When you close your eyes and think of New York City, what do you picture? What do you smell?
…Besides the gross stuff on the subway.
Pizza! Hello. Adele that wasn’t directed at you. Below are team MR’s picks of the top pies in town.
If You’re Downtown and Down to Sit Down
Kesté, 271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Pie to stay or slice to go: Pie to stay, for sure. They deliver but it tastes better fresh out of their wood-fire oven.
Perks: Amelia’s never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get a table, but she’s walked by during a rush and watched them hand out some sort of carb-y appetizer to those in pizza purgatory. (They also have GF options.)
Must-get toppings: The prosciutto and arugala white pizza is insane.
Important tip: Whether you’re full or not is irrelevant — get the Nutella pizza for dessert.
Rubirosa, 235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Pie to stay or slice to go: Both
Perks: Yvonne doesn’t mind that this spot’s become a little touristy due to the fact that it’s on every pizza guide, “but damn is it gooood.” Note the 4 o’s. “It feels homey and casual and unassuming,” she says. “And not for any health-conscious reasons but for the taste: try the whole wheat crust.”
Must-get toppings: Arugula pizza, add prosciutto.
Bring your phone: Everyone photographs theirs before eating. Go ahead.
Pasquale Jones, 187 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, 10012
Pie to stay or slice to go: Pie to stay.
Perks: Yvonne says that the pasta’s good, too.
Toppings to try: Reader’s choice; you can’t go wrong.
If you love a restaurant connection: It’s by the same people who started Charlie Bird.
John’s Pizzeria, 278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Pie to stay or slice to go: Voted for by both Elizabeth and Kate, this is a pie-only spot where you have to be prepared to wait — but both say it’s worth it.
Why? It’s the quintessential New York-style pizza: coal-fired brick oven deliciousness with gooey mozzarella and the perfect crust.
Must-get toppings: Both Kate and Elizabeth are purists and vote for plain cheese.
Heads up in case you tell your friend to “meet you at John’s”: In addition to John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker St, there is also a John’s Pizzeria in Times Square. They aren’t the same restaurant, either.
Pie to stay or slice to go: Pie to stay, but the quality holds if you get it delivered
Perks: The super, super thin crust and personal size allow for multiple people to order two pies each so that you can mix-and-match
Must-get toppings: Pear, fig & gorgonzola
Go when it’s nice out: There’s a ton of outdoor seating on Hudson Street.
If You’re Downtown but On the Go
Pie to stay or slice to go: Slice to go
Perks: It’s a big, fat thick slice of pizza. One slice and you’ll be stuffed — but don’t worry, you can handle a second.
Must-get toppings: Extra cheese, olives, or artichoke
Sweet nostalgia: Everyone in this city has at least one drunk story that starts with, “Remember that time we went to Artichokes?”
If You Find Yourself in Midtown West
John’s Pizzeria, 260 W. 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Pie to stay or slice to go: Pie — they don’t do slices.
Perks: Leandra, who is a born-and-raised New Yorker, believes John’s to be the best pie in the city. “If all the others are like, competent cars that get you from point A to point B,” she said, “John’s is a Phantom (which is apparently a very fancy car?).”
Must-get toppings: Up to you, but her vote is keep it classic. “You can taste the brick oven they’re being served out of. The bread is always just burned enough and the ingredients melt on your tongue.”
Bring a tampon: One time Leandra’s brother convinced her to shove the paper that covered her straw up her nose while waiting for their pizza to arrive. Her nostril bled the whole time they were at dinner.
Alternatively, If You’re in Midtown East
Upland, 345 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010
Pie to stay or slice to go: Harling says that this is definitely a sit-down-and-share-the-pie kind of situation, mainly because it’s a sit-down-and-enjoy-the-ambience kind of restaurant. The pizzas are what she’d call “artisanal”-sized, so they’re perfect for 2 hungry people to share in addition to the rest of your meal.
Perks: There are only 3 pizza options on the menu, so it’s great if you’re bad at making decisions (like me).
Must-get toppings: The sausage + kale combo!!!
Let it all hang out: The first time Harling ate here, she had the sausage + kale pizza in addition to an appetizer and a main course, all while wearing a dress with a triangular stomach cutout (“but like, a tasteful one”). She would equate the experience to climbing Mount Everest in a sarong.
If You’re on the West Side’s Nosebleed Section and Starving
Koronets, 2848 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Pie to stay or slice to go: Get a slice to go, but good luck: they’re bigger than your face.
Perks: It’s open 24/7 — “Perfect for drunk munchies and late night study breaks,” says Krista.
What’s the topping situation? Stick to cheese or pepperoni. Don’t try to get fancy here. This place is for the classics only.
Study break: It’s a Columbia University and Barnard go-to given the location.
Where Brooklyn At?
Luigi’s Pizzeria, 326 Dekalb Ave Brooklyn NY 11205
Pie to stay or slice to go: Emily’s done the pie but thinks slice to go tastes better
Perks: The service is fast and the pizza’s always fresh
Must-get toppings: Pepperoni or mushroom/olive.
Fun fact depending on your definition of fun: It’s counter service/take out only, so there’s no place to sit. It’s basically a hole in the wall with a metal countertop and window that opens to the sidewalk.
Pie to stay or slice to go: According to Elizabeth, “Whole pie, 100%.”
Perks: It’s thin and crispy but the crust is doughy, plus they have the freshest Pomodoro sauce and go light on the cheese. If you’re into that kind of thing.
Must-get toppings: Heavy on the basil.
Thirsty? The wine glasses are small so order two at a time.
Roberta’s, 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Pie to go or slice to stay: No slices. Each person gets a whole pie.
What you like about it: It’s a really fun restaurant — cool inside — and the pizza is amazing. Even if you live nowhere near the location, it’s worth venturing out for.
Must-get toppings: Order the Cheesus Christ, especially if you don’t like tomatoes.
If you’re brain’s feeling fried like an egg: Krista says their brunch is amazing, too. “They fill up fast and don’t take reservations, so it’s best to get there at 10 am sharp.” And of course they have pizza on their morning menu.
Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, 1563 Decateur St Ridgewood, Queens 11385
Pie to stay or slice to go: Krista says that you have to order a full pie here (delivery or to stay), but it’s one size only and it’s equivalent to a medium.
Perks: You can get your daily serving of veggies by using the pizza as a carb-y vehicle.
Must-get pie: Krista likes the Queen, “the Margherita’s creamy cousin.” She also recommends The Stinky Feet if you like gorgonzola. She does not, but her roommates do.
According to the Internet, pizza is bae: If you decide to stay, it makes for a great casual date spot.
OKAY NOW, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO: ADD YOUR OWN.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.