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The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Pizza In NYC The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Pizza In NYC

Food and Cooking

The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Pizza In NYC

Written by: Anne-Corinne Cyr

Discover the top spots for the best pizza in NYC with our comprehensive guide. From classic slices to gourmet pies, satisfy your cravings with our expert recommendations. Explore the ultimate foodie's paradise!

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Table of Contents


When it comes to iconic foods, few can rival the universal appeal of pizza. Its irresistible combination of gooey cheese, savory sauce, and crispy crust has made it a beloved dish across the globe. However, there's something undeniably special about the pizza found in New York City. The city's pizza scene is as diverse and vibrant as the people who call it home, offering a wide array of styles and flavors to suit every palate.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the rich history of pizza in NYC, explore the different types of pizza available, highlight some of the most popular pizza places, and provide valuable tips for finding the best slice in the city that never sleeps. Whether you're a local looking to expand your pizza horizons or a visitor eager to experience the authentic flavors of NYC, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and insight needed to embark on a delicious pizza adventure.

From the sizzling slices served up at bustling street corners to the cozy neighborhood pizzerias that have been perfecting their craft for generations, New York City offers a pizza experience like no other. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare your taste buds, because we're about to embark on a mouthwatering journey through the Big Apple's pizza paradise.


History of Pizza in NYC

Pizza has a rich and storied history in New York City, dating back to the late 19th century when Italian immigrants first introduced this delectable dish to the bustling streets of the city. The origins of pizza in NYC can be traced to the Italian-American communities, particularly in the neighborhoods of Little Italy and Greenwich Village, where the first pizzerias began to emerge.

One of the earliest recorded pizzerias in the United States, Lombardi's, opened its doors in 1905 in Manhattan's Little Italy. Gennaro Lombardi, the founder, is often credited with pioneering the New York-style pizza that has become synonymous with the city. The classic characteristics of this style include a thin, hand-tossed crust, a generous layer of tangy tomato sauce, and a liberal sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Lombardi's quickly gained popularity among locals and immigrants alike, setting the stage for the widespread adoration of pizza in NYC.

As the Italian-American population grew in NYC, so did the demand for pizza. This led to the proliferation of pizzerias across the city, each adding its own unique twist to the traditional Neapolitan-style pie. Over the years, iconic pizza styles such as the thin-crust New York slice, the Sicilian square, and the coal-fired oven pizza have become emblematic of the city's diverse culinary landscape.

The evolution of pizza in NYC also reflects the city's cultural melting pot, with influences from various immigrant communities shaping the way pizza is enjoyed. From the introduction of diverse toppings to the innovation of new cooking techniques, the pizza scene in NYC continues to evolve while staying true to its roots.

Today, New York City stands as a global epicenter of pizza culture, boasting an unparalleled array of pizzerias that cater to every taste and preference. The enduring legacy of pizza in NYC is a testament to the city's enduring love affair with this humble yet extraordinary dish, making it an integral part of the city's culinary identity.


Different Types of Pizza in NYC

The pizza landscape in New York City is as diverse as the city itself, offering a tantalizing array of pizza styles to suit every craving. Whether you prefer a classic New York slice or crave the thick, pillowy goodness of a Sicilian square, NYC has something for everyone. Let's explore the different types of pizza that contribute to the city's vibrant culinary tapestry:

  1. New York Slice: The quintessential New York slice is a thin-crust wonder, typically hand-tossed and adorned with a tangy tomato sauce and a generous layer of gooey mozzarella cheese. This iconic style is often served in large, foldable slices, making it the perfect on-the-go snack for busy city dwellers.

  2. Sicilian Pizza: Known for its thick, rectangular crust and hearty toppings, Sicilian pizza offers a satisfyingly chewy base topped with a robust tomato sauce and ample cheese. This style is beloved for its substantial, doughy texture and flavorful, slightly crispy crust.

  3. Neapolitan Pizza: Inspired by the traditional pizzas of Naples, Italy, Neapolitan pizza is characterized by its thin, soft crust and minimalist toppings. Cooked in a wood-fired oven at high temperatures, this style yields a blistered crust and a perfectly charred, smoky flavor that complements the simplicity of the toppings.

  4. Coal-Fired Pizza: A hallmark of NYC's pizza scene, coal-fired pizza is distinguished by its thin, crisp crust and distinctive charred spots, resulting from the intense heat of a coal-burning oven. This method imparts a unique smokiness to the pizza, enhancing the flavors of the toppings and creating a memorable dining experience.

  5. Grandma Pizza: This lesser-known gem is a square pie that boasts a thin, crispy crust and a delightful harmony of flavors. Topped with a rich tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil, the Grandma pizza exudes rustic charm and homemade appeal.

  6. Artisanal and Gourmet Pizzas: In addition to traditional styles, NYC is home to a thriving artisanal pizza scene, where innovative toppings and creative flavor combinations take center stage. From truffle-infused delicacies to farm-fresh, seasonal creations, these gourmet pizzas offer a sophisticated twist on the classic pie.

