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The Best Pizza in NYC

December 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Food

1. Di Fara Pizza

Domenico De Marco is the master of pizza-making. Di Fara Pizza thrives based on the mouthwatering flavor of each bite of his fresh pies. The unorganized, long lines are a worthwhile penance to bask in the joy that comes when Mr. De Marco uses a scissor to chop fresh basil onto your searing pie. For the ultimate ecstasy, order a pie with porcini mushrooms. Do note that take-out is the best option.

2. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is perfect for travelers arriving to New York City for the first time. Just take a stroll, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, across the historic Brooklyn Bridge and you’ll be moments away from waiting in line for one of the best coal-oven pies in the world. Grimaldi’s has fresh ingredients and a level of consistency that is unrivaled. Be prepared to sit in close proximity to your fellow pizza lovers.
grimaldis-pizza-nyc.jpg Grimaldi’s ยฉ Eric Konon

3. Totonno’s Pizzeria

This Coney Island institution has fans lining up to partake in a ritual of devouring its coal-oven masterpieces. The decor is simple, but the taste of Totonno’s pies is divine. Don’t be surprised to see a group of teenagers polish of a pie–each. Do note that the pizzeria closes once the fresh dough runs out for that night.

4. Famous Joe’s Pizza

This award-winning institution is one of the few exceptional pizzerias to offer slices. Though the decor and seating aren’t inviting, the mozzarella oozes off the thin-slices of this crowd-pleaser. This is the perfect place for an individual dropping in for a couple of slices or the backpacker who wants a quick bite of NYC’s best without denting their wallet.

5. John’s Pizzeria

The carved-wooden booths of this institution house hundreds of loyal, passionate clients who order pies at this no-slice haven. Long lines develop before lunch and dinner to taste John’s scrumptious, thin-crusted pies. One of several coal-fired pizzerias on the list, John’s customers always leave satiated.

6. Lombardi’s Pizza
lombardis-pizza-nyc.jpg Lombardi’s ยฉ Robyn Lee

Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria in the United States. The original establishment opened its doors in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi. Today, Lombardi’s continues to make exceptional pies for its eagerly awaiting patrons. This cash only establishment creates the perfect crispy crust to go along with the aura of its history.

7. Una Pizza Napolitana *Closed

The most unique choice on the list is this Anthony Mangieri pizzeria modeled after the local Italian-style with wood-fired, brick oven pizza. With a limited menu of four pies, Una Pizza Napolitana relies upon fresh ingredients such as mozzarella di bufalo and San Marzano tomatoes to keep its customers returning.

8. Ottimo Restaurant

Ottimo is the perfect place for a group of friends who want to select from a variety of Italian fare. After the meal, those who didn’t try the Neapolitan-style pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella will be wondering if they made the best choice. Unlike most of places on the list, Ottimo has a restaurant ambiance with sufficient and comfortable seating.

Read about the best chocolate in NYC , the hundreds of free things to do in NYC , or some of the best authentic foods around the world based on our reader feedback.
gennaroeditor.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.



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54 Responses to “The Best Pizza in NYC”
  1. Chris says:

    Love the list. I have to agree on Di Fara and Grimaldi’s as the top stops. Both deliver a great pie. I would add Patsy’s to that list. It’s right up there with Lombardi’s and Totonno’s.

  2. Jess says:

    I hear mixed reviews about Una Pizza Napoletana. Definately want to check it out. Rest of the list is looking really solid.

  3. T says:


    I’d go with Grimaldi’s @ #1.

  4. Gennaro says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    I definitely considered Patsy’s. In the end, I went with a top 8 instead of adding two in order to artificially fill out a list. Patsy’s would have been on a longer list, but the others were ultimately my recommendation.

  5. LocalApple says:

    I find Gramaldi’s to be over rated, I prefer Joes Pizza over grimaldi’s

  6. lapp says:

    I have to disagree with some of these places man. First off, you missed Spumoni Gardens pizza in Brooklyn, which is easily in the top 2 of this list. Una Pizza Napoletana was a HUGE let down as you can see by our review, and should not be on this list. You should also have Arturos in lower manhattan on your list!


  7. Gennaro says:

    @LocalApple and lapp.

