Guides  -   -  Share

Who could ever forget the headline: “Is New York’s Best Pizza in New Jersey?” An inflammatory rhetorical question if there ever was one, this is what crowned New York Times dining critic Pete Wells’ 2017 review of the pizzeria Razza in Jersey City – just across the Hudson from lower Manhattan. 

In a city full of pizza that could be considered not just New York’s best, but some of the world’s best, it’s no surprise people have strong opinions. My own opinions about pizza really aren’t so strong: I love pizza and I love almost all pizza equally. But what I hate are barriers to enjoying pizza. 

In 2016, my wife and I waited about 45 minutes in line at Rome’s heralded Bonci only to have a couple from Phoenix sitting nearby ask to try one of our slices. We felt pressure to say yes. When we returned in 2022, forecasts of the Bonci line were upwards of two hours, so we

went to a different pizzeria opened by a couple of his disciples. There we enjoyed lunch in peace almost every day for a week straight, with only a short line and no  transgressive Phoenicians. 

How did we find this pizzeria? By meticulously scouring the Instagram of our favorite pizzaiolo in New York – who’s actually in New Jersey. 

I’ve organized the following rundown of New York pizzerias by style and included notes on general accessibility and vibe, which I think are almost as important as the taste of the pies themselves.

Pizza at Scarr's in New York City
Scarr’s slices.

New York slice 

Top “Suprema,” covered in sausage, pepperoni, onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms; and the plain (cheese) slice.

For a traditional New York slice, just a slice of pizza, I love NY Pizza Suprema, conveniently located in one of New York’s most New York-y environments: across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. My father-in-law (who turned me on to Suprema) goes for the “Suprema,” covered in sausage, pepperoni, onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms; I prefer a plain (cheese) slice. Whether you’ve just arrived by train, are spilling out of MSG after a “Knick game” (New Yorkers drop the “s” on their sports teams when it modifies the word “game”), or have traveled to 31st and 8th specifically for it – Suprema has you covered. 

Can  an ideal NY slice really be improved upon? At Scarr’s in the Lower East Side, the question answers itself. That this is a “nicer” slice isn’t immediately apparent – you can’t see that owner Scarr Pimentel insists on milling the flour on-site, for example. But one bite of the texturally perfect crisp crust, bright, herb-flecked sauce, and cheese that glistens rather than drips with grease is all it takes to realize you’re not at Suprema anymore. 

Scarr's Pizza frontage at night - blue and red neon lights.
Scarr’s pizzeria at night.

Equally as good as Scarr’s is Mama’s Too, with a flagship on the Upper West Side and a new location in the West Village. Owner Frank Tuttolomondo (surely one of the best names in New York) grew up in the pizza business, and it shows. People love his square slices, and I do too, but the classic round pies have always been my favorite. And when you order a whole one, somebody throws in a fistful of fresh basil just before closing the box – I can’t describe how, but this is visually clear. The pizza here  sits a little heavier than Scarr’s, but is more refined than Suprema. If I were to take an out-of-towner to try only one classic NY slice, it just might be this.  

A classic cheese pie and a potato and rosemary square pie with a white base.

NY Pizza Suprema
413 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Mama’s Too
2750 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

The excellent square slice from gluten-free bakery 7 Grain Army.

Grandma / Sicilian 

A quick note here on terminology: Sicilian refers to thicker pizza baked on a sheet tray and cut into squares. Grandma is the same thickness and shape, but with the sauce on top of the mozzarella, and a dusting of Romano cheese on top. This is sometimes also called “upside-down” pizza. 

Mama’s and Scarr’s both have wonderful square pies, but for me the undisputed best in the city is the Grandma-style pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens, deep in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Open since 1939, the family-friendly pizzeria has an extensive picnic table-filled patio that heaves with positive energy in the warmer months. The pizza’s dough-cheese-sauce construction gives a slightly spongier consistency, but ample charring on corner slices lends textural contrast. The sauce is on the sweet side, and there is a lot of it. 

