The Absolute Best Pizza In NYC, Ranked

In New York City, one food reigns supreme: pizza. Whether it's a thin-crust slice from a hole-in-the-wall joint in one of the outer boroughs or a fancy piping hot pie from an upscale restaurant in Manhattan, New Yorkers can agree on one thing: the cheesy, crusty, saucy slice is the unofficial king of the food scene in the Big Apple.

But what makes New York-style pizza so unique? Many people will tell you it's the unique quality of New York City water that makes for a crispy dough that can't be replicated anywhere else. While this might be true, it also has to do with New York's Italian culture, which was brought over by massive waves of immigration from the country in the early 20th century.

Whatever it is, New Yorkers don't play around when it comes to pizza. If you're looking to get your hands on the best slices and pies that Big Apple has to offer, keep reading for our list of the best pizza in the five boroughs.

20. Espresso Pizzeria

If you're on the prowl for a sizzling hot slice of Brooklyn pizza, head to Espresso Pizzeria in Bay Ridge, a historically Italian-American neighborhood at the end of the R subway line near the iconic Verrazzano-Narrows bridge. There's an undeniable charm in the humble décor at this tiny, no-frills slice shop; the old-school letter board that displays the simple menu of classic pizza topping hangs above the red hot pizza ovens that churn out some of the borough's best slices.

If you're venturing all the way out there for a slice, don't miss the flavorful homemade garlic knots, which are made with their own dedicated dough, unlike many pizzerias which use leftover scraps. And don't expect to find Espresso Pizzeria on a delivery app. If you want to order ahead or get delivery from Espresso, you've got to pick up the phone and call them like we did in the days of yore.

19. Lucali

Tucked in among the picturesque brownstones in the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, the pizza at Lucali has become one of the most sought-after pies in the borough since the restaurant opened its doors in 2006. A dedication to time-honored recipes and fresh, local ingredients keeps the line of people waiting outside Lucali a near-permanent fixture of the cozy little haunt (not to mention the fact that it's BYOB). In fact, it's one of Benyoncé and Jay-Z's favorite pizzas in New York, and it's one of ours, too, which is why it claimed a spot on our list.

And this place will charm your socks off. The astoundingly simple menu features only pies and calzones and is displayed on a chalkboard in a rustic interior with wooden furniture and old-timey signs. But don't bother calling ahead for a reservation — Lucali doesn't take them. And hit the ATM on your way there because it's cash only.

18. Una Pizza Napoletana

Anthony Mangieri, the brains behind Una Pizza Napoletana, is nothing short of a pizza legend. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Mangieri is entirely self-taught in the sacred art of pizza making. The crust on the pies at Una is fluffy around the edges, thin in the middle, and topped with simple, high-quality, mouth-watering ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, smoked buffalo mozzarella, and Amalfi wild oregano that pay homage to the chef's Italian heritage.

The current location on Orchard Street in Manhattan's historic Lower East Side is the fifth iteration of the famed pizzeria, which has won numerous accolades for the quality of its pies, and some even claim that it serves NYC's best pizza, which is why it made it onto our list. If you're looking to taste one of these bubbly, cheesy marvels, be sure to go on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, which are the only days that Una is open, and make a reservation well in advance.

17. Upside Pizza

Any real New Yorker will tell you to avoid Midtown like the plague. But if you happen to find yourself there late at night with a craving for a hot, crusty slice, get in line with the other tipsy night owls at Upside Pizza to enjoy one of the best pizzas that the neighborhood has to offer. What sets Upside apart is that it uses sourdough instead of conventional pizza dough, giving it its signature zingy, slightly fermented flavor that is delicious and unique enough to claim a spot on our list.

And it's been a hit. Since opening the first location on Eighth Avenue, the Upside empire has expanded to include two other slice shops in Manhattan and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. After all, we'd expect no less from the man in charge of the operation, Anthony Falco, who cut his teeth at the famous Roberta's Pizza in Bushwick.

