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 !). Without further ado, these eight spectacular pizza joints in the Big Apple deliver all the right flavors.
This charming Fort Greene trattoria arrives courtesy of Matt Hyland, a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. Named for his wife, Emily, 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. The menu is concise, creative, and often curious in the best possible way. Try Asian small plates like sticky-spicy Korean-style wings and comfort classics like grass-fed, dry-aged burgers. Lip-smacking pizzas are categorized as The Reds, Pinks (vodka sauce), Whites (sauce-free), and Greens (tomatillo sauce).
Houdini Kitchen Laboratory
Located in an industrial stretch of Ridgewood, Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, this inventive pizzeria more than lives up to its creative name. Taking residence in a repurposed brewery built in the late 1800 s, 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 especially large, it feels cavernous nonetheless thanks to immensely high ceilings, a sparse arrangement of tables with views of the cement dome oven, and an ample covered terrace. This kitchen whips up a small but selective menu of salads and wood-fired pies that includes the Houdini Green—a chewy crust spread with quality sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella, creamy knobs of goat cheese and flame-kissed veggies.
Kesté Pizza & Vino
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.
Don Antonio by Starita
Don Antonio's knows its way around a pie. The namesake outpost, located in Naples, has been running strong since 1901. And if that isn't enough street cred to send you running to Antonio Starita and Roberto Caporuscio's beloved pizzeria in Times Square, then perhaps the generous buzz surrounding Caporuscio's other New York venture, Kesté, will do the trick. Don Antonio's signature pie is the Montanara Starita—a lightly-fried pizza laced with fresh house-made tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella and basil, then finished in the wood-fired oven. Oh, but who could stop there with treasures like the salsiccia e friarielli pizza to sample. This beauty arrives with sweet, crumbled fennel sausage, smoked mozzarella, bitter rapini greens and a glossy swirl of EVOO.
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.
Owner Paul Giannone, aka Paulie Gee, channeled a lifelong love of pizza into this charmingly delicious spot that feels as if it has been around forever. Rustic in appearance, the room's cool concrete and brick are warmed by the glow of the wood-burning oven imported from Naples. From here, Giannone and his son work their magic. The addictive crust is beguilingly moist and chewy, perfumed with smoke, and adroitly salted. Killer wood-fired pies dominate the menu with tempting combinations, excellent ingredients, and whimsical names. Offerings may include the Harry Belafontina-fontina, tomatoes, beefy meatballs, cremini mushrooms, and golden raisins. Vegans get equal respect here, with an added menu of vegan cheese and house-made vegan sausage.
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 fresh salads such as escarole with Gaeta olives, capers, and gorgonzola; Neapolitan-style pizza; or the day's special baked pasta.
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.