If the four food groups were determined by New Yorkers, pizza would certainly be one of them. We’ve eaten pizza all over the world, including Italy. The pizza in Italy is wonderful. We still love New York Pizza best. In our opinion, the best pizza is eaten while walking down the street, talking to a friend, and dodging traffic. When we leave the country for extended periods of time, one of the first things we eat before we leave is pizza, and one of the first things we eat when we return is… you guessed it, pizza.
NY Pizza For The Newcomer
There are many different types of pizza — the triangular, regular slice; Sicilian with the thick, square crust; Neapolitan with its thin, square crust, and more. Many old-time New Yorkers also fold the slice in half to eat. This keeps all of the fillings inside. You can eat it any way — just don’t use a knife and fork.
There are a lot of places to eat pizza in New York. The tour guides will send you to John’s, Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s — and they have good pizza (and usually long lines).
Our list below is focused on where locals eat pizza. Now occasionally we go to John’s or Grimaldi’s or one of the other places in the tour books. But mostly, we don’t because the lines are too long or because it’s not as good as our favorite neighborhood joint.
We’re going to start our pizza journey on the Upper West Side. Home to Columbia University and Barnard College. Pizza and students just go together. There are a ton of great places to eat pizza on the Upper West Side. In our opinion, between 103rd and 111th on Broadway is a pizza mecca with Sal and Carmine Pizza, Mama’s Too, and Koronet.
Sal And Carmine Pizza
2671 Broadway (Near 103rd St.)
Sal & Carmine has been serving pizza since 1959. Currently run by Sal’s grandson, it’s a tiny storefront with a couple of tables on the sidewalk. A fan favorite on the Upper West Side, the pizza has a lot of sauce and the perfect amount of cheese. We love the Sicilian slice because the crust is light yet thick enough to support a good amount of sauce. And the sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. You’ll often find a line in front of the store but it moves quickly. It’s served by the slice.
2750 Broadway (Near 106th)
Mama’s TOO is just a few blocks away from Sal and Carmine’s. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the long line outside the storefront. It’s a newer addition to the neighborhood that has become very popular with the locals. It has just the right amount of cheese and sauce and there are some unique choices on the menu. The house pie and upside down are always a good choice but you can’t go wrong with cacio e pepe, poached pear, or any of the other choices.
2848 Broadway (Near 111th St.)
Koronet is famous for its jumbo slices. It is huge. Think of three slices in one and you might approach the size of the jumbo slice. You need to stop by just to see the size of the pies. Koronet also serves a regular slice. They have all the traditional types of pizza. Koronet pizza is a bit thicker and doughier and it has less sauce than we prefer. It’s not my favorite in the neighborhood but always fun to stop by to see who’s trying to eat a jumbo slice. It’s frequented by lots of students.
Here are some of our top choices from other areas of the city.
140 East 14th Street, 7 Carmine Street, 124 Fulton Street, 1435 Broadway, Or 211 8th Avenue
We’ve been going to Joe’s Pizza at 14 St. and at the Fulton St. location for years without knowing that they were owned by the same family. Joe’s was established in 1975 on Carmine Street in the Village. Joe’s serves slices with just the right amount of sauce and cheese on a crispy, thin crust. The sauce is more on the sweeter than tangier side. On 14 St., you can stand outside and eat on the counters or take your slice and walk to Union Square.
98 7 Ave
J’s Pizza is a joint favored by many a New Yorker in Chelsea. This is where you grab a slice to eat on the go. It won’t appear in any tourist guides or in the top 10 lists but the pizza is solid. Thin crust, sauce, and cheese with a bit of grease. You can try a regular slice, a grandma slice, or Sicilian.
1374 1st Avenue
Delizia73 has been an upper Eastside institution since 1983. You can eat in or take out and the menu is extensive — salad, antipasto, soup, and Italian specialties of all kinds. The grandma slice is well-loved by the locals and inside the restaurant is uniquely decorated with murals.
By The Pie And Coal Fired Ovens
If you’re looking for a whole pie as opposed to slices, we recommend Simo, Keste, Don Giovanni Ristorante, and John’s for brick oven, coal-fired pizza pies.
90-92 Gansevoort St.
Simo’s is our go-to place when we’re in the Village, on the Highline, or visiting the Whitney Museum. This is a place to sit down and savor the pizza. It serves 10 pizzas and three salads and it does all of them very well. We love the Margherita pizza. If you can’t decide, try the Tre Gusti which is three pizzas in one—Margherita, cacio e pepe, and pesto e pecorino in one. The dinner special is a good buy with two personal pizzas, two appetizers, and one dessert. They have gluten-free pizza as well.
Keste Pizza & Vino
66 Gold Street
Keste is a new discovery for us. Located in the financial district and not far from South Street Seaport, Keste it’s a place to enjoy a good glass of wine and wonderful Neapolitan pizza. Chef and owner Roberto Caporusco hails from Pontinia, Italy, and has won numerous awards for his pizza. Keste serves white pizza, fried pizza (the crust is lightly fried), and gluten-free pies. It also has a number of vegan pies. Fried pizza is the signature dish. The crust is lightly fried making it extra crunchy. The Pizza dough at Keste is so delicious that we prefer the non-fried versions.
John’s Of Bleecker Street
278 Bleecker Street
You’ll find John’s of Bleecker Street listed in every tourist guide for New York City. They’ve been serving coal-fired brick oven pizza since 1929. We promised to focus on where the locals eat pizza. Well, John’s made the list because the pizza there is really very good. Thin and crispy crust. Nice amount of cheese and sauce. Always cooked to perfection.
But, here’s why it really made the list. Our fondest memory of John’s was right after a major hurricane hit the city and there was no electricity in lower Manhattan for more than a week. All the restaurants were closed. The food in our refrigerator had already gone bad. But John’s was open and serving pizza because its coal-fired ovens didn’t rely on electricity. The line went down the block — a true New York local experience. John’s doesn’t sell slices and doesn’t take reservations. Be prepared to wait online.
Don Giovanni Ristorante
Midtown: 358 West 44th St.
Chelsea: 214 10th Ave.
Planning on seeing a Broadway show and not interested in eating at one of the over-priced restaurants nearby? Try Don Giovanni Ristorante for a reasonably priced and excellent pizza. It has great vegetarian options and the mix of sauce and cheese is perfect on all the pies. Try the fresh basil it offers as a topping and your pizza will be over the top.
This list is all Manhattan pizzerias (and below 111th street at that). There is a whole world of pizza in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens. Here are some additional recommendations in Brooklyn and Staten Island sourced from New Yorkers. Denino’s Pizzeria and Tavern on Staten Island has very good thin crust pizza. Brooklyn institutions Di Fara in Midwood or Williamsburg (they also have a Lower East Side location), Giuseppina’s in South Park Slope, and L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst. In the Bronx, you can’t go wrong on Arthur Avenue.
We hope you enjoy exploring and eating at some of these pizza places favored by the locals. Of course, there are locals eating pizza in places all over New York City. We recommend you go to any place that has a lot of people outside waiting. Sample a lot of pizza and decide for yourself.
Even if you are a pizza lover, these other New York City restaurants are worth a try: