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If you’re reading this, you’re on the same high-stakes quest as I am. And what might that be? Finding the best pizza in New York, of course! But not just any pizza. We’re talking about the traditional, mouthwatering, heart-stoppingly delicious Neapolitan pizza. The kind that transports you straight to the bustling pizzerias of Naples with every bite you take.
New York City, the concrete jungle where foodie dreams are made, is a known haven for pizza lovers. From dollar slices on street corners to gourmet pies in high-end restaurants, the Big Apple has it all. But amidst this pizza paradise, the real question is: where can you find the best Neapolitan pizza?
As a seasoned New Yorker and self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur, I’ve embarked on a quest to find the answer. I’ve scoured the city, from Little Italy to the trendy nooks of Brooklyn, tasting, judging, and savoring every Neapolitan pie that crossed my path. Join me on this gastronomical adventure, and let’s find the best Neapolitan pizza NYC offers!
Before we dive into our quest, let’s first understand what Neapolitan pizza is. Originating from Naples, Italy, Neapolitan pizza, also known as Naples-style pizza, is the godfather of all pizzas. Its history traces back to the 18th century, and UNESCO recognizes it as an intangible cultural heritage!
Authentic Neapolitan pizza has specific characteristics. The dough is made from type 00 wheat flour, natural Neapolitan or brewer’s yeast, water, and sea salt. It’s hand-kneaded and must not exceed 3mm in thickness. The toppings include raw, pureed San Marzano tomatoes from the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius, mozzarella di bufala from Campania, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. The pizza is then cooked at a high temperature in a wood-fired oven.
The result is a pizza with a soft, thin, and slightly charred crust topped with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Each bite offers a perfect harmony of flavors, a culinary symphony that’ll make your taste buds dance joyfully. And that, my friends, is the Neapolitan pizza we’re hunting for!
Now that we know what a Neapolitan pizza is let’s see how it compares to its New York cousin. After all, to find the best Neapolitan pizza in NYC, we need to differentiate it from the city’s native slice.
New York pizza is renowned for its crispy, thin crust that you can fold in half, topped with a sweet, tangy tomato sauce and a generous layer of melted mozzarella. It’s typically larger and is sold in wide slices.
On the other hand, Neapolitan pizza is smaller, with a softer, chewier crust that’s slightly charred from the wood-fired oven. The tomato sauce is more savory than sweet, made from San Marzano tomatoes, and the cheese is fresh mozzarella di bufala or fior di latte. The toppings are minimalistic, aiming to highlight the fresh ingredients rather than overpower them.
So, while both styles have their unique allure, our quest today is for the authentic, traditional Neapolitan pizza in the heart of New York City.
Now, onto the juicy part of our quest – exploring the top Neapolitan pizza restaurants in NYC.
In 2012, Neapolitan pizza chefs Roberto Caporuscio and Antonio Starita united to establish Don Antonio in Midtown Manhattan, offering authentic Neapolitan pizza. Today, Giorgia Caporuscio, a renowned Pizzaiola, and World Champion, leads the restaurant, known as a pizza destination.
Don Antonio presents over 45 original Neapolitan pizzas that honor tradition while embracing innovation.
Giorgia Caporuscio, a Master Pizzaiola, has expanded the menu to include seven types of fried pizza, all available gluten-free. High-quality Italian ingredients and an exceptional wine collection enhance the experience.
Giorgia, one of the few young female pizza makers in the US, has received numerous awards for her skills.
Don Antonio’s achievements include being named “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine and among the “Best Pizza Places in the US” by Food and Win
The pizzeria is at 309 West 50th Street, New York, NY. It’s known for its traditional wood-fired pizza oven, which ensures the characteristic crispy yet chewy crust and vibrant toppings of Neapolitan pizza.
The store’s opening hours may vary, but Don Antonio’s is typically open from around 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM on weekdays, and it might have extended weekends.
They should check their official website or contact the restaurant for the most up-to-date information on their operating hours.
If you’re a pizza enthusiast, Don Antonio’s Neapolitan Pizza is worth a visit to experience the delicious flavors and techniques of traditional Neapolitan pizza-making.
Una Pizza Napoletana
Una Pizza Napoletana’s Lower East Side location in New York is Anthony Mangieri’s sixth pizzeria iteration.
With a focus on naturally-leavened, wood-fired pizzas complemented by appetizers, ice cream, sorbetto, Italian wines, and beer, the restaurant offers a unique dining experience. Watch the dedicated Una team craft pizzas by hand and bake them in a wood-fired oven.
This location’s obsessive attention to detail has earned it the #1 pizzeria in the world by 50 Top Pizza for 2022.
It has also gained recognition in US media outlets like The Today Show, CBS Mornings, Esquire, and the Michelin Guide.
Here are the details for Una Pizza Napoletana’s Lower East Side location:
Address: 175 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Nearest Intersection: Houston St & Stanton St
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Sottocasa in Brooklyn
Step into the hidden treasure of Neapolitan pizza on vibrant Atlantic Avenue, just below the bustling streets of New York. Behind an unassuming exterior lies a haven of pizza perfection.
