Best Pizza - Lower Manhattan, NYC
When you tour Lower Manhattan's pizzerias and restaurants, you probably won't run into royalty. But you will encounter pizza maestros and owners with an interesting story to tell as well as first-class New York pizza.
Joe's Pizza - Lower East Side
You can't get any more old-school than this corner pizza joint which has been a Greenwich Village institution since 1975.
A small compact space, with only a few tables, Joe's Pizza has customers lining up day and night to grab a slice or a pie. But, don't mind the long lines, especially at lunchtime. The guys behind the counter know exactly what they're doing and everything moves pretty fast.
There's a very good reason why actor Ben Affleck once called Joe's "the best pizza in the city". Other notables who have stopped by this legendary pizza place for a slice or two include Bradley Cooper, Jimmy Fallon and Selena Gomez.
If you're a movie buff, you may have caught Joe's Pizza making a cameo appearance in the blockbuster film, Spider-Man 2.
Spidey's alter ego, Peter Parker worked, for a short time, as a delivery guy in the film and several scenes were shot at Joe's!
The owner, Joe Pozzuoli may be semi-retired now, but his sons and grandson are holding down the fort, making sure that the quality of the pizza is still just as good as it was over forty years ago.
Consistency is the key to success at Joe's Pizza. When you order a pie here you know what to expect. There are no unpleasant surprises.
Family pride is what Joe's is all about. Andy and Dino began helping their dad out at the pizzeria when they were young teens. In a very real sense, one could say that they grew up in the business.
Pizza maestro Joe Pozzuoli originally hails from Naples, the birthplace of pizza. So, it's no surprise that, after emigrating to America, the young man's first job was at a pizzeria.
For a time, Joe worked at several different pizza shops throughout the Northeast, learning his craft, waiting for the right moment when he could open his own place.
After relocating to New York City, Joe fell in love with his new neighborhood of Greenwich Village. Little Italy was right at his doorstep. But, more important than the sense of comfort and familiarity was the diversity of the community.
Joe loved the fact that people from all walks of life, artists, musicians, hippies, construction workers, moms with their kids in tow, stopped in for a slice and to shoot the breeze.
Whenever the wrestlers from the WWE came to Madison Square Garden for their monthly show, you could count on seeing the 600-pound behemoth Haystacks Calhoun sitting at a table, chowing down on Joe's famous pizza.
In fact, the Arkansas country boy turned pro wrestler was known to consume two to three large pies in one sitting, as incredible as that sounds!
Joe Pozzuoli may be taking it easy now, but the quality of the pizza here along with friendly, down to earth service remains very much the same.
The recipe may have been slightly tweaked over the years, but, by and large, the younger generation of Pozzuoli's have stayed true to what made this establishment successful in the first place.
And, that's a very good thing. This is old school, real deal pizza. Moreover, you can eat a couple of slices without any guilt or feeling like the slice is sitting on your tummy.
Joe has always taken pride in keeping up with culinary tastes and trends as well as ways to eat more healthy.
The venerable pizza-maker once said " Having made pizza for over fifty years, I kind of know what people want in their slice or pie. And one thing that they can do without is something that's too rich and heavy."
Be advised, though, that you won't find any exotic toppings or pretentious concoctions on Joe's pies. But, that allows for the full flavor of the sauce, crust and mozzarella to come through.
Oh, every once in a while, they'll do a vodka sauce pie or something of that sort and the pepperoni toppings are molto bene and quite generous.
However, your options are limited to a classic Joe's pie, a white pie with fresh, creamy mozzarella and, of course, the absolutely fabulous Sicilian square pizza. But, when a pizzeria turns out scrumptious basics like Joe's does; why would you yearn for anything else?
Joe's Pizza; treating generations of New Yorkers to pizza made the way it should be.
Location and Hours
7 Carmine Street
New York, N.Y. 10014
Sunday to Thursday10 AM to 4 AM
Friday and Saturday10 AM to 5 AM
Rosso Pomodoro - West Village
There's no better name for a restaurant that features an authentic Neapolitan pizza and pasta experience than Rosso Pomodoro, which, in Italian literally translates to red tomato.
And we all know that ripe. juicy tomatoes make for the best, most luscious pizza sauce ever
Founded in Naples by a trio of former professional rugby players, Rosso Pomodoro has restaurants all over the world, including outposts inside of Eataly New York, Chicago and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Rosso Pomodoro's West Village location is their first stand-alone restaurant in the United States.
The man behind the brand is a restaurateur and executive chef Simone Falco. A man of many talents, Simone found time to obtain a Ph.D. from the University of Naples, while still competing on the rugby field!
