Plenty of cities passionately defend their particular style of pizza. Residents of Chicago, New Haven, Detroit, and New York all think their hometown offerings are the best. Even Miami has pizza pride. This is a win for us, the pizza eaters of the world. All pizza is good pizza, but pizza that people prepare with passion and care is the best pizza.
However… we will say that folding a wide slice of a thin New York pizza and devouring it with grease streaking our chins is a completely wonderful experience that is unique in all the world and should probably have its own UNESCO Heritage designation. If “pizza” isn’t an itinerary point every time you visit NYC, we’re just not on the same wavelength.
To make sure we always get the best pizza the five boroughs have to offer, we asked some of our favorite chefs where they go to score a good pie. They certainly delivered — from shouting out the simplest old school pizzerias to gushing over the bold newcomers to the game. If you can read through this without wanting to book a flight to NYC or — at the very least — order a pizza, you’re made of stronger stuff than us.
“This is a tricky question for sure but I’m going to vote for Pasquale Jones. They do a great Neapolitan style pizza. Simple. True to the original and unfussy. I like things that are true to what they are. Not variations or takes on. I love gin and tonics. When I order a gin and tonic, I just want a gin and tonic. I don’t want a barrel-aged gin and a housemade tonic — just the original cocktail. Pasquale Jones provides pizza with that mentality.”
Jean Delgado, Chef of Toro Toro Miami in Miami, Florida
“Luigi’s in the Upper East Side. My favorite is their chicken, bacon, jalapeno slice.”
“This is a tough question, there are so many great slices in NYC. But if I have to pick, Roberta’s has the best pizza in my opinion.”
Courtney Hellenschmidt, Chef de Cuisine at Toups Meatery in New Orleans, Louisiana
“The best pizza in New York is absolutely at Grimaldi’s. It’s the quintessential New York pizza – a Yankees-version of soul food if you will. Everything from the dough to the sauce has its own level of depth and flavor that truly makes it amazing. I’ve always said a good pizza place can be judged solely by their plain cheese pizza, and Grimaldi’s is it. The wonderful dough base and fresh and unique toppings bring it to another level. I like to shake it up and get capers, eggplant with fresh garlic and ricotta.”
Mike Simmons, Chef and Partner of Café Marie-Jeanne in Chicago, Illinois
“I’ve been a couple of times to a place in Bushwick called Ops. A small, sea green-tiled pizza spot with a killer vermouth selection, bad ass wine list and definitely the best pizza I’ve had in my life. Perfect naturally-leavened crusts baked in a wood-fired oven and topped with super good produce, cheese, and olive oils. Start with a vermouth and soda, then get a square pie (tomato and basil and the crust is so caramelized and crispy with the flavors of toasted wheat and honey), or a Juno (topped with broccoli rabe, potatoes and ricotta salata. Beg and they’ll let you put anchovies on top.) Ask for extra chili oil and trust the EXTREMELY friendly and knowledgeable service staff to help you pick delicious wines to pair. And you gotta get the buttered beans.”
“Lucali serves not only the best pizza in New York but the best pizza ever! They don’t have refrigeration. Every ingredient is hand-picked in the morning and cooked until they run out. Who does that?! Worth the wait and worth the experience.”
Una Pizza Napoletana
“Una Pizza Napoletana on the Lower East Side. Whenever I visit NYC, I always try to make time to grab one of their pies.”
Ian Maschal, Chef de Cuisine of Eventide Fenway in Boston, Massachusetts
“New York City pizza is highly overrated in my opinion, there’s not enough going on in that cardboard crust. If I had to pick one, it would be Roberta’s. But the best pizza I have had this year was at Robottini’s.”
Lucali, Prince St. Pizza, and Roberta’s
Nini Nguyen, Culinary Director of Cook Space in Brooklyn, NY
“The best pizza in New York City depends on what you are looking for. If you are sitting down with a bottle of wine, I would like Lucali in Brooklyn. If you want a grandma slice, it is hands down Prince St. Pizza with their pepperoni. But if you want Neapolitan style pizza with a hipster vibe, I absolutely love Roberta’s bee sting pizza. There is good pizza everywhere in New York but these are my favorite.”
John’s of Bleeker Street and Patsy’s Pizzeria
View this post on Instagram
our #prosciuttopizza is always the #staroftheshow 🍕 🍕 🍕 * * * * * * * * #wow #omg #patsyspizza #pizza #prosciutto #toppings #pizzalover #pizzagram #🍕 #nycfoodie #foodbeast #foodiegram #instapizza #cravings #feastagram #igdaily #forkyeah #joyzofeating #newforkcity #basicaf
Chef Robin Miller, Star of Bluprint’s Real Life Kitchen
“I’m torn between John’s of Bleecker Street and Patsy’s. Both were super close to my Greenwich Village apartment. Patsy’s was two blocks in one direction and John’s was two blocks in the other direction! Clearly, I had my fair share of amazing slices.”