New York City is famous for its thin crust, hand-tossed pizza with a light layer of tomato sauce and topped with dry, grated mozzarella cheese. In 1905, Lombardi’s, founded by Gennaro Lombardi in Little Italy, became the first American pizzeria, followed by Totonno’s in Coney Island, John’s in the West Village and Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem. Few will argue that New York serves unbeatable Neapolitan-style pizza, though you may find outstanding New York-style pizza in New Jersey or famously New Haven, CT. But for those in Manhattan, where the food options are boundless, knowing where to go to sample a slice is a must. The following are our top choices:
Patsy’s in East Harlem, a traditional coal-oven pizzeria opened by Pasquale "Patsy" Lanceri in 1933, serves no-frills classic thin crust pizza, either as a pie or as a slice at the counter. Considered the most affordable pie in the city, Patsy’s pizzas are simply topped with classic tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. The only coal-oven pizzeria in New York that sells by the slice, Patsy’s, which also has locations in Greenwich Village and University Place, was famously a favorite of Frank Sinatra’s. Specialties include the Verdura with tomato sauce, roasted pepper, basil, portobello mushrooms and grated mozzarella, and the Patsy's Pizza alla Vodka with a creamy vodka sauce and grated mozzarella. The shop also specializes in white pizzas topped with ricotta and mozzarella. For those traveling from Midtown, take the 6 Train to 116th Street and walk a few blocks. It’s well worth the trip.
Zero Otto Nove
Zero Otto Nove, next to the Flatiron Building, serves Neapolitan-style pies that are sweet and crispy. Named after owner Roberto Paciullo's Salerno area code, the pizzeria brings the flavors of his hometown to Manhattan. The wood-burning brick oven ensures perfectly crisp thin-crust pies, which only use tomatoes from Italy’s San Marzano region. Favorites include La Carminuccio with tomato sauce, pancetta, grated cheese, basil and spices, Patate Salsiccia e Provola with sliced potatoes, sausage and smoked mozzarella, La San Matteo with fresh mozzarella, sausage and broccoli rabe, and La Riccardo with butternut squash puree, smoked mozzarella, and spicy pancetta. The eatery also features an extensive wine list with wines from across Italy.
Runner-Up: For those looking for a Sicilian rather than a Neapolitan-style slice, we recommend Prince Street Pizza in Nolita, which serves Detroit-style Sicilian and grandma square slices. A favorite is the Spicy Spring pizza with fra diavolo, fresh mozzarella, and crispy pepperoni, and the vodka pizza. Also, the aptly-named Prince Perfection, also known as an upside-down slice, is a square slice topped first with mozzarella and then a zesty sauce. Located in a posh neighborhood filled with chic boutiques and sit-down cafés, Prince Street stands out for its casual, unpretentious style.