The Best Pizza In New York City: A Complete Guide [2020]

There's pizza, and then there's NEW YORK CITY pizza. The difference? Ohh where to start...

The Best Pizza In New York City: A Complete Guide [2020]

Attempting to put together the ultimate list of NYC pizza is like asking for the best crêpes in Paris. Or gelato in Rome. Or tacos in Mexico City. It's doable, but as is the case with any list of the "best [insert food here]" in a city known for its "best [insert that same food here]," it's difficult. But never one to shy away from a challenge–especially when it involves dough and cheese—we've compiled what is a pretty solid list of can't-go-wrong pizza places in the Big Apple.

It encompasses New York-style, of course, but also Neapolitan and Detroit-style. Some are sit-down, others takeout slice shops. Some serve pizza, and only pizza. And others also serve pasta, maybe meatballs, occasionally a salad (*gasp*). The spots on the list extend from the East Village to the West, Williamsburg to Clinton Hill, Bleecker Street to Greenwich Village to Soho.

So if you're in the mood to watch flour-dusted chefs flinging mounds of dough in front of a fiery, wood-burning brick oven, we know just the spot.

1. Lucali

Lucali | @chef.monte

No, Lucali doesn’t take reservations. And yes, you may have to arrive hours before it opens to stand in a line that’s already curving around the corner only to put your name on the list to wait another few hours to actually sit down. But truly, that’s a small price to pay for a slice of Lucali heaven. The pies are thin yet sturdy enough to hold their shape under a layer of luscious tomato sauce, three types of cheese, and boldly aromatic fresh basil.

Could Mark Iacono fit a few more tables into his 30-seat restaurant? Probably. But then again, the rustic intimacy is part of its quintessential New York City charm. BYOB.

575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA

2. Rubirosa

Rubirosa | @rubirosa_nyc

Rubirosa is a family-run neighborhood pizza joint in the heart of Nolita that boasts some of New York’s finest upscale pies. Served in a small yet comfortable and homey dining room, the pies here strike the perfect balance between creamy, melty cheese and velvety tomato sauce. Do yourself a favor and order all the antipasti. Yup, every one. We believe in you.

235 Mulberry St

3. Prince Street Pizza

Prince Street Pizza | @pizzatography

Prince Street Pizza is a bonafide Manhattan institution and a must-try for first-timers and repeat visitors alike. The pizza squares here are huge and heaped with toppings, so grab a piece or two (including the requisite pepperoni—their claim to fame!) and shamelessly devour one of the heftiest, most flavorful, and perfectly crusty slices of your life.

Just take NYC local Adam Aleksander’s word for it

"For me, the thing all New Yorkers have in common is strong beliefs about the best slice of pizza. Prince Street Pizza is my go-to. The cheese is oohey gooey and stretches out. The crust if just firm enough to hold in the hand. The pepperoni are thick and flavorful. The sauce is dark rich and like cherry and cuts the fat of the cheese and pepperoni perfectly."

27 Prince St

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4. Lombardi's

Lombardi's | @wearyourdish

Lombardi’s has been dishing out Neapolitan-style, smoky-crusted, coal oven-baked pizza since 1905, when Gennaro Lombardi brought his expertise from the Naples bakers trade to New York. As the first official pizzeria in the United States—and the one credited with developing New York-style pizza, Lombardi’s is still located in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood (with an outpost in Chelsea), and still abiding by a “purist” combo of tomato sauce, fresh whole milk mozzarella, and basil.

Seems like an appropriate time to whip out the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” aphorism.

32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA

5. Una Pizza Napoletana

Una Pizza Napoletana | @scottspizzatours

For a slice of true Neapolitan-style pizza that’s chewy but light, put yourself in Anthony Mangieri’s hands. After nine years in San Francisco, this self-taught pizzaiolo brought his cult-favorite Una Pizza Napoletana to NYC’s Lower East Side neighborhood, and East Coast pizza lovers everywhere couldn’t be happier. Choose from the classic Neapolitan pies (Margherita, Marinara, Bianca, Filetti), or any of the daily specials—the egg and salami Apollonia pie on Saturdays is our personal favorite.

175 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

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6. L&B Spumoni Gardens

L&B Spumoni Gardens | @lbspumonigardens

If you’re a fan of thick-crust Sicilian pizza, get yourself to Brooklyn to eat at Spumoni Gardens. And if you’re not a fan of thick-crust Sicilian pizza, still go to Spumoni Gardens, trust us.

While it seems like every other restaurant you pass has some permutation of “family-owned and operated” hastily scribbled on signs and spewed across websites, Spumoni is the real, family deal. It all started back in 1917 when Ludovico Barbati arrived in the states from Torella dei Lombardi, Italy. After marrying Paolina Maugeri in 1918 and having six children, he learned how to make pizza in a garage on West 8th Street in Brooklyn—which he sold by peddling around on a horse and wagon up and down the streets of Gravesend and Bensonhurst. That was 1938. Fast forward to today and Spumoni Gardens is in its fourth generation of family ownership perfecting the art of Sicilian pies—and a whole lot of everything else. If you’re feeling fancy, opt for the Chef’s Table experience for a four-course family-style tasting menu.

