Are you a pizza aficionado on the hunt for the perfect slice in the heart of New York City? Look no further. Embark on a delectable journey with us as we uncover the city's top pizzerias, serving up slices of heaven that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more. From traditional thin crusts to oven-fired Neapolitan masterpieces, we've scoured the streets to bring you an insider's guide to NYC's most beloved pizza joints.
History of Pizza in New York City
The history of pizza in New York City is a rich tapestry woven by waves of Italian immigrants who brought their culinary traditions to the bustling streets of the city. The first pizzeria in America, Lombardi's, opened its doors in Manhattan in 1905, serving up the iconic Neapolitan-style pies that would come to define New York's pizza culture. Over the decades, as the city evolved (read more), so did its pizza, giving rise to the classic New York slice, known for its thin, foldable crust and generous layer of gooey mozzarella.
The Best Traditional Pizzerias in NYC
When it comes to traditional New York-style pizza, a few iconic pizzerias stand out as must-visit destinations for both locals and tourists.
Topping the list is, of course, Lombardi's, the birthplace of American pizza, where you can savor the original coal-fired pies that have remained virtually unchanged for over a century. Another legendary spot is John's of Bleecker Street, known for its no-nonsense approach to pizza, offering a perfect balance of crispy crust, tangy tomato sauce, and gooey cheese.
Di Fara Pizza
If you find yourself in Brooklyn, a visit to Di Fara Pizza is a pilgrimage every pizza enthusiast should make. Here, the legendary pizzaiolo, Dom DeMarco, meticulously crafts each pie by hand, using the freshest ingredients and a time-honored technique that has earned him a cult following.
Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano
For a taste of old-school charm, head to Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano in Coney Island, where you can enjoy classic, no-frills pizza in a storied setting that harks back to the golden age of New York City.
Unique and Creative Pizza Creations in NYC
While the classics will always have a special place in the hearts of pizza purists, New York City's pizza scene is also a hotbed of innovation, where chefs push the boundaries of traditional pizza-making to create bold and unexpected flavor combinations:
- At Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint, you can taste the creative genius of owner Paul Giannone, who has mastered the art of blending unconventional toppings with artisanal wood-fired crusts.
- For those with a penchant for culinary adventure, Roberta's in Bushwick is a playground of avant-garde pizza experimentation, where you might encounter unexpected ingredients like guanciale, taleggio, or even ramps, depending on the seasonal menu.
- For a taste of Japanese-Italian fusion, head to Ribalta in Union Square, where the chefs expertly marry the precision of Neapolitan pizza-making with the delicate flavors of Japanese cuisine.
Must-Try Pizza Slices in Different Neighborhoods
As you traverse the diverse neighborhoods of New York City, each with its own distinct character and culinary identity, you'll encounter an array of pizzerias offering unique slices that reflect the spirit of their surroundings. In the historic neighborhood of Little Italy, you can sample the quintessential New York slice at Sal's Pizzeria, where the no-frills, foldable slices are a testament to the neighborhood's enduring Italian-American heritage.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Pizza Options in NYC
For those with dietary restrictions or ethical considerations, New York City's pizza scene has embraced the trend of offering vegan and gluten-free options, ensuring that everyone can partake in the joy of a good slice. At Screamer's Pizzeria in Greenpoint, vegans and non-vegans alike can revel in the plant-based magic of pizzas adorned with house-made cashew mozzarella, seitan sausage, and an array of vibrant vegetables that celebrate the abundance of nature.
Pizza Events and Festivals in NYC
In a city as passionate about pizza as New York, it's no surprise that there are numerous events and festivals dedicated to celebrating the beloved dish. The New York Pizza Festival held annually in the Bronx, brings together pizzerias from around the world, offering attendees the chance to sample a wide variety of styles and flavors, from the traditional to the avant-garde.
For those with a competitive spirit, the annual International Pizza Expo in Atlantic City is a must-visit, where pizzaiolos from across the globe showcase their skills in pizza-making competitions, workshops, and tastings, making it a paradise for pizza enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.
As we come to the end of our ultimate pizza lover's guide to New York City, we hope you've been inspired to embark on your own epicurean adventure through the city's vibrant and diverse pizza scene. Whether you're drawn to the timeless allure of traditional pizzerias or eager to explore the cutting-edge creativity of modern pizza makers, New York City offers a slice for every palate and a story behind every pie.