While there is sometimes a line, it moves quickly, and orders somehow come out immediately. Many diners opt for the titular spumoni to end the meal (a mix of vanilla, pistachio, and chocolate ice creams), but I always go for the creamsicle soft-serve, a dreamy mixture of orange and vanilla. 

Grandma-style at L&B.

For visitors who don’t want to spend an hour on the subway (even though it’s worth it), it’s good to have a backup. I think F&F Pizzeria in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, which opened 80 years after L&B (in 2019) is a great bet. 

Owners Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo run the popular Italian-American spot Frankies 457 Spuntino next door and know their way around red sauce. They enlisted the help of both Tartine’s Chad Robertson and Pizzeria Bianco’s Chris Bianco (incidentally from Phoenix) for this project, and the results are evident in the perfect, almost focaccia-like dough. The Sicilian squares here are my go-to.  
I must also give a special mention to the Sicilian pizza at Matthew Tilden’s gluten-free Williamsburg bakery 7 Grain Army. Tilden owned and operated the beloved Bed-Stuy bakery SCRATCHbread, which closed in 2015 and served some of the best (glutinous) focaccia I’ve ever had, but he is rarely cited among the city’s top bakers. I do not understand why. His pizza has to be by far the best option for gluten-free New Yorkers, and it’s a fantastic option for omnivores as well. The delightfully chewy-crunchy crust is so impressive.

L&B Spumoni Garden
2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223

F&F Pizzeria
459 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

7 Grain Army
88 Roebling St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Slices at F&F.


L’Industrie, with locations in Williamsburg and the West Village, and which New Yorkers do not know how to pronounce, is making a lot of noise right now for its sturdy, well-charred, topped-to-order slices. The brainchild of Italian pizzameister Massimo Laveglia, L’Industrie serves slices that look New York-y, but taste distinctly Italian. It’s the thin, melting slices of prosciutto, the rich mozzarella, and the high quality olive oil drizzled on top. Delicious. The only drawbacks are a hectic, standing-only atmosphere and occasional long lines.  

L’Industrie’s fancy and fine New York-y slices.

Razza, in Jersey City, serves Neapolitan-style pies with a thin, blistered, crust baked in a wood-fired oven and whose slices refuse to sag when held up. Every single other similar pizza slice would sag. Razza’s small, dainty, and light pies, topped with the best seasonal Jersey ingredients, do not sag. And they’re definitely not soupy. 

The classic margherita is a showpiece of the genre, but my favorite is the “di natale,” topped with olives, golden raisins, and pine nuts, whose subtle flavor is amazingly detectable despite all of its punchy co-stars. Reservations are difficult if not impossible to come by, but it’s easy enough to order for pick-up. This would be the best pizza in almost any other city in America, but I just can’t quite say it here because of:

Bread & Salt, a couple miles up the road, where owner Rick Easton manifests his fanatical devotion to Roman and Southern Italian baking in pitch-perfect renditions of hyper-specific regional specialties, sophisticated sandwiches, and two varieties of pizza: a red pie and a margherita. The thin, crackly-crusted oblong pies (only served whole) are a showcase for unbelievably well sourced ingredients – the olive oil is so bright green it is almost neon; the sauce made from coveted tomatoes imported by Bronx-based Gustiamo; the cheese from a dairy in Pennsylvania rigorously observing Italian traditions. The overall effect is restrained but revelatory: the best pizza in New York – in New Jersey. 

It’s no surprise to learn Easton spent time in Rome honing his skills – with Gabriele Bonci.

Bread & Salt and perfect light on a perfect pie.

254 S 2nd St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
104 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

275/277 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Bread & Salt
435 Palisade Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07307

More from Luke Pyenson:

Header image: The margherita at Razza in Jersey City, by Luke Pyenson.

Stay up to date with Something Curated