Eating our way through New York’s best pizza slices
Probably the best 12 inches of all time...
There’s quite literally something in New York City’s water that gives its iconic fast food go-to that tasty base and guarantees the Big Apple always reigns supreme when it comes to that simple slice. Service with a smile isn’t always a given, but you can understand why New Yorkers are such fierce defenders of their thin-crust versions of this Italian-American staple.
Whether you’re after a quick fix on your way home from a night out in the East Village or seeking a vibe that’s a little more refined for date night downtown, we’ve got the 411 on the pizza pies, big and cheesy enough to keep you covered in the 212.
More famous for its slices than for being Peter Parker’s former place of work in Spiderman 2, Joe’s Pizza really is a Greenwich Village institution. No trip to NY would be complete without a taste of the pizza that’s constantly being heralded as the city’s best – what’s more, you can spend hours scouring the walls for your favourite celebrities. It’ll cost you around $3 for a plain cheese and a little more for toppings – you might want to grab two, because although Joe’s has more than enough experience (44 years of it, in fact) in quickly churning out fresh pies for hungry Manhattanites, the queue is often out the door on a weekend night!
Address: 4 locations (3 in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn). Carmine Street is the original, but the 14th Street joint is easier to reach for most, especially East Village revellers.
The Financial District might not be your first choice in the city for a meal out, but Adrienne’s Pizzabar is the crowning jewel of FiDi’s Stone Street, a charming cobbled pedestrian alley that could give certain London locations a run for their money. Head down for lunch and sit outside or in – weather permitting, of course – and sip a Peroni (or a pitcher of Margarita) while you wait to be served the best square pie you’ve ever tasted. You’ll probably need to share, but we wouldn’t blame you if you decided to take your leftovers home instead – an Old Fashioned pie will set you back $25.
Address: 54 Stone St. (Financial District)
Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
You might think $6 for one slice of pizza is extortionate, but trust us – that slice is more than sufficient for dinner. Probably bigger than your head, it’s impossible for even the daintiest of eaters to handle an Artichoke slice with decorum: a creamy, cheesy blend of artichoke hearts and spinach on a thicker, crunchy base will leave you completely satisfied, as will the friendly vibe in-store – failsafe recipes and good-humoured staff are what Artichoke has really nailed despite its rapid expansion since it was established in 2014. Make sure you’ve got cash on you and prepare to use a lot of napkins.
Address: 9 locations across NYC to choose from. We opt for the East Village standing only basement haunt for a late night bite or the Chelsea restaurant, where you can sit in or take your slice to the nearby High Line on a nice day.
99¢ Fresh Pizza
It does what it says on the tin (although don’t worry, there are no tins involved – you can see the pizzas come straight out of the oven in front of you). Not only is it incredible value, but you’ll always be politely served at one of 99¢ Fresh Pizza’s barebones establishments. What makes the best dollar slice is entirely subjective, but our favourite is nestled in between 45th and 46th Street on Lexington Avenue. It’s not as greasy as some of the others you’ll find and there are condiments galore – plus a whole pie will leave your pockets a mere $8 lighter. If you’re in a hurry and on the other side of town, 2Bros is also very popular and highly reliable and boasts 9 locations across Manhattan.
Address: Various locations (Manhattan and Brooklyn)
Description: Definitely a more upscale option, visit the California-inspired Pizza Beach for a family-friendly sit-down dinner and something a little different (also healthier). Sure, the folks on the other side of the continent aren’t necessarily well-known for their pizza, but the 12 options offered here, starting at $16, make use of super fresh and innovative ingredients (including brussels sprouts – don’t knock the Positano until you’ve tried it). Inside, you’ll find cool, surf-style décor complete with a beach bar serving excellent cocktails and a menu that also includes gluten-free bases and other non-pizza options for those who aren’t fans – though they might be after a visit to PB.
Address: Upper East Side: 1426 3rd Ave. / Lower East Side: 167 Orchard St.
You can’t beat Roberta’s for a moreish, wood-fired personal pizza. With crisp thin crusts and a variety of amusingly-named toppings (try the Jon Bon Chovy), this Brooklyn favourite has also opened up a couple of locations in Manhattan for those lunch hours where nothing but a deliciously light and tangy Bee Sting will cut it. It’s worth the trip to the original establishment, though, whose graffiti-marked entrance and industrial-style settings will give you a true taste of East Williamsburg. They’ve also got an extensive drinks menu, so settle in and share a few different creations before you inevitably head back for lunch the next day.
Address: 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn / 230 Park Ave. / 570 Lexington Ave.
