We felt like it was our public service, to provide a real best pizza list. We’re not naming names, but a recent list was almost completely rubbish. Because really, you’re not crossing bridges for a slice or traveling to the nether regions of NYC on a regular basis. Also pizza is a hot (no pun intended) industry these days, as even top chefs like Wylie Dufresne are in the game. This is the real best pizza in NYC list, and it’s not just about being trendy. Some of these have been around forever, and for good reason.
The Pizza: Cafe Fiorello
There’s a reason Cafe Fiorello has been around for 46+ years. Yes – they prove time and time again they are scrappy. They were one of the first restaurants to convert to a grocery during the pandemic. You can say it’s the location, but it’s somehow held its own with The Smith and Boulud which could have annihilated their business. The answer to us is clear. It’s their pizza. What we don’t get is why their pizza doesn’t get top love in NYC. Even if you don’t like pizza you’ll like it here. The key is the crust, which is so crisp and thin it’s like a cracker. And it’s topped with the highest quality mozzarella and just the right amount of sweet yet tangy sauce. Their Margherita is world class and even though it’s pizza, it feels low-carb.
The Pizza: John’s of Bleeker
Speaking of longevity, John’s of Bleeker has been around since 1929. Just shy of 100 years old, as what’s eight years at this stage amongst friends? And it isn’t around because of the atmosphere. John’s is all about the pizza, which has that crispy thin crust and topped with honest ingredients. What we mean by that is this is straight up pizza. No caviar. No truffles. Real ingredients and pizza toppings you ordered as a kid. Pepperoni. Sausage. Green peppers. It’s old school, and as honest of a New York experience as it gets.
The Pizza: Marta
It’s all about the Roman-style pizza here from the wood-burning brick oven. Marta’s pies are just as good as anything you would find in Rome. Thin crust, a good amount of sauce and generous toppings. We like that they take the toppings all the way to the end too, so there’s not a lot of crust that’s left orphaned. Also their cheese is some of the highest quality in the city, whether it’s the fresh mozzarella or buratta. The other standout is the mushroom pizza, which may be the very best in the city.
Marta is a Danny Meyer home run in terms of the quality of the food. Atmosphere at the restaurant is nice enough for work lunches and casual friend dinners. Marta’s dining room definitely ranks in the upper tier on this list of top NYC pizzas. The pizza travels well, surprisingly, and just needs a touch of a warm up in the oven at home. Now if only they would deliver more places in Manhattan.
The Pizza: Motorino
This one is on the list because it’s one of the few places that serves a great clam pizza. If you like clams, and you’ve never had it on a slice, it’s a game-changer. Served on Motorino’s slightly chewy crust, the clam pizza is abundant and generously topped with meaty cherrystones. No red sauce here; instead it’s a refined white pizza, with fresh mozzarella, oregano and parsley. The dining rooms of their multiple locations are no great shakes. If you’re a family with young kids, great, this spot is for you. But it’s not a place you would allocate a dine-in experience. The pizza travels well and if you are in the delivery zone, will be a go-to on your order-in list.
The Pizza: Pasquale Jones
This is the spot on the list that you go to with your sig other or friends on a Friday night. You will absolutely go through at least one bottle of wine. Atmosphere is lively, fun and in Nolita, where you want to be on a weekend. Their wood-burning oven is legit, and they go creative on their pizzas. Pasquale Jones made our list because of their zucchini flower pizza. Seriously, why do more places not make a zucchini flower pizza? The pies here are perfect Neopolitan, where they’re crispy slightly doughy on the outer edges of the crust and wet in the center. The red sauce here is the perfect tangy yet sweet consistency.