Every major city has its specialty food item, whether discussing Philadelphia's famous cheesesteaks or New Orleans' spice-riddled gumbo. For New York, pizza is the food that stands alone in the Big Apple, the city boasting dozens of pizzerias, all claiming to have the best slice of pie in town.
10 of the Best Pizza Places in New York City
Unfortunately, only a few restaurants can claim the prestigious distinction of having the most incredible pizza in New York. From established landmarks in the Lower East Side to tucked-away restaurants in Brooklyn, here are some of the best pizza places in New York City, ranked from best to worst.
1. Lombardi's Coal Oven Pizza – Nolita
The fact that Zagat once claimed Lombardi's has the best pizza on the planet shouldn't be taken lightly. Specializing in Neapolitan-style coal-oven pies, you can't get a better slab of authentic New York pizza than Lombardi's. Opened in 1905, this family-owned restaurant has been feeding hungry visitors for well over a century, making it not only one of the greatest pizzerias in New York but one of the oldest as well.
2. Lucali – Brooklyn
Despite opening its doors less than two decades ago, Lucali has quickly become one of the standout eateries in Brooklyn. The restaurant's owners have been featured on everything from the Food Network to Live with Kelly & Ryan. Like all the great things, Lucali proves that the simple things are often the best in life, their pizzas consisting mainly of imported cheese blends, fresh basil, tomato sauce, and a handful of select toppings.
3. Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery – Astoria
Where else can someone get a slice to eat and follow it up with a homemade Italian pastry other than Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery? Tucked beneath the BMT Astoria Line, Rose & Joe's is one of the few NYC bakeries offering pizza, with tourists and locals flocking to their doors for their massive Sicilian or Margherita pizza. A slice of Sicilian costing about $4.00 also earns points for being one of the most affordable pizza places in New York City.
4. Una Pizza Napoletana – Lower East Side
About one block from the iconic Katz Delicatessen, Una Pizza Napoletana's Neapolitan pies might rival Katz's famously tender pastrami. Bringing a Naples-style pizza's taste and simple sophistication to the Lower East Side, Una Pizza Napoletana's woodfire-oven Margherita might be the most authentic-tasting pie in the city. Open three days a week from 5 to 9:15 pm, it may be hard stopping by Una Pizza Napoletana, given their limited schedule—but it's well worth the visit.
5. Patsy’s Pizzeria – East Harlem
Next to Lombardi's, Patsy's Pizzeria has the rightful claim to being one of the oldest pizza restaurants in New York. Opening its doors in 1933, Patsy's made a name for itself by introducing a thin-crust style pizza to New Yorkers—a style that quickly caught on among East Coast residents. With 12 locations spread throughout New York, the original location in East Harlem is the one you have to visit. It still uses the same gooey coal-fire pies they offered nine decades ago.
6. Ops – Brooklyn
A pizzeria to keep your eye on in the future, Ops has achieved so much in so little time. It has distinguished itself as one of the tastiest pizza places in Brooklyn since opening in 2016. There's simply no wrong choice when it comes to Ops' rich assortment of menu items, be it the Ops' Pops Pizza (tomatoes, guanciale, onions, mozzarella, and pecorino romano) or the restaurant's weighty calzones.
7. 99 Cent Fresh Pizza
Don't let appearances be deceiving—behind the seemingly ordinary-looking front doors of 99 Cent Pizzeria lies some of the most delectable slices of pizza you'll find in the city. With locations throughout New York, each pizzeria bearing the 99 Cent Fresh Pizza name is worth dropping by. It may not be the most glamorous place to grab a bite, but it's the best and easiest if you're looking for a quick meal without spending a fortune.
8. L&B Spumoni Gardens – Brooklyn
In contrast to most other pizzerias, L&B Spumoni Gardens has perfected its distinct take on the traditional pizza, offering more unique slices of pie than 99 Cent Fresh Pizza or Lucali. Their world-famous L&B Sicilian pie is served upside down, the sauce smothered over the layers of mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and crisp underbaked crust. Of course, it's impossible to leave without ordering the eponymous spumoni for dessert.
9. Mama's Too! – Upper West Side
A walk-up restaurant that's bound to stick around and expand well into the future, Mama's TOO! has already developed a cult reputation for their flavorful Sicilian pies. Each pizza comes loaded with so many toppings it's difficult to spot the cheese lying underneath, complete with a creamy and sweet sauce you can slurp up with a straw. It's easy to see why this place made our list of the best pizza places in New York City.
10. Paulie Gee's – Brooklyn
No list of notable New York pizzerias is complete without bringing up Paulie Gee's. A 1970s pizza place with an added twist, many of Paulie Gee's specialty pies feature a humorous name and surprisingly original pizza topping combinations. Take, for example, the Monte Cristo, which has a mild Gouda, Canadian bacon, and a maple syrup drizzle, or the Grapeful Dead, which totes Gouda, Parmigiano Reggiano, baby spinach, olive oil, and pickled red grapes. For anyone looking for something more conventional, Paulie Gee's has an assortment of more basic pies, each more succulent than the last.