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The Best Pizza in New York City

8 Picks for the Best Pizza in NYC
I have shied away from controversy on this blog. I’m ending that now by writing about my favorite pizza places in New York City. New Yorkers take their pizza very seriously, and we all have our own lists sort of like how in “Top Five” everyone had their favorite rappers. Pizza is an important part of the New York diet, and New Yorkers want to make sure they’re eating the best pizza they can.

How am I qualified to judge the best pizza in New York City? I’ve lived in New York City all of my life and I don’t think that I’ve ever gone a week in the past 20 years without eating pizza. I also managed to eat pizza every day when I was in Copenhagen, due to our lenient parenting style to a very picky toddler. That is more a fun fact than a qualification for judging NYC pizza though. I also used to work as editor for Zagat, but that job did not entail any pizza responsibilities.

By the Slice

Pro Tip: At any pizzeria, always ask if there are any slices “hot out of the oven” that don’t need to be reheated. Often, they’ll pull out a pie that’s under the counter. If they say there isn’t any, then ask if there’s a fresh pie coming out of the oven. If they say no, evaluate the slices based on their appearance and your own hunger.

Mariella Pizza

Pictured above, Mariella offers the quintessential New York slice and renders it perfectly with a chewy crust of medium thickness, a generous but not gloppy layer of sweet, tangy sauce and a sufficient covering a good quality mozzarella. Mariella has been around for at least 30 years.

Mariella, 965 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10021; 212-249-2065

Mimi’s Pizza

Mimi’s makes a much heavier slice — now this is a true meal. The cheese quantity is fairly intense. There’s a nice seating area where you can soak in the limited ambience from this authentic parlor that’s been around for over 50 years. If you need any more urging to check it out, celeb chef Bobby Flay was a delivery boy there when he was 12. Also, the salad is surprisingly good.

Mimi’s; 1248 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10028; 212-861-3363

Little Italy

There’s no shortage of pizza places in Midtown to serve hungry office workers, but Little Italy keeps it fresh with good quality ingredients and a tasty sauce. There are several pizzerias with the called “Little Italy” but this one is independently owned and a few notches above the others.

Little Italy, 1 East 43rd Street; New York, NY, 10175; 212-687-3660

Pizza Restaurants

Keste

The wood-fired Neopoltian pizza at Keste is perfection. Too bad it’s all the way down in Greenwich Village because if it was uptown I would visit more than a few times a year. You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas, but I recommend you choose one with a prosciutto topping. It’s fairly small, so expect to wait during peak hours. It’s worth the wait though! The baby of the bunch, Keste opened in 2009 and even serves gluten-free pizzas.

Keste; 271 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014; 212-243-1500

John’s of Bleecker Street

John’s used to be the reason to go to Bleecker street but now I love Keste (right across the street) so much that I’ve been neglecting these famous crispy, coal-fired brick-oven pies. Just writing this is making me want to take a trip down to John’s ASAP. The Upper East Side location closed recently, which was a real blow to my ordering-in schedule. John’s  of Bleecker Street dates back to 1929, and its dark, old-world ambiance is part of the experience. I also recommend the Times Square location which is in a large converted church.

John’s of Bleecker Street; 278 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014; 212-243-1680

Grimaldi’s

As you can see, my list is very Manhattan-centric, but Grimaldi’s is worth leaving the borough. This DUMBO legend has often has a line up the block for its hearty, crisp coal-fired pies, and I’ve waited on it. The quality here is so high that it would win over any pizza skeptic. The restaurant’s history is a bit complicated and the same pizza family actually started Patsy’s too. There’s also an outpost in Chelsea in the Limelight Market, the fancy mini-mall in what used to be one of the city’s top night clubs.

Grimaldi’s, 1 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 718-858-4300

Patsy’s

Patsy’s now a mini-chain throughout the city, and all are reliably good choices when you want a thin-crusted margherita pizza  with sweet sauce and heaps of chewy, fresh mozzarella. The toppings are delicious too. The original Patsy’s that dates back to 1933 can still be found in East Harlem. The other locations vary greatly in design and ambiance but you can be sure that the pizza will be good!

