Why are New York Pizzas So Good?
Maybe because of the minerals present in the NY tap water. Or maybe because of using old ovens that burn at high temperatures. Or maybe the reason is the use of proper cooking techniques using fresh organic ingredients.
Whatever it is, what is undeniable is that pizza is one of the food icons of New York. A visitor here must try it out. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Here are the 6 places for the Best Pizza in New York for you to treat your taste buds with.
1. Joe’s Pizza
Joe’s Pizza is the ultimate New York pizza place. Founded by the Italian immigrant Joe Pozzuoli almost 40 years ago, this place has continued to amaze people for decades with its classic New York style street pizzas – a perfect mixture of squashed canned tomato sauce and with mouthwatering mozzarella cheese, atop an extremely thin crispy crust.
According to the founder, the secret for the restaurant’s success lies in Joe’s insistence on using the original 1975 recipes, the best ingredients, and the best staff to make the pizzas that he would want to eat. The adage “consistency is king” is true for Joe’s Pizza for every slice is as delicious as the last one you eat.
Indeed, stars like Ben Affleck and world-famous chefs like Daisuke Nakazawa have fallen in love with this place as food critics have. Joe’s Pizza is a regular on “best pizzas in New York” lists and was even honored as “Greenwich Village Institution” in 1996.
This restaurant indeed presents you one of the best pizzas in New York, especially if you’re someone who’s on the go and crave for great pizza without hurting your wallet.
Opened in: 1975
Location: 7 Carmine St, New York
Fun fact(s): one of the cheapest pizza places in NY. One plain slice costs around $2.75 only!
Recommendation: Fresh Mozzarella (full pie/ by the slice)
Dining at Lucali is an experience. Cande-lit and cozy, it is for the ones looking to relax with their company.
In fact, this iconic quaint restaurant has a such magnetic charm that it pulls crowds to stand in line long before the restaurant actually opens. As the website states, you have to book your place before 5 pm and then hang around in the plethora of bars and restaurants nearby before you’re called to sit at one of the 30 places available.
No reservations and only cash. You’re served only pizzas and calzones. And they’re some of the greatest ones you’ll ever taste.
The pizzas are an upgraded version of the classic Neopolitan style: rich tomato sauce combined with at least 3 types of mushy mozzarella cheese, each of which is applied in 3 different ways, atop a blistered thin crust.
The special touch is of course the addition of a careful selection of toppings of your choice: basils, shallots, garlic, pepperoni, onions, and pepper. Like the pizzas, the calzones are just as fresh and the perfect balance between chewy and crispy, furnished with a generous serving of ricotta.
If you fall in love with the silky tomato sauce, know that you can order bowls of them to gulp them down like soup, as plenty of fans already do.
Bonus: if you’re a fan of the art of making pizza, you’re in for a delight! You may even catch a glimpse of the great founder Mark Iacono expertly crafting his pizzas behind the marble kitchen table.
Opened in: 2006
Location: 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn, New York
Fun fact(s): Amazingly, the founder is a Brooklyn native who has never visited Italy. He even had no experience in pizza-making when he first opened his restaurant. Yet, he has managed to create a stir with his Italy-inspired pizzas that have captured hearts all around, including those of music’s royal couple: Jay-Z and Beyonce.
Recommendation: Pepperoni pie and cheese calzone.
3. Juliana’s Pizza
Juliana’s Pizza is as famous for its pizzas and world-class service as it is for its rivalry with its neighbor, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. The founder, Patsy Grimaldi is a legendary pizza chef who started his career at his uncle’s restaurant Patsy’s Pizzeria when he was just thirteen years old.
As he sharpened his skills, Grimaldi aspired to open his own pizza restaurant and usher in an innovative method of baking pizza: using coal-brick ovens that would enhance the taste of his creations. Thus, he finally opened Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in 1990 at Old Fulton Street under the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn.
The place became a fan favorite for its Neapolitan style and cracker-thin crusts with a burnt taste. One of the fans was Frank Ciolli who jumped at the chance to buy the franchise and copyright Grimaldi name from Grimaldi himself after he retired 8 years later.
Since then, Ciolli used his savvy business skills to expand the Grimaldi chain into numerous other locations. Sadly, his woes began in 2011 when his tenant refused to renew his lease for the original Grimaldi’s branch. No way out, Ciolli was forced to move his treasured restaurant to an old bank building next-door.
And, that’s when the bitter rivalry between Grimaldi and Ciolli began.
Grimaldi used this opportunity to make a comeback and pursue his passion of creating pizza again. He bought the place of Grimaldi’s original location and opened his new pizza restaurant, Julian’s Pizza – fondly named after his beloved mother.
One may argue that Grimladi has regained his crown as the rightful champion of pizza chefs as Juliana’s Pizza has become an instant favorite, frequently ranking high in “best pizza places” lists. It was even ranked as the best pizza place in the US in 2015 by TripAdvisor.
Suffice to say, the signature crunchy, airy, and charred crusts bedding soft warm cheese and velvety tomato sauce with just the right amount of flavor that bursts in your mouth shall definitely convert you into its latest fan.
