Where To Get Real New York Pizza, In New York
Call it what you want; a religion, an institution, a cornerstone of all that is New York City. Either way, pizza is a priority player in what makes this city so grand. Go to anytown U.S.A, Canada, or perhaps any major metropolitan city in the world and you will find some "Mom & Pop" shop or "30 Minutes or Less!" franchise claiming to have real NYC style pizza. There is a very clear reason for that. In a debatable (not to New Yorkers) comparison, either New York or Chicago is known to hold the title of the best and authentic to their city style pizza. Italy you say? Everyone knows you actually can't find great pizza (correction: pizza we're accustomed to) in "The Boot", unless we're talking about Little Italy here in New York. You should also notice that unlike every other list on this site, no matter the city, it is probably the first one not to include "Top" or "Best" at the beginning of the sentence, instead opting for the intro of "Where To Get Real New York Pizza, In New York". There is a very clear reason for that too. Pizza, as we're sure you all know, is a very personal and subjective choice for people. We would be audacious to lay claim as to which is the actual "best" and rank them from 1 to 5 without expecting any serious backlash from local, and very passionate, pizza parlor aficionodos. We would very much like to return to New York again some day soon, unharmed.
32 Spring Street, Little Italy, New York
How many pizzerias can say they've gone over a hundred years strong? Lombardi's was licensed by the City of New York in 1905, becoming the first pizza parlor in North America, and since that time has been consistently ranked as serving one of, if not the, best pizza in the nation or evenly more boldly, the planet. That distinction does not go without time tested merit.
There is no replacing a coal fired pizza oven, it creates a taste that cannot be duplicated, and Lombardi's oven is about as renowned as its name. Sure the lines are long but everyone knows that is a testament to the quality. Besides, the service is fast and efficient, so don't slow the line down by attempting to chit chat at the counter. You've got hungry New Yorkers standing behind you. Be smart.
Photo Caption: THIS is how you bake a REAL pizza!
211 W 43rd Street, Midtown Manhattan, NYC (between Broadway and Eight Avenue)
A Neapolitan Old World Brick Pizza Oven is Bella Vita's claim to why their Naples style pizza is a pillar in a city known for superior slices. Stringent day to day "operational control" ensures that quality and is never overlooked at Bella Vita. Every single sauce is homemade from scratch as is the mozzarella that coats these magnificent culinary creations and the imported San Merzano tomatoes accent the flavor perfectly. "B" list celebrities frequent the establishment on a regular basis which actually says something about Bella Vita. "B" listers are closer to "real people" than "A" listers, and Bella Vita is a real people pizzeria.
193 Bleecker St, Downtown, New York
Wood burning brick oven. Now this is starting to get confusing. Everyone claims their pizza is the best because of the oven they use and it is in fact "gospel" that the oven is a true testament to the taste that accompanies the pizza. It all comes down to personal preference. Monster Pizza is fairly new to the game (founded in 2009), but what it lacks in history it makes up for in size and flavor. In addition, they veer off of the traditional path somewhat by offering healthier (relatively of course) alternatives by using low fat ingredients to make their fresh tasting pizzas. They even offer a caviar (yes, you are reading correctly) covered pizza pie, which is either an exciting new alternative or blasphemy depending on your school of thought on the topic. Either way, Monster Pizza is a refreshing addition to the pizza based landscape of New York City.
19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York
We couldn't put together this list without throwing in a Brooklyn establishment, and Grimaldi's Pizzeria is a community landmark frequented by everyone with a serious penchant for serious NYC pizza. As with Lombardi's, Grimaldi is a firm believer in the dying art of the coal burning brick oven in preparing authentic New York style pizza. Frank Sinatra visited Grimaldi's often in his day as does former mayor Guiliani, dare you argue with those two?
Famous Ray's Pizza
Famous Ray's Pizza is synonymous with New York City Pizza. Although it is not as heralded by locals, visitors, or reviewing periodicals as much as one may think, it is still a must visits as much as you have to see Time's Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty and The Empire State Building. It's just what you do when you come to NYC.
But now for the confusing part. There are dozens of variations of Famous Ray's Pizza, either with identical names or slight adjustments made to each; Famous Ray's Pizza, Famous Original Ray's Pizza, World Famous Original Ray's Pizza, and even a Not Original Ray's Pizza. Every one claims to be the original or the best of the crew and thousands of reviews will have your head spinning as to which is the go-to favorite. This is partly why "Ray's" rarely makes Top 5 lists for Best Pizza in New York. Who wants to do all that leg work and research? We do, sort of. While we didn't track down each and every one and sample each and every pizza, we took an informal survey of the most accurate public opinion we could find; the average New Yorker on the street (and online) and picked their brains on which "Ray" monikered pizzeria was legit. We narrowed it down to two locations:
Famous Ray's Pizza - Greenwich Village (on the above map and pictured on the left)
465 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Avenue at 11th Street, Greenwich Village, NYC (between 11th and 12th street)
This one is probably the most visited and the pizza is considered to be the best amongst all Ray's Pizza joints
Ray's Pizza - Little Italy
27 Prince Street at the northern end of Little Italy, Manhattan, NYC
This one is the true original (allegedly), founded in 1959 by Ralph Cuomo, a made man (allegedly) of the Lucchese Crime Family. With that being said, outside of our recommendation to visit this historical pizzeria, we are not at liberty to discuss this location any further...