The diverse range of pizza styles in NYC reflects the city's culinary dynamism, catering to a wide spectrum of tastes and preferences. Whether you're a purist who savors the simplicity of a classic New York slice or an adventurous foodie eager to explore new flavor profiles, the city's pizza offerings are sure to delight and inspire.

With an abundance of pizzerias and eateries dedicated to perfecting the art of pizza-making, NYC stands as a mecca for pizza enthusiasts, offering a never-ending journey of discovery through the tantalizing world of pizza.


Popular Pizza Places in NYC

When it comes to finding exceptional pizza in New York City, the options are virtually endless. From historic pizzerias that have stood the test of time to innovative newcomers pushing the boundaries of pizza craftsmanship, the city boasts a remarkable array of renowned pizza establishments. Here are just a few of the popular pizza places that have earned a special place in the hearts and stomachs of locals and visitors alike:

Lombardi's Pizza

Established in 1905, Lombardi's holds the distinction of being the first licensed pizzeria in the United States. Located in the heart of Little Italy, this iconic eatery continues to mesmerize patrons with its classic New York-style pizza. The coal-fired oven imparts a delightful smokiness to the thin, crisp crust, while the tangy tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella create a harmonious symphony of flavors.

Di Fara Pizza

Nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of Midwood, Di Fara Pizza is a beloved institution revered for its legendary pies. Each pizza is meticulously crafted by the eponymous Dom DeMarco, who personally oversees every aspect of the pizza-making process. The result is a transcendent culinary experience characterized by the perfect balance of fresh ingredients, handcrafted dough, and a touch of culinary artistry.

Artichoke Basille's Pizza

With multiple locations across the city, Artichoke Basille's Pizza has garnered a devoted following for its indulgent, indulgent, and innovative pizza creations. The namesake Artichoke slice, adorned with a rich, creamy artichoke and spinach topping, has become a cult favorite, while the diverse menu offers an array of inventive options that cater to every palate.

Joe's Pizza

A true New York institution, Joe's Pizza has been serving up quintessential New York slices since 1975. The modest storefront in Greenwich Village belies the extraordinary quality of the pizza within. With its no-frills approach and unwavering commitment to tradition, Joe's Pizza continues to capture the hearts of pizza purists and casual enthusiasts alike.


Tucked away in the charming neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Lucali exudes an inviting, intimate ambiance that sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience. The wood-fired pizzas, crafted with a meticulous attention to detail, showcase the finest, locally sourced ingredients, resulting in pies that are as visually stunning as they are delectable.


Located in the vibrant enclave of Bushwick, Roberta's has earned widespread acclaim for its innovative approach to pizza-making. The menu features an eclectic mix of wood-fired pizzas, each boasting a tantalizing combination of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and bold, inventive flavors. The rustic, laid-back atmosphere adds to the allure of this beloved culinary gem.

These are just a few of the many esteemed pizza places that contribute to the rich tapestry of New York City's pizza scene. Whether you're seeking a traditional New York slice, a gourmet pie with avant-garde toppings, or a taste of authentic Neapolitan pizza, the city's diverse pizzerias offer an unparalleled culinary journey that celebrates the artistry and passion behind every slice.


How to Find the Best Pizza in NYC

Finding the best pizza in New York City is a thrilling quest that promises a delectable journey through the city's rich pizza landscape. To embark on this culinary adventure and savor the most exceptional slices that NYC has to offer, consider the following tips and strategies:

Seek Local Recommendations

Tap into the wealth of local knowledge by seeking recommendations from New Yorkers who are passionate about their pizza. Whether it's striking up a conversation with a friendly neighborhood resident or consulting online forums and review platforms, gathering insights from those who know the city's pizza scene best can lead you to hidden gems and beloved establishments that may not be in the spotlight.

Embrace Exploration

Venture beyond the well-trodden paths of Manhattan and explore the diverse neighborhoods that comprise the city's culinary tapestry. From the historic streets of Brooklyn to the vibrant enclaves of Queens, each borough offers a distinct flavor profile and a treasure trove of pizzerias waiting to be discovered. Embracing exploration allows you to uncover lesser-known establishments that boast exceptional pizza craftsmanship and unique regional influences.

Consider Pizza Tours

For a curated and immersive pizza experience, consider joining a guided pizza tour led by knowledgeable local guides. These tours offer a delightful blend of history, culture, and, of course, ample tastings of some of the city's most iconic and hidden-gem pizzerias. Whether you opt for a walking tour through the bustling streets of Manhattan or a leisurely exploration of Brooklyn's thriving pizza scene, a pizza tour can provide valuable insights and insider tips for uncovering the best pizza in NYC.

Prioritize Quality Ingredients

When evaluating pizzerias, prioritize establishments that emphasize the use of high-quality, fresh ingredients. From locally sourced produce to artisanal cheeses and premium meats, a commitment to quality ingredients is often a hallmark of exceptional pizza-making. Look for pizzerias that take pride in their sourcing practices and demonstrate a dedication to crafting pizzas that showcase the best flavors of each component.