Opened in: 2012
Location: 19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York
Fun fact(s): Grimaldi was 81 years old when he opened Juliana’s Pizza in 2012. Despite his old age, he is a force to reckon with as his staff can confirm. He even won the lawsuit that Ciolli had filed against him out of anger. Their bitter rivalry could make for good television drama. If you’re interested to learn more about their fascinating feud, click here.
Recommendation: Definitely, do try the classic Margherita pizza made from tomato, mozzarella, and basil that is a cult favorite.
4. My Pie Pizzeria Romana
My Pie Pizzeria Romana is a unique take on the conventional New York pizza places. The founders, Michael and John Ozger trained under the great Italian stalwart in the world of pizza making, Gabriel Bonci.
In fact, the founders have even adopted Bonci’s guiding principles of using only the finest fresh organic ingredients and being utterly uncompromising on quality to create a pizza that is aesthetically pleasing and mouthwatering.
If you’re a pizza fanatic, you may have heard of Bonci’s name and sensed that any founding chef boasting of being a student of Bonci himself must offer delectable pizza that you just cannot afford to miss.
Like My Pie Pizzeria Romana. Come here for some pizza al trancio that is loaded with the most interesting and scrumptious toppings, atop a semi-thick yet light and crunchy crust. Besides the menu, you can even see the pizzas up close behind a glass display. Vegetarians rejoice for there are some fantastic vegan options here too!
Opened in: 2013
Location: 690 Lexington Avenue, New York
Fun fact(s): Similar to Bonci’s restaurant, the doughs here are made from a rare mix of flours imported from Rome and has no additional sugar added to it. Thus, the baking process is longer taking around 48 hours to prepare the dough before baking the pizza. Clearly, it explains why pizza is the perfect harmony of being simultaneously chewy and fluffy!
Recommendation: Truffle Oil & Mushroom Pizza, Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza
5. Joe & Pat’s
New Yorkers rejoice! The iconic Joe & Pat’s that has been diligently serving the cult favorite Neapolitan style pizzas and pasta to its loyal fanbase in Staten Island since the 60s, has recently opened a branch in Manhattan.
That means one no longer has to travel by leaps and bounds that includes a bus and even a ferry just to grab a bite. This arduous journey, however, is still worth it if you’re a foodie. For it proves just how yummy the pizzas are as several “best pizza places” lists have raved on for decades.
Made with fresh ingredients and an authentic secret recipe, the pizza here is waiting to mesmerize you with its signature style of a super slim crust on top of which lies little toppings but loads of rich velvety sauce with just the right amount of tang mixed with just the right amount of cubes of low-moisture mozzarella cheese.
If you have certain dietary restrictions, do not deprive yourself of the pleasure of eating these pizzas for there are amazing gluten-free options too.
Opened in: 1960
Location: 1758 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island; 168 1st Ave, New York
Fun fact(s): The menus are slightly different in each branch. The East Village section is an upgraded and a slightly pricier version of the original Staten Island counterpart. Also, in the former, you can expect a full bar for drinks.
Recommendation: If you’re daring, try the fan-favorite Vodka Pie served with the trademark triple sauce made of pesto, vodka, and marinara.
6. L&B Spumoni Gardens
The pizzas served at L&B Spumoni Gardens are different from your typical New York street style pizzas. Here, they’re Sicilian: thick extra doughy pillow-shaped crust cut into 12 smaller square ones.
On top of it lies melted mouthwatering mozzarella cheese above which beds rich creamy tomato sauce with a hint of sweetness. Sometimes, there’ll be an added dash of olive oil and some sharp and salty Italian sheep’s milk cheese.
The purpose of keeping the mozzarella cheese in between the crust slab and the tomato sauce is to prevent the crust from becoming soggy and to ensure that the interior is light and airy.
This delicious concoction was inspired by the founder Ludovico Barbati’s Italian roots and has since been dazzling hearts all around and inspiring other restaurants to serve Sicilian style pizzas as well.
However, L&B Spumoni Gardens is not just a pizzeria. It also includes a café and an ice-cream parlor that serves its flagship spumoni ie Italian ice-cream gelato that has a combined layer of chocolate, pistachio, and vanilla along with glazed fruit.
If the thought of all these wonderful delicacies make your mouth water and you aspire to come here, know that you must come with a lot of time in hand for L&B is infamous for its long queues.
If you happen to wait in line, you can roam around the surrounding area or admire the pizzeria’s construction. Three brick buildings connected with red picnic chairs outside at the gardens dotted with American and Italian flags makes you feel like you’re at a festival.
When the time comes, we suggest you opt for a dine-in service outdoors amidst fresh nature for an exquisite relaxing experience.
The success of L&B has seen it not only entering “best pizzas in New York” lists but also be featured in pop culture cuisine shows like “Man v Food” and “The Zimmern List”.
Opened in: 1939
Location: 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY; 46 Old Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY
Fun Fact(s): The founder Ludovico Barbati originally founded this pizzeria as a spumoni factory after starting his entrepreneurial career as a traveling pizza salesman.
Recommendation: Don’t forget to order the spumoni after finishing your pizza meal!
So, there you go! With our careful selections of the 6 places to get the best pizza in New York, you won’t have to sweat over which ones to eat at when you come here. Happy pizza-eating in New York! Also, if you’d like to know more about “the City that Never Sleeps“, then check out our post: here.