    Thanks for the input. The best part of having a list is the ability to throw out our favorites and knock off a few that disappointed us on the list. Let us know if there are any other changes you’d make.

  8. AnnaE says:

    I agree with not including Patsy’s – but it’s a personal preference, I never liked their pizza. And Grimaldi’s – purely orgasmic (as far as pizza goes, that it).

    How about reviewing kosher delis next? – Now, go ahead, make me homesick! LOL!

  9. Gennaro says:

    @ AnnaE

    It’s coming. It’s coming ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. jen laceda says:

    Yum…they all look like the slices you find in Napoli! Sadly, I’ve only tried John’s Pizza. Next time I’m in NYC, I shall try to get to the other 4. Do you have any suggestions for the best pizzas in Napoli?

  11. Gennaro says:

    @jen laceda

    Trianon da Ciro is one of the many wonderful pizzerias in Napoli.

  12. The best place I like for Pizza is Grimaldiโ€™s Pizzeria. The pizza’s there are awesome. Well honestly speaking I like pizza’s at all the places included in the post..:p

  13. Gennaro says:


    You’ll have no trouble finding people who agree with you. Thanks for the comment and welcome aboard.

  14. Katie Parla says:

    Una Pizza Napoletana gets points for their crust with manages to mimic the texture, consistency and thickness of a Neapolitan crust. It fails in several ways: the center of the pizza is too thick. I want the almost translucent dough of Starita and Di Matteo. Also, their pizzas cost $21. A Napoli, 4 euros. Its dough. And marginally palatable mozzarella. Get real. And $10 for a glass of second rate wine. If the name “una pizza napoletana” wasnt crafted to evoke the ideas authenticity and simplicity, then I would have no qualms. But since it was, then I expect both.

  15. Gennaro says:

    @Katie Parla

    Una Pizza’s best trait is certainly it’s marketing: until the dough runs out, the aura of authenticity, and the wood-fired, brick oven. It definately falls way short of the best pizza from Napoli like Trianon da Ciro, but it does provide something that none of the others on the list do…passion on both sides ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’d say that a local pizza-lover needs to try it at some point. For a visitor, I’d skip it in favor of Di Fara, Grimaldi, or Totonno.

    Loved your selections, by the way. Anyone planning a trip to Napoli should check out Katie’s links.

  16. Katie Parla says:

    Gonna check out Grimaldi’s next week!

  17. Gennaro says:

    @Katie Parla

    Do come back with a review of Grimaldi’s


    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Sire says:

    Being of Italian origin I love my pizza and pasta, the thing is that I have heard that the best pizza, naturally, comes from Italy. The best pizza I have ever had was made by a Roman who had a pizza bar in a neighborhood nearby. Where most pizzas are made in electric ovens this guy used a wood oven. I noticed that he didn’t put the cheese until the cooking cycle had almost finished and when I asked him about it he told me that it was because he didn’t want to cook the cheese, just melt it. It was magnificent.

    Say, you should really install a subscribe to comment plugin so that I can subscribe to those posts I comment to so I can keep track of what is going on. Who knows I may have something else to say ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Gennaro says:


    The best eateries are often little corner spots in neighborhoods few travelers venture into. Doesn’t surprise me that you found some of the best pizza in a Roman neighborhood. I’ve had quite a few great slices myself. Often in a hole-in-the-wall type shop.

    I’ll check out that plug-in. Thanks for the thought. Currently using the general comment rss, but certainly one for each specific post would make sense for commenters.

  20. Sire says:

    My mistake, the pizzeria wasn’t in Rome, it was in the South Australian city of Salisbury, and the Pizza maker was Roman.

  21. Gennaro says:


    Even better. Lots of Italians Down Under.

  22. Sire says:

    We do have our fair share. I remember whilst growing up, being of Italian decent, how we weren’t all that well liked and people used to continually tease me, about my heritage and everything that went with it, including the food. Now, it doesn’t matter where you go there are more Aussies in the Italian restaurants than Italians.

  23. Gennaro says:


    Great to hear about the turn-around in attitudes. At least, to some degree. How long can anyone deny themselves that Italian cuisine anyway? It was like that in the States too before WWII. Then it turned around. Fine since then.