Embrace the Unexpected

While iconic pizzerias often steal the spotlight, don't be afraid to embrace the unexpected and explore unconventional settings and hidden storefronts. Some of the most extraordinary pizza experiences can be found in unassuming locations, where passionate pizzaiolos are quietly perfecting their craft and serving up slices that defy expectations. By embracing the unexpected, you may stumble upon a truly remarkable pizza that lingers in your memory long after the last bite.

By embracing these tips and strategies, you'll be well-equipped to embark on a captivating pizza odyssey through the diverse and dynamic pizza landscape of New York City. Whether you're drawn to the allure of historic pizzerias, eager to uncover hidden culinary treasures, or excited to savor innovative pizza creations, the city's pizza scene promises an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.


Tips for Ordering Pizza in NYC

When it comes to ordering pizza in New York City, navigating the myriad of options can be both thrilling and overwhelming. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned local, mastering the art of ordering pizza in NYC can elevate your dining experience and ensure that every slice delights your taste buds. Here are some valuable tips to consider when placing your pizza order in the Big Apple:

1. Know Your Pizza Lingo

Familiarize yourself with the local pizza jargon to communicate your preferences with ease. Whether you're partial to a "plain slice" (cheese pizza) or crave a "pie" (whole pizza), understanding the terminology used by pizzerias can streamline the ordering process and ensure that you receive exactly what you desire.

2. Customize Your Order

Don't hesitate to customize your pizza to suit your taste. Whether you prefer extra cheese, a specific combination of toppings, or a well-done crust, most pizzerias in NYC are accommodating when it comes to fulfilling personalized requests. Embrace the opportunity to tailor your pizza to your liking and savor a customized culinary masterpiece.

3. Consider Slices vs. Whole Pies

If you're dining solo or craving a quick snack, opting for a few slices of pizza allows you to sample a variety of flavors from different pizzerias. On the other hand, ordering a whole pie is ideal for sharing with friends or indulging in a full pizza experience. Consider the occasion and your dining companions when deciding between slices and whole pies.

4. Embrace Cash Transactions

While many pizzerias in NYC accept credit and debit cards, some iconic establishments remain cash-only. To avoid any inconvenience, it's advisable to carry cash when venturing out to sample pizza from renowned, old-school pizzerias. Embracing cash transactions ensures a seamless and authentic pizza-buying experience.

5. Mind the Peak Hours

Be mindful of peak dining hours, especially during lunch and dinner times, when popular pizzerias may experience long lines and wait times. Planning your pizza outings during off-peak hours can enhance your dining experience, allowing you to savor your pizza leisurely without the hustle and bustle of crowded pizzerias.

6. Practice Pizza Etiquette

When dining in at a pizzeria, observe common pizza etiquette by using your hands to enjoy your slice, folding it if necessary, and savoring each bite with gusto. If you're ordering for takeout or delivery, express gratitude to the pizzeria staff for their service, fostering a culture of appreciation and respect within the vibrant pizza community.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can navigate the bustling pizza scene of New York City with confidence and finesse, ensuring that every pizza order becomes a delightful and memorable experience. Whether you're savoring a classic New York slice or indulging in a gourmet pie, these insights will empower you to make informed and satisfying pizza choices throughout your culinary escapades in the city that never sleeps.



In conclusion, the quest for the best pizza in New York City is a journey filled with tantalizing flavors, rich history, and boundless culinary exploration. From the humble beginnings of Italian immigrants introducing their cherished dish to the bustling streets of NYC to the diverse array of pizza styles and the iconic pizzerias that have become cultural landmarks, the city's pizza scene is a testament to the enduring love affair between New Yorkers and their beloved pies.

As we've delved into the rich history of pizza in NYC, explored the diverse array of pizza styles, and highlighted some of the most popular pizzerias, it's evident that the city's pizza culture is as vibrant and dynamic as the city itself. The legacy of pizza in NYC is not merely a culinary tradition but a reflection of the city's cultural tapestry, where innovation and tradition coalesce to create an unparalleled pizza experience.

For both locals and visitors, the journey to finding the best pizza in NYC is a thrilling odyssey that invites exploration, discovery, and a celebration of culinary artistry. Whether seeking out historic pizzerias that have stood the test of time or venturing into lesser-known neighborhoods to uncover hidden gems, the city offers a mosaic of flavors and experiences that cater to every pizza enthusiast's palate.

As we've discussed the tips for finding and ordering pizza in NYC, it's clear that the city's pizza landscape is as much about the experience as it is about the flavors. From seeking local recommendations to embracing the unexpected and mastering the art of ordering pizza with finesse, every aspect of the pizza journey contributes to the rich tapestry of New York City's culinary heritage.

In the end, the best pizza in NYC is not merely about the quality of the crust, the richness of the sauce, or the perfection of the toppings; it's about the stories woven into each slice, the passion infused into every pie, and the shared love for a dish that transcends cultural boundaries. It's an invitation to savor not just the flavors but the spirit of a city that takes pride in its pizza, welcoming all who seek to partake in its timeless tradition.

So, whether you're drawn to the sizzle of a coal-fired slice, the comfort of a classic New York pie, or the innovation of a gourmet creation, the best pizza in NYC awaits, promising an unforgettable journey through the heart and soul of the city's culinary legacy.

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