Why Should We Care About the Best New York City Pizza Places Anyway?
Pizza is probably one of the most popular comfort foods in the world and the Best New York City pizza places do it really well. Not only is it cheap and relatively easy to make, but it also tastes absolutely amazing when all that gooey, melty, cheesy grease just hits you right in the tastebuds. Add in some thin, crispy crust and you have the stuff that an Adkins Dieter’s worst nightmare is made of (For other cheap and delicious places to eat in New York City, click here).
But with a seemingly simple recipe of cheese, dough, and tomato sauce, is there any real difference between “New York Pizza” and the stuff found all over the world (sorry I can’t even call it pizza)? Yes, A thousand times yes. And especially to New Yorkers, where the art of pizza making is a highly regarded, serious business (we may joke about a lot of things but never pizza).
I mean, where I grew up in New York, you pledged allegiance to one pizza place and that was it. And you didn’t have a say in the pizza place you frequented because your family told you where the best pizza was (My mom would always berate anyone who didn’t go to Happy Days Pizzeria in Scarsdale, just to give you an idea of how seriously we take our pizza here).
However, to find decent New York style pizza, I guess we first have to figure out what New York style pizza is. For me, it’s hard to define because it was just pizza to me and anything else was a total fraud that we didn’t touch with a ten foot pole (No one dared bring Chicago deep dish pizza to my house). So I used my good old friend google and found out what the exact definition of New York style Pizza is.
In New York style pizza, the pizza pie is typically large in size, with a diameter of between 14 and 18 inches. The dough itself is made of high-gluten flour that is generously smothered in tomato sauce that is prepared using canned Roma tomatoes, that are cooked down and flavored with garlic, oregano, olive oil, red chili flakes, extra virgin olive oil, and basil. Grated Grande brand mozzarella is then evenly dispersed across the pizza, except near the edges where the crust will emerge.
The pie is then cooked in a pizza oven and served by the slice, since New York style pizza pies are so large. Slices are flat, triangular, and have a thin crispy crust that is eaten last or not at all (I love crust so I always eat mine. Feel free to give me your crust). Usually the slices are so large that they are folded along the middle, with the tip of the pizza (away from the crust) drooping slightly towards the ground . If your pizza does not look or act like this then it is probably NOT New York Style pizza. Instead, you might actually be eating Neapolitan, neo-neapolitan (elite style), Sicilian, al taglio, roman, St. Louis, or deep dish (there are more but you get the idea).
So after all that you are probably like, this girl is a pizza freak what is the big deal? LoL. Well, it’s not really a big deal but I just wanted you to know exactly what New York Pizza is so you understand what you’re looking for. There are so many different pizza styles out there that it can be hard to figure out what you’re getting.
But you’ll be relieved to know that my attention span is rather short (hence all the travel), so the remainder of this post will be entirely devoid of any technical definitions whatsoever (insert cheering crowd here). I mean, God knows I don’t want this to be like school or anything (excuse me, I just retched a little in my mouth).
So now that you know what New York style pizza is, where can you find it? I mean New York City is loaded with pizza places that claim to be “authentic” so it can be tricky to figure out where to go. Well, you’re in luck because I have created this hopefully handy, local’s guide to the 10 best New York City pizza places (FYI some serve pizza that is more Italian style but I put them on the list because they are so good).
***WARNING! Before you read this, you might want to order yourself a pizza for delivery because this New York City pizza guide will make you kind of hungry.***
1. Best Pizza
While some artisanal pizza places can be ridiculously expensive (seriously guys, it’s just dough, sauce and cheese), Best Pizza is totally not. Here, slices of amazingly delicious, cheesy goodness cost a whole $3.25 (CASH ONLY). Now if you want to roll like a big shot, then throw in an extra $0.50 to try their white slice which is elevated to the next level with some caramelized onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds (so good. Get in my belly).
Not a fan of white pizza? That’s okay because best pizza creates an assortment of pies that are topped with seasonal vegetables and a variety of local goods. Also check out the house-special Grandma pizza, which is only available in square slices and has a rich and zesty plum tomato sauce with mozzarella. Eat in or take your slice on the road because this place isn’t known for its ambiance, and I am totally okay with that.
Address: 33 Havemeyer St, New York, New York 11211 (Between 7th and 8th streets. Take the L to Bedford Avenue)
Hours: Open daily from 2 pm to Midnight
Eataly is an Italian, restaurant/grocery store that is found throughout New York City. The franchise was originally created by Mario Batali, with an emphasis on making fresh, home-made Italian food available to the masses (definitely one of the best authentic ethnic restaurants in New York City).
Well, he achieves this goal by creating delicious that is more Italian than New York style pizza. But the pizza here is so good that you’re not even gonna notice the style anyway since you’ll be too busy devouring it all (a total must try if you’r eon the lower East Side near the World Trade Center Memorial).