Locations vary

La Pizza at Eataly
Eataly, a fancy Italian gourmet market, made quite a splash when it arrived across the street from Madison Square Park. There are meat, cheese, gelato and bakery sections, as well as sit-down restaurants to complete the immersive Italian experiences. Made from finest ingredients straight from Italy, Eataly’s Neopolitan pie is similar to Keste but heavier and more uniform. You will probably end up buying something from the vast market while you’re here too.

Eataly, 200 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010; 212-229-2560

What do YOU think is the best pizza in NYC?

19 Responses to The Best Pizza in New York City

  1. Brenda January 4, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    This is a HOT topic for all us New Yorkers for sure! My favorite though is the pizza at Peasant Restaurant on Elizabeth St.

    John’s on Bleecker is also another favorite!
    Brenda recently posted..New Year – Leave it All Behind

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 5, 2015 at 12:02 am #

      We were at Peasant recently and my husband wanted the pizza but the waiter advised us to order other dishes! I can’t believe this… Sounds like we’ll need to return to Peasant for the pizza!

  2. Elle | Spain Buddy January 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    I loooove pizza!
    That’s decided tonight’s dinner then.
    In the meantime, I still haven’t eaten lunch.
    E x
    Elle | Spain Buddy recently posted..A smile for Juan

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 6, 2015 at 12:43 am #

      Pizza is always a good idea for lunch!

  3. Jennifer January 5, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    You’re very brave, to join in the fray.
    Jennifer recently posted..My New Favorite Carry-On: Delsey Helium Titanium Trolley Case

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 6, 2015 at 12:41 am #

      Thanks, Jen. I will continue to find the courage to tackle these pressing issues.

  4. wandering educators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    January 5, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    YUM!!! TIme to head to NYC!
    wandering educators recently posted..Through the Eyes of an Educator: Istanbul, Turkey

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 6, 2015 at 12:42 am #

      Come visit and I’ll treat you to a slice or four!

  5. noel January 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Very smart not to pick your personal favorite but give descriptions to each popular spot, I’ll just have to visit NYC to try all your recommended choices.
    noel recently posted..A Golden Gate New Years walk – Travel Photo Mondays

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 6, 2015 at 12:42 am #

      Wow, I guess I used my Zagat training after all! Yes, come try all of these pies…

  6. Larissa
    Twitter: changes_long
    January 5, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    I’m in this southwestern US right now, but you have made this Brooklyn girl long for the land of her birth . . . drooling!
    Larissa recently posted..Odd America: Why you need a passport to visit Point Roberts, Washington

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 6, 2015 at 12:43 am #

      Yes, there’s no pizza like New York pizza!

  7. Gran Canaria Local January 5, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    When we finally make it to NYC, we’re definitely hitting one of these places. Thanks for the tip. Sounds like it was a difficult job narrowing your selection down.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..Barranco Seco

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      January 6, 2015 at 12:43 am #

      Only one?! I’m offended.

  8. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    January 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    I’m a Chicagoan picky about my pizza, but I actually go for thin crust! Sounds like I’ll have my work cut out for me on my next trip home!!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Autonomous Community Spotlight: Extremadura

  9. Tawanna January 10, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    Okay, now I want to go home. I can not find good pizza like home. Growing up, totally took it for granted. I’d just pay my .75 to the pizza man around the way, whether across the street or by my grandmother’s house or in Park Slope (all in Brooklyn mind you), put my .25 change in my pocket, fold it up and keep it moving. Who knew that one day people would be flocking to NY to judge pizza or write about it for that matter? What I wouldn’t do to have a good pizza shop on the corner again. #Memories

  10. Lillie
    Twitter: WorldLillie
    January 15, 2015 at 3:08 am #

    I applaud you for your bravery. Given how strongly people feel about this topic, it may cause some fights!
    Lillie recently posted..A Warning About Getting the First Passport for Your Child

  11. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    January 15, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    Yum! We usually avoid eating bread, but we almost always make an exception for NYC pizza.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Don George on Travel Writing, Blogging & “Working for Exposure”

  12. Liz March 11, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    Thanks for the list! I am always amazed at the volume of possibilities in NYC – some of the best pizza I’ve had there is just from a random small store front at 2AM selling pizza by the slice.
    Liz recently posted..Why Cook with Cast Iron

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