  24. Sire says:

    Oh, we still have some lingering prejudice but fortunately they are in the minority.

  25. Gennaro says:


    There are always a few in every country. Italians have nothing to prove. They done their fair share in terms of contributions: art (Michelangelo, Da Vinci), science (Volta, Marconi), fashion (Gucci, Prada), autos (Ferrari), politics (Machiavelli), and certainly tasty cuisine.

  26. Sire says:

    I have no doubt at all of that Genarro, but the only thing that lengthens the time this will take is the way some parents pass on their attitudes to their children, but you are right the type in that link are slowly disappearing.

  27. Suzy says:

    Agree with Chris about Patsy’s. Love it. Though I admit it’s pretty similar in terms of level of quality with Lombardi’s and John’s. Franny’s is fairly new and worth a shot. High quality. Nice place too sit and eat too.

    Haven’t been to Di Fara, but I hear it’s really good. Heard there isn’t much seating.

  28. Tim says:

    Totonno’s or Grimaldi’s would be my favorite. They’re actually pretty similar in taste. I liked Una Pizza too. Not as much as the other two, but I got a good pie there. Too small though for the price.

  29. Gennaro says:


    Franny’s is a solid choice. Had a nice pie there.


    Can’t argue with your thoughts. Similar to mine on all three places.

  30. Tina says:

    I’m so jealous that you have all those options for pizza! The photograph of the pizza at Grimaldi’s makes my mouth water. Here in Buenos Aires it is so hard to find good pizza, it’s more like a mountain of bad cheese over a thick crust. Thank goodness I have access to a wood-burning oven at my boyfriend’s house. It keeps me surviving. Now if I could just find real mozz…
    Thanks for the comment on my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Gennaro says:


    Nothing like a great slice of pizza especially from a coal or wood oven. Surprised Buenos Aires doesn’t have a few great spots. Lots of Italian immigrants over the years. Hoping you find that mozzarella. An ingredient that’s a key component.

  32. Tina says:

    Oh Gennaro, the Italian food in Buenos Aires non e’ come in Italia… I think the recipes fell off the boat on the way over. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Granted, these were men immigrating here alone… but the ingredients here in general are almost perfect so COOKING Italian is easy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    At least the helado (gelato) here is perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Gennaro says:


    Fell of the boat. That’s hilarious. I guess it’s best to stick with the local cuisine and that tasty helado.

  34. Dan marino says:

    Totonno’s is my first choice!

  35. Gennaro says:

    @Dan Marino

    Love Totonno’s too. Hopefully the one in Brooklyn will be up and running too. The pizzeria went up in flames a few weeks ago.

  36. Dan marino says:

    Totonno’s supposed to be reopening in a month – my fingers are crossed

  37. Gennaro says:

    @Dan Marino

    Spoke with some of the people with the pizzeria and they said it would be back before the Brooklyn Cyclone season starts.

  38. DesignTies says:

    I LOVE PIZZA!!!! I still haven’t found a really good pizza place around here. NYC is just a bit too far to go for a pizza, but man, those pizzas you described sound good!!! I could go for a slice (or two or five!!) right now!!!


  39. Puna says:

    Why do you make me so hungry?

  40. Gennaro says:


    I love pizza too. Where are you located? Perhaps, I can recommend a spot.


    Eating is one of life’s joys ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. John H says:

    Love Di Fara! Nice to see that Totonno’s re-opened recently after the fire. I would add Lucali’s and Motorino to the list of best pizza in NYC.

  42. Ayngelina says:

    What a delicious post. Bookmarked for future visits to NY.

  43. Gennaro says:

    @John H – Lucali and Motorino are both worthy of the best pizza in New York City list. No Doubt. Maybe the next go around.

    @Ayngelina – Thanks.

  44. Great list! The first time I went to Grimaldi’s I prepared myself to be let down because of all the hype… but this pizza lived up to every article that ever mentioned its heavenly pizza. I’m also partial to Arturo’s, but Grimaldi’s continues to impress every time I go.


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    Best Pizza In NYC…

    Domenico De Marco is the master of pizza-making. Di Fara Pizza thrives based on the mouthwatering flavor of each bite of his fresh pies….

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