16. Ace's Perfect Pizza

Thin crust pizza enjoys an almost religious reverence in the eyes of some die-hard New Yorkers. But Ace's Perfect Pizza in Brooklyn is here to challenge the status quo with its Detroit-style pies. As many New Yorkers might be wondering, what even is Detroit-style pizza? It's a deep dish pie that's rectangular like a Sicilian-style pizza, but it's baked in a heavy tray that's almost like a cast-iron skillet, which gives it a signature super crusty exterior a fluffy, gooey dough that, at Ace's, plays host to a variety of creative toppings. 

For those who like it hot, try the "pepper trio" pie with jalapeños, bell peppers, sweetie drops, and chili honey, or if you're avoiding animal products, the vegan option comes with non-dairy mozzarella and basil leaves. And New Yorkers seem to be loving this spin on their favorite food; a second Ace's location just opened near Rockefeller Center. For its saucy creativity, Ace's claims the No. 16 spot on this list.

15. Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitana

It's not easy to get a pizza made in a coal oven in New York City. That's because according to New York law, you can no longer build and use new coal ovens, so the only ones still being used were built decades ago before the law took effect. Enter Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitana in Coney Island, which opened almost a century ago in 1924 and still uses a coal oven to fire crusty, cheesy pies with a distinct slightly charred flavor. And it's not just the coal oven that keeps customers coming back to this iconic eatery at the furthest reaches of Brooklyn.

Totonno's founder Anthony "Totonno" Pero got his start at Lombardi's, New York's first pizza restaurant, after emigrating from Italy in the early 20th century. And the business remains in family hands, making Totonno's "the oldest, continually run, family-owned pizzeria in America, and possibly the world," according to its website. The legendary restaurant still uses freshly made dough and imported ingredients that keep locals and tourists lining up for more.

14. Ops

Once considered a far-flung, working-class, residential neighborhood, Bushwick has made a name for itself as a foodie's paradise with new restaurants catering to its increasingly hip, young population. And Ops is a perfect example of the culinary evolution of the rapidly changing area. Located in a repurposed garage, Ops has a dim, cozy vibe with brick walls and wood tables that make you feel right at home when you're ordering a pizza pie and a glass of natural wine, which is celebrated on the restaurant's drink menu.

And less is more at Ops. The food menu is remarkably short, with a rotating cast of seasonal specials alongside classic standby pies made with fresh sourdough and cooked in a wood oven that are good enough for Ops to claim this spot on our list. The endeavor has been so successful that the owners opened a sister slice shop, Leo, in Wiliamsburg in 2019.

13. Cuts and Slices

According to the Cuts & Slices website, "it's supposed to be a vibe" when you go there. And a vibe it certainly is. Located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood in central Brooklyn, the minds behind this pizza eatery aren't afraid of getting creative when it comes to concocting their menu items. While you can always play it safe with a classic cheese or pepperoni slice, we encourage you to get adventurous when ordering at Cuts & Slices.

Jerk shrimp and chicken and waffle slices are just some of the farfetched flavors that have made their way into the pizza topping spotlight here. While it might be difficult to find oxtail at your butcher shop, you can find it in three different iterations on the menu here, inspired by the neighborhood's Jamaican heritage. Cuts & Slices even has a signature Adidas shoe with the pizzeria's insignia on the back! So lace up and make your way to Brooklyn's most adventurous slice shop, which deserves a well-earned spot on our ranking.

12. Patsy's Pizzeria

The first Patsy's Pizza opened in East Harlem in 1933 when the neighborhood was still known for its large population of Italian immigrants. Although the area has changed significantly over the last ninety years, Patsy's still sells pies made the old-fashioned way in the style of legendary founder Pasquale "Patsy" Lancieri and his wife Carmella.

According to current owner Adem Brija, Patsy's was "the first pizzeria to sell by the slice," which is clearly a concept that took off in New York. And whether you're venturing up to the original historic location up on First Avenue in Harlem or one of the other locations around the city, we recommend you stick with the classic cheese slice, which is what put this renowned pizzeria on the map, and why it's made our list.