Discover a cozy wood-paneled room with whitewashed brick walls, a petite wine bar, and a colossal clay oven straight from Naples. Venture to the back patio for outdoor dining vibes.
The atmosphere is easygoing, inviting you to savor the experience. While Sottocasa offers a tempting range of salads, antipasti, and desserts, the real star is their outrageously delicious pizza, folded, bianche, or rosse.
And yes, there’s a gluten-free option too! Locals swear by the Diavola pie, a flavor-packed creation featuring exquisite mozzarella, fragrant basil, black olives, and zesty hot sopressata. Get ready for a pizza adventure that will make your taste buds dance!
298 Atlantic Avenue
Co-owner and executive chef Dave Sclarow takes a unique approach by sourcing ingredients from all corners of America, giving the pizzas an American flair while keeping the same traditional methods.
Pizza Moto stands out in its own Brooklyn way, delivering a delicious twist to the classic Neapolitan style.
What’s truly remarkable about Pizza Moto is their wood-fired oven, crafted in Brooklyn during the era of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
This discovery came when Sclarow acquired the space (formerly a Papa John’s!) and unveiled this remarkable treasure hidden behind a wall.
The oven imparts a subtle char to each pie, infusing a taste of the fire into every heavenly bite. While not strictly adhering to Neapolitan tradition, Pizza Moto pays homage to it, adding its distinct touch of Brooklyn charm to every delectable slice.
338 Hamilton Ave.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, a world-renowned Neapolitan pizzeria, arrived in Hollywood in 2019, marking its first U.S. location. The eatery faithfully replicates its Naples origin, established in 1870, using time-honored recipes and authentic Italian ingredients.
Head Pizzaiolo Michele Rubini leads the establishment, offering not only classic Neapolitan pizza but also a range of Italian and Mediterranean delights. Guests enjoy the “courtyard” ambiance, observing pizzas prepared in imported stone ovens.
Francesco Zimone, the owner and designer of each restaurant, blends classic Italian and modern Californian styles, inspired by his Naples upbringing. Blue and white tiles and natural wood characterize the decor.
Julia Roberts’ memorable line from “Eat Pray Love” underscores the fame of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. In Italy, the original shop sold just two pizzas—Marinara and Margherita—gaining acclaim for its flavorful, thin pies even before its Hollywood recognition.
2 Bank St
New York, NY
10014, United States
Soho’s beloved pizzeria, Song’ E Napule, now graces the Upper West Side at 464 Amsterdam Avenue. Following Mokum’s tenure, the restaurant brings its culinary prowess to this locale.
Renowned chef Ciro Iovine, with a pizza journey from age 13, spearheads the kitchen, while his wife, Austria Maldonado, takes the role of CEO. The duo’s culinary adventure began on West Houston Street in 2015.
The restaurant’s Facebook page boasts a commitment to crafting every dish, from traditional brick oven pizzas to homemade gnocchi and hearty pastas, with care for customer satisfaction.
Song’ E Napule has become a NYC hotspot for its authentic Neapolitan pizza, emphasizing the use of fresh ingredients imported from Italy.
Their menu features a delectable range: antipasti, deep-fried pizza, calzones, pastas, chicken entrees, and an extensive dessert selection, including gelatos, cannolis, and the unique “deep fried pizza dough balls with sugar topped with warm Nutella.”
146 W Houston St
New York, NY
10012, United States
Ribalta maintains an authentic Neapolitan atmosphere, luring European crowds with soccer broadcasts and delectable pizza, notably the classic margherita.
The naturally leavened dough offers a tender-chewy perfection, paired with a burst of pure tomato essence and the creamy cheese melt. Italian expats and enthusiasts alike gather for Serie A soccer games and the comforting embrace of a home away from home.
A glance inside reveals the devotion to detail, reflected in the quality ingredients that grace the dishes. New York Magazine’s recognition of Ribalta’s spaghettoni al pomodoro as the city’s best and their sharing of the special ingredients attests to this fact.
Owners Rosario Procino and chef Pasquale Cozzolino, hailing from Naples, elevate the experience with their STG margherita pizza featuring the famed Neapolitan fior di latte. Both versions impress New Yorkers and Neapolitans alike, meeting the high standards of taste.
Beyond pizza, other offerings beckon, including tender veal meatballs, flash-fried zucchini scapece, and the delectable spaghettoni al pomodoro coated in a vibrant red sauce crafted from unique cherry tomatoes found along the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius.
48 E. 12th St.
New York, NY
And so, we end our quest for the Best Pizza New York has to offer. But remember, fellow foodie, the beauty of a search is in the journey, not just the destination. So keep exploring, keep tasting, and keep enjoying the culinary delights this city has to offer.
Whether you agree with my choices or have your favorite Neapolitan restaurant in NYC, the important thing is to savor and appreciate the art of pizza making. Because, in the end, the best Neapolitan pizza is the one that makes your heart (and your stomach) happy.
So go forth, grab a slice, and continue your foodie adventure in the city that never sleeps. And who knows? Your next pizza may just be your best one yet.