In New York City, you can find almost any kind of food imaginable—Thai, Greek, Indian, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Georgian . . . the list goes on. But one thing that really stands out is the pizza. The city, including its boroughs, arguably has more pizzerias than any other place in the United States, and in Brooklyn, both locals and transplants take pizza seriously.
Ask any Brooklynite what their favorite pizza spot is and they’ll likely either have a very strong opinion or a very hard time just choosing one. Luckily, that bodes well for anyone—Manhattan natives taking a staycation on a long summer weekend or pizza lovers across the world who come for a visit and are in the mood to take a $2.75 subway ride through Brooklyn for some of the best bites. Here, a primer on some of Brooklyn’s best pizzas.
Juliana’s Underneath a picturesque view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Hudson River sits Juliana’s, where 86-year-old Patsy Grimaldi (founder of Grimaldi’s, another famous Brooklyn pizza joint next door), who opened the spot in 2012, can be seen seating customers and tossing pizza dough on any given night. It’s an easy pick for its Dumbo surroundings, but the thin crust, flavorful sauce, and fresh toppings—arugula! mushrooms! Italian sausage with fennel!—bring in customers from far and wide.
Best Pizza This place makes up for its less-than-creative name with its taste and atmosphere—true to Williamsburg’s eclectic hipster culture, it’s a great spot for people-watching and the fact that there’s usually some kind of rap music blaring makes it all the more interesting. Best Pizza is the perfect place for a quick New York–style slice or two. The owner, Frank Pinello, was inspired by his combined Long Island and Bensonhurst roots.
Couple Emily and Matt Hyland opened Emily in cozy Clinton Hill with a creative and full-flavored menu. The pizzas themselves are divided into four categories: the reds, the pinks (vodka sauce), the greens (tomatillo sauce), and the whites. Additionally, options like house-made ricotta with sourdough rye batard and a pretty famous burger that includes Pat LaFrieda dry-aged beef, a pretzel bun, and caramelized onion with Grafton Village cheddar make Emily a must-visit for even those who aren’t pizza-obsessed. The duo also recently opened a second location in the West Village.
otonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana
For New York pizza with a seriously old-school vibe, Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana in Coney Island is the place to go. Its retro checkered floors and red tabletops have a mid-century aesthetic, but Totonno’s has been serving Naples-style pizza since 1924. The restaurant is a favorite of locals. The menu is bare bones, but the pizza has a perfectly cooked thin crust with amazingly fresh toppings. There are also rumors about a white pie not listed on the menu that’s worth ordering.
Di Fara Pizza
Located in deep Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood, Di Fara Pizza is seemingly untouched by time. Domenico DeMarco has owned and operated the restaurant since 1964, and its faded red-and-white sign and order window look like they haven’t been updated since. DeMarco, who’s 80 years old, made every single pizza—the restaurant would even close when he wasn’t around to do so—up until just a few months ago. However, the recipe still remains unchanged since Di Fara opened its doors over 50 years ago. The signature is the fresh basil cut over the pie with scissors, by either DeMarco or his children who now work in the shop.
In Brooklyn Heights, there are plenty of pizzerias. But Dellarocco’s stands out because of the extensive variety of its specialty—the white pizza. Its menu lists 15 different types of white pizzas, ranging from burrata parma, which includes arugula, burrata, prosciutto di parma, shaved parmigiano to the rachetta, which is a racquet-shaped pizza with olive tapenade, hot soppressata, eggplant, mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Despite being located off of bustling Montague Street, it’s usually a quiet spot filled with more locals than tourists.
Caroll Gardens is a historically Italian neighborhood and still has its fair share of residents whose family heritage is going strong. Lucali was founded by Mark Iacono in 2006 and serves neighborhood favorites: calzones, pizzas and meatballs served with a sauce that takes four hours to cook. The spot is cozy and rustic too—with sturdy wooden tables lit up on evenings by the glow of the wood-fired oven.
With its cinderblock exterior and small red sign, you might accidentally walk right by Bushwick’s best pizza spot if you’re going too fast. At Roberta’s, a classic rosso (tomato, oregano, garlic) or margherita are a must. The airy outdoor space is perfect for late night summer dinners and options from the kitchen, like wood-fired savoy cabbage or crispy sunchoke with fresh turmeric, pear and yuzu are not only beautifully played they defy the typical pizza joint salad.