With a passion for fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle, Simone redesigned the menus at Rosso Pomodoro to include gluten-free options as well as emphasize the use of wild-caught fish, natural,pasture-raised meat with no antibiotics and the use of organic vegetables whenever possible.
Simone and his team are dedicated to offering their customers delicious food that they can also feel good about eating.
And you will also feel pretty special about your surroundings. Simone's designers put a lot of thought into the decor, coming up with a cozy space that works well as a first date spot or a night out for just the two of you, while the babysitter is minding the kids.
During the Spring and Summer, you'll enjoy dining outdoors at the restaurant's cute sidewalk cafe.
There are many delectable pizza options on the menu. If you have recently changed your eating habits, you'll be glad to know that Rosso Pomodoro offers gluten-free crust! Just ask! The possibilities are endlessly amazing.
The pie that put this place on the NYC pizza map is the Tartufella, light and aromatic offering that is covered with black Urbani truffles, Buffalo Mozzarella and mushrooms.
Coming up a strong second in popularity is the Salsicciotta, a pie that is topped with fresh tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, savory sausage and 'shrooms.
Take a break from the red sauce (as delicious as it is), with the Genovese, a pizza that is made with pesto sauce, chili flakes, Mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese.
The Burratona is made with creamy local Burrata together with buffalo Mozz and Pecorino. But, the true highlight here is the succulent slices of Prosciutto Di Parma that decorate the pie.
Voted as being one of the best pizzas in the city is the Capricciosa, whose toppings include Cotto ham, black olives, artichokes, tomato sauce and, of course, Mozzarella.
Every pie is baked to golden perfection inside of an authentic Neapolitan pizza oven. It's a joy watching these talented pizza chefs' deft hands as they toss the dough, stretch it out, top it and then slide the finished product out of the oven. Poetry in motion, indeed!
Of course. there's no rule that says that you can't order an appetizer or entree along with a pie, to share with family or friends.
"Not-Pizza" standouts include the Polpetta Di Melanzane, which are meatless Balls fashioned out of eggplant and wonderfully seasoned as well as the Tonno Scottato, barely-seared fresh-caught wild tuna accompanied by avocado and an arugula salad.
You'll also love the Pork shoulder with polenta and gremolata and the Rigatoni pasta in a short rib and onion ragu.
Even if you usually skip dessert when you go out for dinner, please don't do so here.
If you do, you'll miss out on their Tiramisu, Affogato al Caffe' and chef Falco's signature sweet ending, the magnificent Marchesa al Cioccolato that consists of flourless chocolate cake with caramel, creme fraiche and pine nuts.
Location and Hours
118 Greenwich Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10011
Monday to Friday 12 PM to 11 PM
Saturday and Sunday 11 AM to 11 PM
Inatteso Pizza Bar Casano - Battery Park City
Executive chef Eric Lind's motto is " Always simple. Always fresh". Trained in Italy, Chef Lind studied under many Italian master chefs, learning the secrets of Italian cuisine, literally, from the ground up.
No matter what region or city you happen to call home; in Italy, they take the farm to table cooking very seriously. Everything begins and ends with fresh ingredients from the local fields. That is the simple credo that Eric brought with him when he returned to America.
Chef Eric may not be trying to re-invent the wheel, but that doesn't mean that his dishes lack creativity.
His inventive use of spices and herbs serves to elevate even the most basic pasta dish or cheese and sauce pie into something memorable.
The name of the restaurant, Inatteso, means "unexpected" in Italian. That is so very appropriate, as Eric Lind's kitchen gives you more than you would normally expect from a pizza bar.
The inside of the restaurant has a sleek and sexy design. Inatteso is quite spacious, so you won't feel claustrophobic, but not so huge that it feels impersonal and lacking charm.
During the warmer weather, you will delight in dining al fresco at their cute patio, which is enclosed with shrubbery and all manner of plants.
The beautiful Hudson River promenade is only a few steps away. Nothing enhances date night like a romantic twilight stroll along the water, followed by an intimate dinner for two at
Inatteso. And, please don't forget to order a couple of glasses of Chianti or your favorite wine.
Chef Eric's pizza bar menu offers two delightful options; classic Pizza Napoletana or Della Nonna-style pizza.
These scrumptious brick oven pies are available in either 12" or 16" sizes, depending on your appetite.
The chef turns out a superbly stellar Bianca Pie with grated Parmesan and basil together with a creamy blend of Mozzarella and Ricotta. If you have kind of avoided sauce fewer pies in the past, this is most definitely the place to start being a little adventurous.
