It’s true, at any time of the day—morning, noon or night—you can grab a delicious slice in the city that never sleeps. (And sometimes for $1!)
But New York City’s pizza landscape is much more than a grab-and-go greasy slice. The five boroughs are studded with endless eateries serving up all kinds of pies from classic, wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas to Detroit-style pies.
Without further ado, these seven spectacular pizza joints in the Big Apple deliver all the right flavors.
What Our Inspectors Say: "This charming Fort Greene trattoria arrives courtesy of Matt Hyland—a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and a former partner at Sottocasa. Named for his wife, this is a cozy, intimate reprieve from bustling Fulton Street, with a simple décor and small back bar where you can catch a glimpse of the kitchen’s wood-fired pizza oven. The rustic tables bustle with young families from the neighborhood. Whet your appetite with Asian-inspired small plates like sticky-spicy Korean-style wings or tender Sichuan pork ribs before ordering one of the lip-smacking pizzas listed as reds, pinks (vodka sauce) and greens (tomatillo sauce). Or, head straight for the epic grass-fed, dry-aged burger with caramelized onions and Grafton cheddar."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Located in an industrial stretch of Ridgewood, this inventive pizzeria pulls off a number of tricks with carefully curated ingredients. Taking residence in a repurposed brewery built in the late 1800s, the red brick structure sits near the borough’s massive cemeteries where this establishment’s namesake has been laid to rest. While the 'lab' isn't large, it feels cavernous nonetheless, thanks to high ceilings, sparse digs that include a sprinkling of tables with views of the cement dome oven and an ample covered terrace. Tuck in to salads, homemade pastas and burrata, as well as wood-fired pies that include the Guido BK which celebrates the bitter beauty of broccoli rabe and shares its charred crust with red wine-cured sausage and mozzarella."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Mamma mia! New York’s love affair with Kesté shows no sign of stopping. This kitchen begins with a puffy, blistered crust that’s perfectly salty and tangy, then tops it with ingredients like roasted butternut squash purée, smoked mozzarella and basil. And while its ingredients seem to have taken a small hit in recent years, that crust is still on point. Co-owner Roberto Caporuscio presides over the American chapter of Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, and his daughter, Giorgia, oversees the in-house pizza making operations. Diners can choose from more than 22 pizzas (including a few gluten-free options), a roster of calzoni and nightly pie specials. The restaurant is teeny-tiny, but diners are encouraged to linger, in true Italian hospitality."
The signature pies at Don Antonio by Starita are finished in a wood-fired oven. (Photo courtesy of Don Antonio by Starita.)
What Our Inspectors Say: "Don Antonio’s knows its way around a pie. The namesake outpost, located in Naples, has been running strong since 1901. If that isn’t enough street cred to send you running to this beloved midtown pizzeria, then the generous buzz surrounding Roberto Caporuscio’s other NY venture, Kesté, will do the trick. This kitchen's signature is the Montanara Starita—a lightly fried pizza laced with house-made tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella and basil, then finished in the wood-fired oven. But really, who could stop there with treasures like the salsiccia e friarielli pizza to sample, highlighting crumbled fennel sausage, smoked mozzarella, rapini greens and a swirl of EVOO. Filled with unique Sicilian varietals, this wine list is more thoughtful than it needs to be."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Ovest Pizzoteca, Da Mikele, Luzzo’s and Luzzo’s BK: you can’t throw a stone without hitting one of the talented Michele Iuliano’s restaurants these days, and for good reason. Nestled in the East Village, this original outpost of Luzzo’s boasts a colorful exterior, treasured, century-old coal-burning oven that pushes out not only ace pizzas, but also Neapolitan classics like frusta, la quadrata and pizza fritta. The term pizzeria just doesn’t do this lovely spot justice. And judging by the patient crowds lined up outside, the neighborhood knows a good thing when they see it. Once inside, guests are treated to a charming interior of exposed brick, mismatched chairs and kitschy knickknacks. Soft Italian music plays beneath the happy hum of friends and family chatting."
What Our Inspectors Say: "This tiny pizzeria has made a big splash with its panuozzo, a regional specialty hailing from Campania that’s a cross between a calzone and panino. The puffy plank of tender, salted dough emerges from San Matteo’s hand-built, wood-fired oven crusty and smoke-infused before being sliced and stuffed with first-rate ingredients (highlights include the ortolano’s fresh, house-made mozzarella, grilled eggplant, roasted sweet peppers and baby arugula). The room is graciously attended to and perpetually crowded with neighborhood folks stuffing their faces. In addition to the appetizing house signature, other favorites feature bright salads such as escarole with Gaeta olives, capers and gorgonzola; Neapolitan-style pizza; or the day's special baked pasta."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Located just below street level on frenetic Atlantic Avenue, a nondescript façade holds a quiet den of serious Neapolitan pizza magic. Enter and you’ll find a simple, narrow, wood-paneled room with whitewashed brick walls; a little bar showcasing a handful of wines; an enormous, two-ton clay oven (imported directly from Naples); and a little patio out back for alfresco dining. The mood is decidedly relaxed, and while there are delicious salads, antipasti and desserts to be tried at Sottocasa, the name of the game here is undoubtedly their wickedly good pizza, served folded, bianche or rosse (with—hurrah!—a gluten-free option as well). Regulars adore the Diavola pie, which comes laced with excellent mozzarella, fresh basil, black olives and hot sopressata."
Hero image courtesy of Kesté Pizza & Vino.
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There is no better dining room for a celebration than a steakhouse dining room. Valentine’s day, no matter your romantic status, is essentially an excuse to treat yourself and someone you love. With that in mind, imagine nipping at a chilled shellfish platter, leaning in over a char-broiled porterhouse, delighting in a glass of Champagne and remember — it’s good to feel good now and again.
Here are our inspector’s picks for a few of the best, always USDA Prime, steaks in New York City: