One of the must-dos for anyone visiting New York City is to have a slice of pizza. Whether you like thin crust, Detroit style, or some late night oily goodness, there’s options for every taste bud. I spent my first year in New York trying pizza from more than a dozen spots, and here are what I consider to be the best places to get pizza in NYC.
What is New York Style Pizza and Why is it So Good?
But first. What even is New York Style pizza? New York Style pizza is typically characterized by an extremely thin crust and extra large slices — so large that there’s even a video on how to eat a New York slice.
According to wikipedia, when New York style pizza first came about, it was derived from the Neapolitan-style pizza made in Italy. No wonder the pizza reminded me so much of what I had gotten in Florecne, Italy!
I think New York Pizza is good for two reasons.
For the same reason that bagels in the city are special, New York pizza is also unique because of the local water that’s used to make the dough.
My second theory is that New York is super close to Italy. Many great Italian chefs have moved to New York over the years and brought their finest pizza-making secrets with them.
Where to Get New York Style Pizza
Lucali is considered by many to be the BEST PIZZA in New York City. I do think it’s pretty damn good, but I do have a slight preference for another spot that I’ll recommend later!
What I especially love about dining at Lucali is that the pizza shop is situated in a cute neighborhood in Brooklyn, surrounded by brownstones. You can’t go wrong with either indoor or outdoor seating. The atmosphere at the restaurant is simply magical.
You can also bring your own wine and they’ll open it for you at no charge!! This is probably my favorite part about dining there.
As you can imagine, the best pizza spot in New York also comes with a long wait. They do not take reservations so get there right when they open the waitlist (4pm) to make sure you actually get a spot that day. If you want to eat as early as possible, start waiting in line around 3:30pm to make sure you get your first pick and hang out in the neighborhood while you wait to be seated.
2. John’s on Bleecker
I had John’s the day before I had Lucali’s and honestly didn’t think John’s pizza was half as bad. It’s also less competitive to get a seat at John’s so if you don’t want to plan your whole afternoon around pizza, come here to get your New York slice.
P.S. They don’t do slices but you can pick 2 flavors for your pie and I thought that was the perfect amount of food for 3 people! Especially since it was paired with a pitcher of John’s beer.
While Lucali might win with its simplicity, Roberta’s wins by having incredibly aromatic and interesting-flavored pizzas. Which is why I’m offering the controversial opinion that Roberta’s is the best pizza spot in NYC!
For example, their Famous Original pizza is topped with tomato, mozzarella, parmigiano, caciocavallo, oregano, and chili. That’s like all the best, most gourmet Italian ingredients on one pizza.
The original Roberta’s is located in Bushwick. There’s a huge outdoor patio and an overall hip vibe that reminded me of San Francisco. Even though the pizza shop’s Bushwick location was a bit of a trek to get to, I loved the atmosphere that the owners created with the space.
If Bushwick is too far for you to get to, or you simply don’t have time, visit their Manhattan and Williamsburg locations instead.
4. 99 Cent Fresh Pizza
No matter how bougie your taste, a trip to NYC isn’t really complete until you’ve tried the 99 cent pizzas! I mean, what is there to lose? Surely you can spare 99 cents 🙂
There’s many 99 Cent Pizza locations sprinkled throughout the city. I wouldn’t necessarily plan your day around visiting this slice shop, but definitely keep the pizza spot bookmarked for when you need a carb boost after walking all day long or a night out.
Other Excellent Pizza Shops in NYC
It’s pretty key to try New York style pizza when you’re in New York City, but I would hate to not mention these other incredible spots for getting pizza in NYC.
4. Prince Street Pizza
Prince Street Pizza has been frequented by many celebrities and its claim to fame is their Spicy Pepperoni Pizza. I don’t know how they do it, but their Pepperoni slices are fried to perfection.
This is a great spot to grab a slice of pizza when you’re in the neighborhood and also an excellent late night option.
Wanderer Tip: The pizza does get pretty oily. If it’s too much for you, grab some napkins and dab away!!
5. Village Square Pizza
Village Square Pizza has two locations. The one I’ve been to is located in Alphabet City near some cool bars. Village Square is a close competitor of Prince Street’s and a good option still to get pizza in NYC. The two slice shops have similar style pizza, but what I think really sets Village Square apart is their Hot Honey topping.
Village Square has two locations, one in West Village and one in Alphabet City. It seems this was purposefully done to draw in all the late night partiers!
6. Lion’s Tigers and Squares Detroit Pizza
I love Detroit style pizza (and have since I lived in San Francisco)! So when I discovered Lion’s Tigers and Squares I was very excited.
The guy that works there was super nice. I wanted a simple pepperoni flavored pizza which they didn’t have, so he made one for me!
I got two different flavored pizzas to go, and because Detroit style pizza is more bread-y than other types of pizza, that was plenty for me and my partner to consume. The pizza stayed delicious even after I lugged it all the way from Chelsea to Midtown.
A Must-Do On Your NYC Itinerary
I hope you get a chance to check eat pizza in NYC off your bucket list, and if you get to eat at more than one spot even better. Pizza in NYC is so good during any time of day and I seriously haven’t had one bad slice.
For more tips on things to do while visiting NYC, check out this 3-day itinerary!