The good and the bad news here is that they have an assortment of pizzas to choose from that include Ventura, Quattro Formaggi, Verduretta, Tartufella, etc. My absolute favorite is the Genovese ($18 for a personal pie) which is made with house made basil pesto, Mozzarella di buffalo, and extra virgin olive oil; simple in ingredients but immaculate in execution and flavor. You bite into it and you get a thick, oozing cheese layer that is perfectly complimented by the earthiness of the pesto and the thin, crispy crunch of the crust. Just an all around perfect personal pizza (I hate writing these things because now I need to go out and get a slice).
Address: Eataly New York City Flatiron: 200 5th Avenue and Eataly New York City Down Town: 4 World Trade Center at 101 Liberty Street (floor 3)
Hours: Open daily 7 am – 11 pm at both locations with the Flatiron location market opening at 9 am.
3. Juliana’s (Way better than Grimaldi’s)
To fulfill your stomach’s fondest pizza desires, hop on the F train and head into Brooklyn, one of the great pizza meccas of New York (My advice would be to get off at the York Street stop and walk ten minutes towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Along this route, you’ll pass through DUMBO, where you can snap a quick picture of the Brooklyn Bridge that will instantly make all your Instagram followers ohh and ahhh in a mixture of awe and jealousy.
Juliana’s can get pretty packed so if you’re going on a weekend, I suggest going at an off time to miss the crowds and the insanely long line that goes along with them (We went around 4:00pm and easily found some seats).
If it’s your first time at Juliana’s, head over to the bar and watch the chefs as they roll out the dough and assemble the pizza right In front of you. They even use a bronze tea pot to drizzle oil atop the pizza, after it has been completely assembled, for extra flavor.
Now when it comes to pizza they have all the classics, and even some speciality pies as well. But, we stuck with the white pizza, which is just mozzarella and garlic since I’m a vegetarian and they don’t do any special orders For pizza.
Pizzas come in either a regular or large size (the regular is totally enough for two people), with pies ranging in price from $17 to $21 a pie (Totally worth every penny and calorie)
When you take a bite of the pizza here, the fresh mozzarella explodes in your mouth and transports you to the Italian countryside, where the olive oil and mozzarella are made fresh daily. Just a great place to sit down, relax, and enjoy some epic pizza.
Address: 19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York.
Hours: Open daily (except Sundays) 11:30 am – 3:15 pm and 4:00pm – 10 pm.
4. John’s of Bleecker Street
Looking for an authentic, no frills, old school, family owned pizzeria that serves traditional New York Style pizza? If you are then John’s is your place.
This Greenwich village pizzeria was started by Italian immigrants in 1929 and has been serving up pizza ever since. Here, it’s not about the ambiance but about the pizza. And while the menu may not be big, the pizza they serve is done amazingly well. So sorry but you won’t bet any fancy swanky pizza pies here. Instead you can choose from a medium (14″ pie with 6 slices for $17.00) or large pie (16″ pie with 8 slices for $20.00), with toppings such as meatballs, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, sausage, pepper, black olives, sliced tomatoes, basil, anchovies, garlic, and ricotta. So stop by and bring your appetite if you’re in the mood for some real, New York pizza.
Address: 278 Bleecker Street (between Jones and Morton streets)
***To get here take the B, D, F, M, A, C, or E to the West 4th Street station. Then walk against traffic down 6th avenue and make a right on Bleecker Street. John’s will be on your left.
***You can also take the 1 train to the Christopher Street Station. Then walk with traffic down 7th avenue and make a left on Bleecker Street. John’s will be on your right.
Hours: Open Sunday-Thursday from 11:30 am – 11:30 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am – 12:00 am.
5. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
Started on Staten Island in 2008 by the Pizzaiolos cousins, Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, Artichoke Basille’s has totally reinvented the way New Yorkers think about pizza, and in a damn good way. I mean sure, from the outside.
Inside this pie of pure pizza divinity lies artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano Cheese. A sinfully amazing experience that makes me question everything I was taught about New York pizza.
In terms of flavor profile, I akin this insanely large slice of pizza, that can probably feed two people, to one of the best spinach and artichoke dips you’ve ever had, only on a pizza. They also throw in a hint of Pecorino Romano cheese that helps cut the overall richness of the slice.
But every slice comes out perfectly baked and beautifully melted, for only $5. And if artichoke dip isn’t your thing, don’t worry because they also serve a vodka slice ($5), a crab slice with crab sauce ($5) fresh mozzarella and surimi stuffing ($5), a Sicilian slice ($4.75), and a Margherita slice ($4.75). It may not be healthy but it sure hits the spot after you’ve had a few adult beverages du jour (wink wink).
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Address: 321 East 14th Street New York, NY (East Village location). They also have locations in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenwich, Laguardia, Chelsea, Astoria, Park Slope, Bay Ridge, and Berkley California.
6. Bleecker Street Pizza
Slices have a thin, foldable crust and an authentic sauce recipe was actually used and created by good old Nona Maria herself, Plus, this place is the only decent pizza place in the area so grab a slice and chow down in the nearby park on a nice sunny day.
