crust pizza and was a pioneer for selling pizza by the slice.
The restaurant is operated by the 4th generation of family pizza makers, serving thousands of lip-smacking pies daily. Тhe thin crust is covered generously with tomatoes and cheese and is baked until lightly charred.
What started as a horse and wagon business in 1939 is an iconic Brooklyn pizza spot today.
Ludovico Barbati came to the US in 1917 from a small town in Southern Italy, Torella di Lombardi. He soon learned how to make pizza and started selling it using Babe, the horse, and a wagon up and down the streets of Gravesend and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
Years later, he bought an inexpensive property on 86th Street in Brooklyn and soon started selling his products in a hut in front of a factory.
Moreover, through the years, the business and the location grew, and today L&B Spumoni Gardens is in its fourth generation.
They make a round pie, but their signature pie is the square Sicilian pie. The thick but soft and spongy dough is first covered in delicious mozzarella and lots of sweet yet tangy homemade tomato sauce on top.
Additionally, a second location is announced to be open in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
1959 was the year when brothers Joseph and Salvatore Rizzo, together with their brother-in-law Hugo Lupi opened a small pizza spot on Steinway street in the heart of Astoria, Queens.
From the beginning, they served only one type of pie with no toppings. The locals (mostly native New Yorkers and western European immigrants) loved the thin, crisp, and saucy slices.
Many loyal customers and food critics came to Rizzo's, and soon, their original thin-crust square pie became popular and was put on the pizza map.
New items were introduced to the menu throughout the years. With the change of generations, alongside their famous thin crust square pizza, they serve specialty round thin crust pizza, signature gluten-free pies, and vegan pies.
Their trademark Rizzo's famous thin-crust square pizza is something you should try first. Light, thin, crispy crust generously covered with sauce,sprinkled with Parmigiano and Romano's blend, topped with slices of creamy mozzarella.
It’s no surprise that Rubirosa is one of the best pizza places in NY. The founder Aj Pappalardo has a passion for pizza making in his DNA. He’s the son of Giuseppe Pappalardo, the owner of the famous Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island.
Aj’s idea was to recreate his father’s legendary pizza spot but in Manhattan, or more precisely in Nolita. As an inspiration, he had 60 years of family tradition and family recipes, which led to his authentic creation.
Today, 10 years after the first pies were served, Rubirosa is an institution on its own. The restaurant is always full of devoted and loyal customers, making it impossible to find a table without a reservation.
So, they suggest you make a reservation for up to 7 days in advance.
Rubirosa is a hip pizza joint and a restaurant that serves delicious sandwiches, salads, and fresh, handmade pasta.
But however, the Vodka Pizza is why we’re here. The almost like a paper-thin crust, delicious vodka sauce, and the fresh mozzarella on top are worth waiting for, even for 7 days.
Celiac sufferers or those on a gluten-free diet can order from a vast gluten-free menu of pizza and pasta varieties. Vodka pizza, including!
If you should describe Joe’s Pizza with only one word (which is a challenging task), it should be consistent. Today, exactly 40 years after baking the first pies, they serve the same high-quality pizza slices, both locals and tourist love.
Thus, Joe’s Pizza has plenty of well-deserved awards. One of them is for the best pizza slice in NYC.
Their authentic New York pizza is named “Best of New York” and is described as “the quintessential New York Slice.” Moreover, Joe’s Pizza was listed as one of the “Best 25 pizzas on Earth” by GQ Magazine.
Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli is the Italian immigrant behind Joe’s. He came to the US in the mid-1950s and began working in pizza shops all over the Northeast. By 1960 he had trained many pizzaiolos in the area.
In the 1970s, he opened “Joe’s” at Bleecker and Carmine Street in Greenwich Village. He was driven by the idea of serving pizza to a diverse population, believing that pizza is for everyone.
Today the original pizza joint is relocated three doors down at 7 Carmine street, and they have several outposts in New York and one in Michigan.
The classic slices are made with high-quality ingredients, with no modern twists or unexpected toppings. The slices are evenly covered in juicy tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. The perfect sauce, cheese, and crust ratio make the slice super-easy to fold. And eat too.
The best part?
You can grab a slice or two even late in the evening.
Scarr’s is a 1980s inspired pizza spot that serves some incredibly good pizza. This Lower East Side pizzeria, owned by pizzaiolo Scarr Pimentel, quickly became one of the most popular pizza places in NY.
Scarr’s trademark is the organic stone-milled flour (made in-store) that creates the perfect thin, light crust of their pies.
Be sure to grab a Sicilian slice with just the perfect amount of cheese and tangy and sweet sauce.
If we’re talking about pizza spots gaining more and more popularity, Prince Street Pizzeria must be on the list.
The devotion to serving mouthwatering dishes with high-quality ingredients makes them one of SoHo’s most visited pizza spots.
Lines of people are waiting for their authentic pies – Original SoHo squares and round Neapolitan Style pizzas. But the crowd’s favorite must be the specialty Spicy Spring Pie.
This delicious thick-crust Sicilian slice is made with spicy Fra Diavolo tomato sauce, melty mozzarella, and many oil-collecting curly cups of Pepperoni.
The best part?
You can skip the lines and get the pizza delivered to your door or order a pickup with just one tap.
This New York staple has been owned by Domenico (Dom) De Marco since 1965. After he immigrated from Southern Italy to the US in 1959, Domenico worked on a Huntington farm until someone told him about a good spot on Avenue J in Brooklyn.
That spot has been labeled as the “Best pizza in New York” as well as “The Best Hand-Made Pizza in New York.”
The latter is because each pizza is handcrafted by Dom himself. Though other family members work in the restaurants, Dom remains the master pizzaiolo of Di Fara.
They use only the best ingredients for their pies: flour and extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, cheese from Casapulla, Grana Padano, and Parmigiano Reggiano imported from Italy, and fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme.
The pies are baked to perfection for a few minutes at about 800 degrees.
Alongside the original Midwood location, there is a second Di Fara location in Williamsburg.
Koronet is the home of the gigantic slices in NY. Family-owned since 1981, this Upper West Side pizza spot serves jumbo slices beloved by Columbia University Students and locals.
It was like this since the opening of the pizzeria in 1981.
Back in the days, the pizza was “only” 25 inches in diameter, but today it got to 30-inch diameter. Or, in other words, one jumbo slice is around 3 small slices.
They serve pizza by the slice and whole pies, alongside appetizers, calzones, rolls, and patties.
Best in New York!
Q: 🍕What is the best NYC pizza?
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Q: 🍕Why do New Yorkers fold pizza?