Ask a New Yorker where the best pizza in town is and you’re bound to get a wide-eyed suggestion accompanied by a guiding elbow grab and an empathetic, life-or-death “You HAVE to go here.” You can’t fault such nearly-deranged enthusiasm; the pizza here is simply that good. Blame it on the water, say it’s the proximity to Italy, the choice of cheese. Whatever the case, the pies here are sure to satisfy, and though there are certainly varied opinions on which of the hundreds of pizzerias are, in fact, the definitive best, there exists enough unanimous agreement on a handful to comprise a reliable list. Herewith, our suggestions for where to score the best pizza in NYC.
Your Neapolitan dreams have just come true. What started as one Brooklyn location has now expanded to multiple spots around the world. And for good reason. Motorino serves up pies cooked in a wood-fired oven with the perfect amount of blistered dough for a bite that can’t be beat. Stick with their stellar margherita pizza or live large and get yours covered in prosciutto. You can’t—and won’t—go wrong.
349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
Great pies and a beautiful clientele? Only in SoHo. Rubirosa makes going out a feast for the eyes and the stomach, with pizzas cooked in a revolving shelf oven using a family recipe. You’ll also find a robust menu of apps and salads to appease (gasp) all your non-pizza-eating friends.
235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Sal & Carmine’s
Just a short subway ride from our 6 Columbus location sits an Upper West Side institution, Sal & Carmine’s. And like any legitimate institution, you won’t find any newfangled, hoity-toity funny business here. Thin crusted and dusted with flour, each slice relies on just a layer of fresh mozzarella and a light smear of tomato sauce. It’s all you need out of an authentic pie, really.
2671 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
A Carroll Gardens favorite since novice-turned-pizza-pro Mark Iacono opened its doors, Lucali whips up their thin-crust pizzas in an open kitchen before tossing them in a brick oven. This place is cash-only, BYOB, and doesn’t take reservations. Rest assured, some things in life are worth the wait. This is certainly one of them.
575 Henry St, New York, NY 11231
Rizzo’s Fine Pizza
All taste. No fanfare. Rizzo’s Fine Pizza holds it down with locations on the Lower East Side and Queens, which means you can get their murderously tasty thin-and-crispy pies downtown out of town, no problem. Here, less is more, with a golden crust that challenges the idea that you need a mountain of dough to make a tasty pie. Plus, they won’t berate you for your dietary restrictions: vegetarian and dairy-free options are readily available on request.
17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Long before Brooklyn became synonymous with hip, Roberta’s was one of the sole restaurants holding court in an industrial, barren stretch of Bushwick. A trip there some years ago involved navigating empty streets with no real foot traffic to help guide you in any which way. The neighborhood has since changed and the restaurant has earned cult status, but their pizza has remained the same. In other words: delicious.
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Photo courtesy of Cathal Mac an Bheatha