If you’re after a casual lunchtime snack downtown, Rubirosa should be your first choice (the Vodka slice is notoriously tasty). Their classic 50-year-old recipe coupled with a rustic wooden bar space also mean that it’s perfect for the evening, where this cosy Nolita space makes for an excellent casual yet hip date night spot – though be warned, you might have to wait your turn for a table. The drinks menu is just as extensive as its offerings of Italian fare, but you really should come for the pizza. One of their aesthetically pleasing pies – like the Tie Dye, all freshly made in-house – will set you back $20 to $30, and the fun and friendly vibe will be a hit with anyone who has the privilege of accompanying you.
Address: 235 Mulberry St. (Nolita, Downtown Manhattan)
We really can’t argue with Patsy’s original coal oven pizza, which has been a neighbourhood favourite since 1933, and will cost you only $12 for a pie. Of course, there’s also a good range of typical combination specialty pizzas, which you can order in half portions. Patsy’s simple, family-style spot is as authentic as it gets: as well as pizza, they’ll serve you classic Italian-American dishes in a traditional interior to match. Patsy’s might have its fair share of copycats throughout NYC, but it’s well worth the trip up to East Harlem to sample their totally delicious pies.
Address: 2287 1st Avenue (East Harlem)
Do us a favour and head directly for the white pizza at Lombardi’s, which will be the best sauce-free slice you’ve ever had. Unfortunately, the option for a single slice doesn’t exist here anymore and a 12 inch small will be $23.50, but you can save by taking it to go. However, that means you’ll miss out on the relaxed atmosphere of the dining room at America’s first pizzeria, which is dimly lit, has a coal oven that dates back to 1905 and includes red-and-white checked tablecloths. It’s another cash only joint, so make sure you come prepared.
Address: 32 Spring Street (Little Italy/Nolita) / 290 8th Avenue (Chelsea)
Numero 28 Pizzeria
With a mouth-watering range of red, white and specialty wood-fired pizzas, Numero 28 is your go-to for an affordable yet highly Instagrammable dinner. Served on classic wooden boards the size of a small child, you can mix and match your authentic Italian toppings to create a truly impressive feast. There’s usually space to spread out and the friendly staff also let you bring your own wine for $10 per person, making it great for large groups and birthdays especially. What’s more, despite having grown into a well-established restaurant brand, each Numero 28 location has its own individual vibe and décor while never skipping on quality.
Address: Various locations (Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens). We like the Upper West Side for a homely spot slightly further away from the hustle and bustle, just 2 blocks from Central Park.
No matter how full this Brooklyn institution gets, it seems there’s always room for one more at Vinnie’s. Their no-nonsense attitude and ever-changing variety of inventive and flavourful slices will always deliver, which will be attested to by tourists and locals alike. You can grab your simple cheese (around $3) or try something more adventurous from the daily specials boards (which are slightly costlier but will impress you with their creative puns and wild toppings) and take to the street to people watch. A straightforward staple, Vinnie’s won’t disappoint you nor will it break the bank – you’re also sure to meet some interesting neighbourhood characters! It’s cash only but they’ve got ATM inside in case you forget.
Address: 48 Bedford Ave (between 8th St & 9th St) / 253 Nassau Ave (at Kingsland Ave)
A true tourist wouldn’t dream of leaving New York without catching a glimpse of Lady Liberty, and wouldn’t you rather take the FREE Staten Island Ferry past it and spend all the $$$ you’ve saved on a tour boat on pizza instead? Thought so. Denino’s is well worth the journey to the Fifth Borough, where you’ll be treated like a member of the family, brush up on your local history (they go back to 1937) and tuck in to a legendary M.O.R. (meatball, onion and ricotta) pizza. With classic cheese pies made fresh without the Manhattan price tag – just $15.50 – you can expect a simple and no-frills family restaurant experience. Denino’s certainly delivers on taste – something they are fiercely proud of, though they do now also offer a gluten-free crust.
Address: 524 Port Richmond Ave., Staten Island, NY 10302
Prince St. Pizza
ATTENTION PEPPERONI LOVERS – here at Prince St. Pizza you will find the slice of your dreams for just $4.50. With pizzas affectionately named after the surrounding streets, the Spicy Spring is a square smothered in more than enough pepperoni cups to sate any meat-lover who finds themselves hungry on the streets of downtown. The A-list clientele spanning the walls doesn’t match up to Joe’s and you should prepare to wait in line, but rest assured you won’t regret it after a bite of Prince St.’s crispy base – although if you’re feeling really lazy, you can always get a full pie delivered to your door.
Address: 27 Prince St. (Nolita)
By Becky Schofield