A pie that will transport you directly to sun-swept Italy is the Barese, a pizza that is topped with sausages, red onions, fennel seed, mozzarella, red sauce and spicy Calabrese peppers.
A big-time winner when it comes to taste and creativity is the Ortolana. This delicious pie has both tomato sauce and pesto, together with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and a sprinkling of arugula.
The Tropicale, with juicy chunks of pineapple, spicy Serrano peppers, fresh tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese, has a totally unique flavor blend that grows on you with every bite.
Pizza Della Nonna is square shaped home-style Sicilian pan pizza. This option lets you be the pizza maestro. Just order a basic sauce and cheese pie and add as many, (or as few), toppings as you like, for a nominal extra charge per item.
Choices range from garlic, roasted peppers, spinach, eggs, ham and Kalamata olives to broccoli rabe'.
Not in the mood for pizza tonight or just want to change things up a bit? Chef Eric has got you covered with his seasonal pasta dishes that include lasagna Bolognese, pasta with a wild boar ragu, olives and Rosemary along with his signature spinach ravioli that comes in a light butter and sage sauce.
Every day, you can also expect anywhere from 4 to 6 specials to appear on the menu board.
On a recent evening, specials included a rustic and hearty white bean and kale soup; fried artichokes in a saffron aioli, and hearty Pappardelle noodles with sauteed shrimp, kale and mushrooms.
All of the dishes here go very well with a glass of imported Italian wine. Inatteso has one of the most comprehensive wine lists in lower Manhattan, with all of the peninsula's wine-producing regions represented.
Location and Hours
28 West Street
Battery Park City
New York, N.Y. 10004
Monday to Saturday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Sunday 11:30 AM to 10 PM
Emily - West Village
Boasting a variety of delicious but unusual pies that are made in one of the oldest pizza ovens in the city, Emily is the "baby sister", if you will, of Emily and Matt Hyland's first pizza cafe in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.
It may come as no surprise that pizza is the owner's favorite food of all time. But, there's a sentimental story attached to the young couples' love of a great pie, as well.
As college students in Rhode Island, Matt and Emily's first shared meal, (in Matt's dorm room) was, what else but a pizza pie!
Although this dynamic duo does enjoy eating other types of food, (believe it or not!), pizza has been the very special fare that they've bonded over through the years.
Many a date night in Providence R.I. as well as back in New York City, was spent exploring each cities' respective pizza joints in search of that elusively perfect pie.
Having attended the Institute of Culinary Education, Matt went on to work in the kitchens of restaurants as diverse as Public, The Breslin and Pizza Moto. But, deep down inside, Matt knew that one day, he wanted to have his own pizzeria.
That journey began one day, in Brooklyn, where Matt and Emily had moved, soon after returning to NYC.
Matt stumbled upon Sotto Casa, which was owned by a gentleman by the name of Luca Arrigoni. Impressed by the young chef's passion and willingness to start from the bottom, Luca invited Matt to join his team. An open book, Matt soaked in everything that his mentor taught him.
At Sotto Casa, Matt likes to say that he didn't just learn how to make pizza; he learned how to make the very BEST pizza. And the rest is history.
Naming his first venture after his wife and business partner, Matt launched Emily in the West Village due to popular demand from Manhattan's pizza fanatics. Frankly, they were tired of making the trek to Brooklyn, to taste Matt and Emily's incredible pies!
All dough is made from scratch and the Mozzarella is hand-crafted. There are no short-cuts here.
Emily and Matt have, through trial and error, taken Detroit-style pizza to another level.
A first cousin of Neapolitan pizza, the Detroit version is rectangular in shape, has an extra thick crust which is brushed with butter and the bottom is unbelievably crispy. But not burnt.
Detroit pizza was created in a Motor City bar called Buddy's Rendezvous, back in the 1940s. Legend has it that the owner wanted to come up with some quick snack food for his patrons and his thoughts turned to pizza. But the only pans that he had in the place were long and square-shaped.
Working with what was available, the owner created his own blend of cheese and sauce, often ladling the tomato sauce into straight lines, up and down the length of the long pie, instead of just spreading it all over.
This unusually shaped pizza caught on, attracting legions of new customers to the bar and, soon after, the tavern became Buddy's Pizzeria.
The menu at Emily has more than a dozen pies to choose from; each one better than the last.
Take your time when you read through their menu. You won't want to miss out on anything.
The "Reds" portion of the menu contains items like The Street Fair Pie, with sausage, grilled onions and cherry peppers; The Mimi, topped with ricotta, mushrooms, roasted garlic and basil and The Colony, a pie that blends spicy slices of Pepperoni with pickled chili and a dab of honey.