Address: 69 7th Avenue S. (at Barrow Street)
7. Little Italy Pizza
So before you look at this and think, “But Kelly, you have told me time and again to stay AWAY from Little Italy,” I want you to know that this place is not actually in Little Italy. It’s just the name. This pizza place is actually conveniently located in Manhattan’s Midtown and has been serving Grandma, White, Baked Ziti, Chipotle Chicken, and even Sweet and Sour Calamari slices since 1965.
But while all their pizza is great, the slice that they are most known for is the legendary, Spaghetti and Meatball slice. Yup, you heard me right. They’ve got it here and you have to check it out. It is like the perfect fusion of two of my favorite things on the planet (my other favorite pizza slice is the mac and cheese pizza, which is not found here). Did I mention that it is also topped with fresh mozzarella that is a marvel to behold? Well, at least it is until you can resist temptation no more and inhale the whole thing. Plus, no slice is over $5.25, so it’s a great place for some good quality, cheap eats (they have a big menu and a nice restaurant so you can also dine in if you like).
Address: 169 W. 32nd Street (at 6th Avenue).
Hours: Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 8:30 pm and Saturday 10 am – 7 pm.
8. Arturo’s Restaurant
So I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of the dinner and a show concept. I actually used to go to the local dinner theater a lot as a kid. Well, Arturo’s always reminds me of this because they serve up traditional, coal oven, New York style pizza, with a nightly side of live jazz music, and in the West Village no less! Plus, they keep the restaurant authentically vintage with their 80’s style decor and leatherette booths (ladies get your Aqua Net and leg warmers ready).
They also keep their menu classic with such traditional Italian offerings as veal cutlet parmigiana, shrimp marinara, and linguini with clam sauce. Now while these are all tasty menu options, Arturo’s coal fired pizza is the REAL house speciality. Here, fresh mozzarella satiny adorns a 16″ pizza (only a few dollars more than the 13″), with a lightly salted, charred crust that perfectly compliments the rich, freshly melted cheese.
And while you can keep this pizza traditional, you can also choose from an assortment of toppings like sausage, pepperoni, calamari, lobster, spinach, and fresh basil (menu items are between $10.75 and $40.75). Typically, I split a 13″ pie with a friend but if you’re really hungry, then two people can split a large pie as well. Great food but the decor and that live jazz music is what really sets Arturo’s apart from the other restaurants on this list.
Address: 106 W. Houston Street (at Thompson Street).
Hours: Monday – Friday from 4pm – 1am. Saturday and Sunday from 2pm – 12am.
***To get here you can take the 1 to Houston Street or the B, D, F, or M to Broadway-Lafayette Street.
9. PN Wood Fired Pizza
I bet you are sitting here trying to figure out what PN stands for. Well, my guess was pale and nerdy since I am both of those things. But to my total amazement, I was totally wrong (said with dripping sarcasm). The PN actually stands for “Pecore Nere” which translates to black sheep in English.
Therefore, from the name, you can probably guess that this place isn’t probably gonna serve up your traditional, New York style pizza. And you’d be right. This restaurant stands out for its unique and innovative flavors, as well as high quality ingredients that transform their pizzas into some of the best in the city.
You start by choosing your own crust from varieties like Italian heritage soft wheat, multigrain, faro, rye blends, etc. After making this monumental, life changing decision, you can move onto the topping selection process.
The menu contains an assortment of individual pizzas that include Margherita, Salamino (traditional pizza with nitrate free salami), Portofino (mascarpone, mozzarella, potatoes, string beans, and home made Genovese pesto), etc. I know, the last one sounds weird but it’s really good. Just a great place to relax, sit down, and enjoy a high quality personal pizza (pizzas range in price between $20 and $24).
***For the vegans in the audience they also have a vegan pizza option called the Vegaccina.
Address: 2 W. 28th Street (at 5th Avenue).
Hours: Monday – Friday from 11:45 am – 2:30 pm and from 5:30 pm – 10 pm. Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm.
10. Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza
Located in the flat iron district of New York City, Waldy’s was recently reinvented by celebrity chef Waldy Malouf. Here, crispy, ultra thin crust reigns supreme since all of the pizza’s here are cooked to extra crispy perfection in Waldy’s very own, wood-fired oven.
While the restaurant isn’t large, they do have an exceptional assortment of unique and playful topping options that include braised lamb, sunny-side-up eggs and even asparagus (my grandfather would always tell me that it would make my pee smell funny. TMI granddad. TMI).
Most dishes are served with a hint of fresh basil. But if that isn’t enough flavor for you, each table has an assortment of fresh herbs to choose from; an expert touch that enhances the overall quality of the dining experience.
So if you’re adventurous and into ultra thin, crispy crust pizza, then you might want to swing by Waldy’s ASAP. Try a slice of their braised lamb with roasted lemon and oregano pizza or the clam with garlic crumbs and ricotta pizza. Tell them Kelly sent you. Just kidding because they have absolutely no idea who I am and that would just be super awkward. But seriously, Both pizzas are amazing and everything on the menu is between $6 and $18 (great pizza + great price = HEAVEN).
Address: 800 6th Avenue (at W. 27th Street).
Hours: Open daily from 11:30 am-to 11:00 pm.