2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11223

7. Paulie Gee’s

Paulie Gee's | @plantsonomy

Inventive pizza combos with locally-sourced ingredients is Paulie Gee’s MO. And it’s this exact enviable marriage between creativity and quality that’s earned it the “cool kid on the block” street cred status. That, plus its incredible vegan-but-doesn’t-taste-vegan pies.

Our favorite on the meat-free front is Vegan Grapeful Dead, with spinach, olive oil, NUMU vegan mozz, and house-pickled red grape leaves. And for all the meat-lovers out there, there's Better Off Fed, an homage to Philly’s iconic “Roast Pork Italian” sandwich with sharp provolone, sautéed broccoli rabe, sliced hot cherry peppers, and Italian roast pork from Fedoroff’s.

The list of just-corny-enough pie names goes on and on: Porkypineapple, Ricky Ricotta, Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me, Brisket Five-O...they’ll be here all day, folks (actually until 11 Monday - Saturday and 10 on Sunday, but who’s counting).

60 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

8. Roberta’s

Roberta's | @robertaspizza

There’s a 93.9% chance that every time someone mentions Bushwick, it’s in relation to Roberta’s—THAT, my friends, is just how much of an impact the wood-fired pizza joint has had on the neighborhood. With a stall inside the Urbanspace food hall and a spin-off Michelin-starred tasting restaurant, it’s clear that what used to be a “neighborhood spot” is now, well, a “New York City spot.”

Don’t skip their famous original pie, called...wait for it…"Famous Original.” The tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, Parmigiano, oregano, and chili combo can’t be beat. Unless you’re a no-garlic-is-too-much-garlic-kinda person, in which case, the “Lil’ Stinker” pie maaaaaay beat it. Come for the pizza, and stay for the pizza...and pasta, and pastries.

261 Moore Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

9. Juliana’s

Juliana's | @julianaspizza

When the original founders of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria—Patsy and the now-late Carol Grimaldi—came out of retirement in 2012 to open a new pizza joint, New York City took note. Today, the crowds gathering outside the restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge for thin-crust pies turned inside the original hand-build, coal-fired oven are an homage to their “unretirement” sacrifice almost 10 years ago. Opt for a classic, shake things up with one of their six specials, or “DIY” it by choosing your own toppings.

*Juliana’s closes every day from 3:15 - 4pm to “stock” their coal-fired oven.

19 Old Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

10. John’s of Bleecker

John's of Bleecker | @dejenereats

The coal-fired pizza you’ll taste today at John’s of Bleecker isn’t far off from what you would have tasted in 1929, when they first opened their doors on Sullivan Street. And when you sit in one of their old-school wooden booths facing a faded mural, it’ll feel like you’re going back in time, too.

Nostalgia never tasted so good.  

278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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11. Giuseppina’s

Giuseppina's | @thefoodiedoc

Sure, some may think of Giuseppina’s as the less-cool, less-well-known off-shoot of Lucali’s, but this 40-seat wood-fire pizza joint in South Slope helmed by Iacono (yes, Lucali-Iacono)’s younger brother, Chris, is deserving of a spot all to its own. The thin-crust pizzas cooked in the wood-burning oven toe the line between New York and Neapolitan-style—an identity crisis you’ll be thankful for. There’s also hearty, stick-to-your-ribs calzones, but our loyalty lies with the classics here.

691 6th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

12. Emily

Emily | @pizzalovesemily

You won’t find traditional, New York-style slices at Emily, nor will you find Neapolitan pizza. What you will find, however, are thin-crust pies perfectly crisped in a wood-fired oven. You’ll find inventive combos like their namesake pie, which comes with house-made mozzarella, pistachio, truffle sottocenere, and honey. And you’ll find evidence that a restaurant can serve really, really, really good pizza—and a knock-your-socks-off burger. And pasta (s/o to the duck ragù). And even vegetable sides, too (it's Brooklyn, after all).

The original location is in Clinton Hill, but there's also an outpost in the West Village and several locations of their Detroit-style spin-off, Emmy Squared.

35 Downing St, New York, NY 10014, USA

13. Pizza Suprema

Suprema | @linadietz

A stone’s throw away from Madison Square Garden, Pizza Suprema may be best known today as the pre-show/game spot where crowds congregate for a slice. But the restaurant has been a neighborhood staple long before the stadium moved in next door. It was established in 1964 by Salvatore Riggio and, pretty much every day for the past 56 years since then, has abided by its faithful maxim to: “do one thing and do it better than anyone else:” pizza. Don’t miss the Grandma Pizza on their signature menu, which is baked with fresh plum tomato sauce, imported Pecorino Romano, and fresh mozzarella, before finished off with basil and imported Italian extra-virgin olive oil post-bake.  

413 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

14. Mama’s Too

Mama's Too | @thecarboholic

Just in case you weren’t 100% convinced that everything tastes better in pizza form, let us introduce you to the Cacio E Pepe slice at Mama’s Too—a tiny, Upper West Side spot that’s unofficially been crowned the best pizza within walking distance of Central Park by the Journy team. Bonus points for the fact that the house-made dough is slowly fermented for a crispy yet airy texture that’ll leave all the other dough’s in the, well, dust.

2750 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

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