New York City has a lot of classic foods to its name: bagels, corned beef and cabbage, black-and-white cookies, hot dogs. But no food item is more symbolic of the NYC food experience than pizza. Though there may be a pizzeria on nearly every corner of the Big Apple, not all pies are created equal. Here are ten best places to fold up a slice.
Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York
Numero28 Reginella Pizza is unlike any other pizza you've had. It uses an ultra-thin, crispy crust made with yeast (making it not at all suitable for folding), topped with the best Airplane-weekly-imported Italian buffalo mozzarella typically into squares. Numero28, 137 7th Avenue 11215, Brooklyn, New York pizza joint, is probably the only place in New York where you can find such with unmatched taste. There are a number of other outlets and you may just be shocked to find one just around your neighborhood.
Old-school pizza shop that's worth the wait
Dom DeMarco opened his Avenue J pizzeria in 1964, and to this day, the now 80-year-old makes nearly every single pie by hand. Using mainly imported ingredients, Di Fara's pies come with an old-fashioned and simple sauce that’s probably the best in the city, made with San Marzano tomatoes and topped with a blend of Grana Padano, mozzarella, and Parmesan, plus a touch of basil. The no-frills Midwood spot sees an almost constant line out the door, but if you care about pizza you’ll make the trek, and take the wait in stride.
PRINCE STREET PIZZA
Doughy Sicilian and grandma slices
Before Emmy Squared won hearts (both in real life and on Instagram) with its much-hyped Detroit-style square pizza, there was Prince Street Pizza, offering what is still one of the best square slices in the city. The Nolita pizza shop offers several kinds of Sicilian and grandma slices, but the move is to order the Spicy Spring with fra diavolo, fresh mozzarella, and small, crispy pepperonis that curl up around the edges and fill with pools of grease -- and then order a vodka slice to go along with it.
The OG slice shop (with some of the most affordable pizza in the city)
The original Patsy’s opened on First Avenue in 1933, and still offers the same big cheesy pies and slices without the pretense today. The menu lists plenty of specialty pies that are quite good, but your order here is simple: the original pie, which features a beautifully thin and soft crust, topped with a simple tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. While the prices aren’t as low as they were in 1933, a slice is still just $1.75, and a huge pie is only $12.
WILLIAMSBURG (& EAST VILLAGE)
Must-try Brussels sprout pizza
In addition to two NYC locations, Mathieu Palombino’s Motorino also has outposts in Manila, Singapore, and Hong Kong. This rapid expansion is unsurprising, given the consistently great quality of Motorino's Neapolitan-style pies (which it was doing before the style’s surge in popularity in NYC). There are a number of inventive pies here -- even the plain margherita touts a perfectly tangy San Marzano sauce with huge dollops of fior di latte and pecorino -- but the star is the Brussels sprout pizza (fret not, the leafy vegetable is accompanied by smoked pancetta).
Hip Neapolitan pizzeria with an outdoor tiki bar
Bushwick darling Roberta’s nails the perfect balance of being at once too cool and inviting. You’ll wait forever to try the Brooklyn-Neapolitan-style pies adored by locals and the Clintons alike, and drinking in the backyard tiki bar while waiting to eat only heightens the allure, but there’s nothing exclusive or pretentious about the place. Take a seat at a wooden picnic table (inside or outside) and enjoy the crown jewel: the Speckenwolf, made with house-made mozzarella, thin slices of salty speck, and mushrooms.
WEST VILLAGE (& OTHER LOCATIONS)
The go-to 2am slice shop
When it comes to a regular, fast slice it’s hard to beat Joe’s. Still owned and operated by Joe Pozzuoli, who opened the original West Village location in 1975, Joe’s now has two other outposts -- both on busy streets (14th Street in the East Village/Union Square and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg), much to the delight of those seeking a 2am slice. Though it’s certainly a tourist attraction, it’s hard to find a regular cheese slice that compares. If anything is true New York pizza, it’s Joe’s.
Inventive pies served inside a rustic space
Inside a cabin-like room with enough rustic wood finishings to fill a Pinterest board, you’ll find some of the city’s most inventive Neapolitan-style pies, like the Hometown brisket with chunks of Hometown Bar-B-Que's beloved meat, and the sweet-and-savory Cherry Jones with mozzarella, gorgonzola, prosciutto, dried cherries, and honey. New Yorkers are so taken with the Greenpoint pizzeria that it's expanded to Baltimore, Miami, Columbus, and Chicago.
Light and airy pies, with a shorter wait than Grimaldi's
Patsy Grimaldi’s Juliana’s -- a rival of the adjacent Grimaldi's, which he no longer owns -- offers pies that seem nearly identical to its rival, but offer something entirely different. Juliana’s pizza is light and airy, with fresh and rich flavors from its sauce and cheese. It also helps that the line isn’t nearly as long.
BOERUM HILL & HARLEM
The perfect (weekend-only) burrata pizza
This friendly neighborhood spot seems to achieve the impossible: a crust that’s not too thick and not too thin, with just the perfect amount of char. There’s a bevy of options to choose from, but if you come Friday-Sunday, always get the burrata (it’s only offered then). Any other night, go with the Laura: mozzarella, mascarpone, rosemary, and bacon-like speck.