11. Scarr's Pizza

Dimes Square is the epicenter of cool in downtown Manhattan. Among the vintage stores, hip bars, and young, espresso-sipping locals is Scarr's Pizza, which opened on Orchard Street in the heart of the neighborhood in 2016. The old-school vibe at Scarr's, complete with laminate benches and dark wood paneling, betrays the upscale bent to the Lower East Side destination, which also serves cocktails and natural wine from a bar located behind the pizza counter in the cavernous dining area.

If you come to Scarr's on a given evening, be prepared to wait in line for your slice, but when you finally get it, be equally prepared to fall in love. Scarr's mills its own grains to make a flour that you'll find at no other pizza shop in the city. And if you'd like to try your hand at replicating one of these popular pies, you can buy a bag of it for five bucks.

10. Paulie Gee's

If you ask any resident of Greenpoint, a neighborhood at the northern tip of Brooklyn, where to get the neighborhood's best pizza, chances are they'll point you in the direction of Paulie Gee's, which opened on Greenpoint Avenue in 2010 and has remained the area's premier pizza destination ever since. And once you taste one of the creative, thin crust pies that make up this long menu, you'll see why this eatery cracked our top 10.

One of the most popular pies, the devilishly named "Hellboy," is topped with soppressata and "hot honey," which is infused with chili. Another standout is the "Benny Gee," a play on eggs benedict topped with Canadian bacon and lemony hollandaise sauce. If you don't have time to wait for a table at the restaurant (it fills up quickly and they don't take reservations), you can visit the slice shop just down the road on Franklin Street to get your fix of quality creative pizza.

9. Lee's Tavern

Staten Island is known by many New Yorkers as "the forgotten borough." But the city's least populated administrative subdivision has a long history of Italian immigration that has given rise to an abundance of restaurants that boast some of the best authentic Italian dishes on offer in the Big Apple, including some of its best pizza, which can be found at Lee's Tavern.

At first sight, Lee's appears to be an average sports bar, but behind the scenes, they've been churning out the borough's most famous pies since 1940. In terms of toppings, time-tested classics like pepperoni, onion, and sausage dominate the menu, but for those in the market for something more exotic, you can order a pizza topped with crispy and crunchy fried calamari, a local favorite.

8. Chrissy's Pizza

The unique business model maintained by Chrissy's Pizza is a testament to its greatness. The extremely sought-after pies have no brick-and-mortar store to call home — rather, they're made in the kitchen of chef and owner Chris Hansell, who spent years working at many of the city's most famous pizza establishments (many of which can be found on this very list).

Instead of serving slices behind a counter, Chrissy's only takes orders via direct messages on its Instagram page, which periodically announces when pies will be available. Since these thin, crispy pies are all made by one man in one oven, Chrissy's only dishes out about 20 pizzas a month from his Bushwick apartment. So turn on your push notifications and get ready to order from this exclusive spot that claims the No. 8 rank on our list.

7. Louie & Ernie's Pizza

Louie and Ernie's Pizza in the Bronx is a world away from the hip, modern pizzerias that have sprouted up in Manhattan and Brooklyn in the last few decades. But there's a reason why this outer borough eatery is worth the visit. The humble brick building that houses this Pelham Bay pizzeria has been home to some of the city's best pizza since the restaurant relocated there in 1959 from the original East Harlem location, which opened in 1947.

There's nothing fancy about the menu at Louie and Ernie's, which offers just pies with classic toppings and calzones. With over 60 years in business, a devout following of locals and a steady stream of tourists come out from the city and beyond to get their hands on a slice of one of New York's finest slices. For its quality and simplicity, Louie and Ernie's gets the No. 7 spot on our list.

6. Rubirosa

If you're looking to get your hands on pizza with a refined flavor and quality ingredients in Manhattan's most fashionable neighborhood, head to Rubirosa. Opened in 2009 by the son of legendary Staten Island pizzaiolo Giuseppe Pappalardo, Rubirosa has cemented itself as the go-to destination for pizza lovers in SoHo, which is why it made the No. 6 spot on our list.