The "Greens" section features some nifty pies that use Tomatillo sauce as a base. The best of these is the imadrei pizza with mozzarella and house-made chorizo. You'd be surprised, and will be delighted, by just how well the Tomatillo sauce goes with the Mozzarella.
The "Whites" are, of course, red-sauce free. Yet, these pies may just be the most creative on the entire menu.
The Pig Freaker certainly lives up to its' name with ingredients like a ton of crispy bacon, kimchi, sesame and miso queso.
For the Nguyen is topped with chicken, Korean wing sauce, scallions, radishes and blue cheese.
And, as if all that wasn't enough, there's also a section of the menu that is devoted to the "pinks"; pizzas that have a base of vodka sauce and Mozzarella along with various toppings.
Now, earlier in the article, we alluded to the fact that Matt and Emily do eat things other than pizza.
Some of their fave creations can be found among the small plates on offer, including the Squash with whipped goat cheese, the divinely insane Burrata Eggplant Parm and the Shredded Sprouts. These tender Brussels Sprouts are accompanied by pickled mushrooms, cashews, buttermilk blue cheese and miso.
Why not do the best of both worlds and share a couple of pies along with some of Emily's small plates with a group of friends? Everyone has a taste of the tables' repast and you all go home stuffed and happy!
Location and Hours
35 Downing Street
New York, N.Y. 10014
Sunday to Tuesday 11:30 AM to 10 PM
Wednesday and Thursday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Lombardi's Pizza - Little Italy
This old world establishment with charm to spare lays claim to being the very first pizzeria in New York.
While that may be open to some debate, there's no doubt that Lombardi's, which opened its' doors in 1905, is certainly among the two or three oldest pizzerias in town.
The story at this simple storefront began even before the turn of the century. In 1897, a family of Italian immigrants began selling tomato pies wrapped in plain paper to hungry workers who toiled at the many factories that dotted the neighborhood. But, they had bigger things in mind.
In 1905, Filippo Milone and Gennaro Lombardi obtained a license to open a full-fledged pizza restaurant and that's really where the Lombardi's legend took off.
Word of mouth spread uptown as to just how delicious the pizza was. Soon, the clientele at Lombardi's included celebrities such as Enrico Caruso, who went out of his way to dine here on a regular basis.
Today, everyone from tourists and business executives to families looking for a special night out, come to Lombardi's for both the pizza and the authentic Sopranos atmosphere. This is the place to be whether you are a "made man" or a hipster couple who want something a little more authentic than the Olive Garden or Pizzeria Uno.
The old school vibe is carried on with a cash-only policy. But, that's okay. They have a convenient ATM right on the premises. And, sometimes, it's better to keep the plastic in your pocket, lest you get carried away.
Lombardi's doesn't sell by the individual slice. But, you can order your pie small (six slices), or large,(eight succulent slices).
Their original Margherita pie is made with their fresh-made whole milk mozzarella, tomato sauce and is topped with a dusting of Pecorino Romano and basil.
The White Pie contains just the right amount of Mozzarella and Ricotta. You get your cheese fix in, for sure, but there's not so much of the good stuff that it leads to overkill.
In the must-try category is Lombardi's famous clam pie. Out of this world and, perhaps, even the galaxy, this pizza is topped with tender baby clams, garlic infused the oil, oregano, grated Romano cheese, black pepper, parsley and flowered lemon wedges. It looks as good as it tastes, so get that phone ready to send pics to all your friends.
You can even order a pie that's named after one very special customer, Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss, himself!
Buddy's Special Pie consists of Prosciutto, eggplant, arugula, Mozzarella, basil and some of the best tomato sauce on the planet. You will savor every luscious bite of this indescribable pie.
I wonder of the Cake Boss has ever gotten around to baking a cake for his TV show that's modeled after his namesake pizza?
Do you like calzones? They've got 'em here. These moon-shaped pastries are big enough to satisfy any appetite. Packed with cheese, you can have them filled with your choice of two toppings such as long hot peppers, meatballs, sauteed spinach, pancetta or pepperoni.
In the beverage department, you can quench your thirst with a glass of wine or beer along with house-made iced tea, premium spring water or put a little sparkle in your life with a bottle of Pellegrino.
But, here's the thing; Lombardi's offers a couple of totally delicious options that you can't find at most pizza restaurants in town.
Refresh yourself with a cold Italian Spritzer. These are all naturally carbonated beverages in grapefruit, blood orange or lemon flavors.
They will also craft you an authentic Italian soda that is made with seltzer, your choice of either natural raspberry or vanilla syrup and it is all topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
Location and Hours
32 Spring Street
New York, N.Y. 10012
Sunday to Friday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to 12 AM