Pizza is like Twizzlers. I bet you never thought you’d read that sentence. What I mean is that people have strong feelings about how they like their pizza, just like the debate between Twizzlers and Red Vines. But what everyone can agree on is that pizza is delicious. If you’re in the area and are craving a slice, don’t settle for a franchise with “Hut” in the name and step into one of these excellent eateries.
The Classic Touch
You can’t go wrong with classic pizza from pepperoni to a nice onion and mushroom. The following pizzerias are continuously praised for their command over the classics.
Joe’s: Opened in 1975 by an Italian immigrant, Joe’s Pizza is regularly listed as one of the best restaurants in the city. When you’re done touring the Natural History Museum or Central Park, grab a seat at one of their Greenwich Village locations and order a slice of the freshest Mozzarella pies you’re likely to find this side of Italy.
Rubirosa: This Italian family run pizzeria is based on a 55 year old pizza recipe but mixes in American influences. Order one of nine specialty pizzas including the Caprese, Arugula, and Tie-Dye or build your own favorite with their list of toppings.
Arturo’s: This Old Greenwich Village pizza joint has been turning out coal oven beauties since 1957. The Diavolo, Bianca, and Arturo’s Fiesta round out the basics with time honored specialties. It’s not unusual to find yourself eating a good pie to some live Jazz music.
Totonno Pizzeria Napolitana: The menu here is simple but perfect: choose a size and your toppings and you’re in business with the best. Totonno’s has been a Coney Island staple since 1924, a family run Italian classic made with only the best ingredients.
Thin Crust Beauties
Some people, including myself, prefer thin crust to stuffed crust, Chicago pan pizza, or the fluffy risen crust that seems so popular. These restaurants have built a name for themselves turning out New York style thin crust gems that will make your mouth water.
Keste Pizza and Vino: Although the space may be tiny, the taste is not. Bite into a wood fired Neapolitan style pizza and taste the fresh marinara, basil, and Mozzarella. With over twelve specialty options and two more pizza menus for red and white sauces, gluten free pizzas, and vegan options, Keste is as devoted to good pizza as you are to eating it.
Lucali: This Brooklyn destination is a popular one for tourists and locals alike so get here early and order the famed calzone or their gorgeous fresh herb pizza topped with whole basil leaves, artichoke hearts, or whatever else you want.
Sottocasa: Italian for “downstairs,” Sottocasa is dedicated to authentic Neapolitan pizza and even cook in a wood oven shipped from Naples. The Prosciutto Crudo and the Valdostana are recommended but basically anything you order will blow your mind.
Award Winners and History Makers
While there are excellent new establishments and classic Italian-run family joints, there are a few that stand out as the best and brightest among the competition.
Di Fara: Di Fara’s was named New York’s best pizza place eight years in a row by Zagat and they haven’t slowed down. Choose between a regular pie, square pie, or a classic and let Di Fara himself build you a masterpiece with your favorite toppings from meatballs to cherry tomatoes and prosciutto.
Lombardi’s: Most pizzerias like to claim that they revolutionized pizza or have the best in the city. Lombardi’s on the other hand, was literally the first pizzeria in America, opened in 1897 with a reinvented recipe straight from Naples. Lombardi’s brought pizza to the U.S. and continues to stun crowds with their Gennaro’s Original pie and other gorgeously smoke-crusted pizzas.
Sometimes it’s good to try something new and these pizza places have a reputation for new, weird, and yummy food adventures.
Don Antonio: We know people like deep fried donuts, chicken, and sometimes, in the right places, deep fried oreos, but who ever heard of deep frying a pizza? Their fried dough has even made it into the appetizer menu with wild success. Try a stuffed pizza, known as Vesuvio, or a fried pie topped with walnut cream, smoked buffalo mozzarella, and zucchini.
Co.: This simply named pizzeria is a new establishment near Times Square on 9th Avenue known for its gourmet pizzas and communal tables. Grab a seat next to a new best friend and try out the Cauliflower pizza, the Popeye, or the Ham & Cheese pie.
New York City is a breeding ground for good food and strong opinions with authentic Italian eateries, Americanized classics, and fun food adventures. After a wild day of touring the Big Apple with your group, or for a break before you go back to the Met, grab a slice at one of New York’s finest pizzerias.