The pizza menu here is short, but the flavor of the pies is perfectly balanced and they're cooked with an eye for perfection. We recommend the "Vodka," which is topped with vodka sauce and fresh mozzarella, or the "Honey Pie" with fontina, soppressata, and spiced honey. But you're not the only one with your mouth watering. Reservations at Rubirosa are notoriously hard to come by unless you book in advance, and although they save room for walk-ins, the wait is often an hour or more.

5. Roberta's

When Roberta's opened its first Bushwick location in 2008, the neighborhood was still coming into its own as Brooklyn's hipster mecca. Although many other high-quality restaurants have since opened their doors in the ever-changing area, Roberta's has held its own as one of the neighborhood's finest pizzerias, which is why it made this spot on our list. Pizzas on offer here range from the classic Margherita to the "El Supremo," which comes with sausage, pepperoni, green bell peppers, and pecorino.

And you can enjoy your pies in the industrial-chic environs that reflect Bushwick's past as a center for alternative art in New York City. The Roberta's brand has been so effective that there are now locations in five cities across the United States and you can even order frozen Roberta's pies online.

4. Lombardi's

Lombardi's Pizza in the heart of lower Manhattan's Little Italy is more than just a pizzeria; It's living a monument to pizza in the United States. After all, holding the title of the first pizzeria in the country is no small achievement.

Lombardi's started selling pizza in 1905 and has been serving cheesy, thin-crust pies in the Neapolitan tradition ever since. What makes Neapolitan pizza unique is its focus on quality ingredients and a specific type of preparation that it is even recognized by UNESCO as a "Cultural Heritage of Humanity." And when you taste one of the pizzas from Lombardi's, you'll see why. For its unmatched staying power and its legacy in shaping pizza culture in New York, Lombardi's ranks No. 4 on our list.

3. L'Industrie

New Yorkers are famously hard to please, especially when it comes to pizza. But L'Industrie opened in Brooklyn's hip South Williamsburg neighborhood in 2017, it took the borough by storm and quickly became one of the most coveted pizzas in all of New York City. In fact, demand was so great that the slice shop took over the space next door and transformed it into a dining area.

And you won't find anything but pizza on the menu at L'Industrie. Standby pies like pepperoni and margherita are served alongside imaginative creations like a pizza with fig and bacon and one topped with fresh burrata. A devout dedication to high-quality ingredients and superb execution of the art of Neapolitan pizza earned it the No. 3 spot on our list.

2. L&B Spumoni Gardens

Sicilian pies reign supreme at L&B Spumoni Gardens, a restaurant in the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn. What makes Sicilian-style pizza so unique is that, unlike your typical thin-crust New York slice, there is a much higher ratio of dough to topping and the pies are cooked in large, square tins that give them their distinctive shape.

Italian immigrant Ludovico Barbati built the first iteration of the restaurant in 1938, and it has since expanded to encompass three buildings and has been run by four generations of family members. And the crispy, chewy, perfectly cheesy pies have yet to be unseated as the best Sicilian-style pizza in New York, which is why L & B Spumoni Gardens claims the second spot on our list.

1. Di Fara

With so many excellent pizzas in New York City, it's almost impossible to pick one as the Big Apple's best pie, but we've done just that. Di Fara, a pizza restaurant on Avenue J in Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood, was opened by legendary pizzaiolo Domenico De Marco in 1965, and De Marco was still churning out New York's best pizza with the help of his family until his death in 2022.

Imported Italian ingredients and a fiery hot old oven combine to make some of the best pizza in New York, and maybe the world. Don't expect a trip to Di Fara to be quick or cheap. The line often stretches around the block and a cheese pie goes for $30 (cash only), but if you're a New Yorker and you haven't had a slice from Di Fara, can you really call yourself a New Yorker?