My Favorite NYC Pizza Spots

Since 2015, I’ve been posting shots of my favorite NYC pizza spots on Instagram and compiling lists of where to eat pizza along the different subway lines. Every time I attend a travel event or meet some of my followers in person, one question always comes up: “Do you have any new pizza suggestions?” According to my estimation, I’ve tried pizza at around 120 places among the five boroughs. 

The places in my list meet the following criteria:

  • Despite the fact that I’m more interested in trying new places than revisiting old ones, I keep going back to these NYC pizza spots
  • I go out of my way to eat at these places, rather than just stopping by if I’m in the neighborhood
  • I’ve taken someone from out of town
  • I’m willing to wait in line

I’d like to thank @hueyandbax, @citygirlriss, and all the other people from New York and beyond who’ve been encouraging me to put this list together.

Emily Brooklyn

L & B Spumoni Gardens

DiFara Brooklyn



Luzzo's BK

Motorino Brooklyn


Motorino East Village

Motorino UWS

Lombardi's Chelsea


Owned by a Neapolitan-born piazziolo, Luzzo’s in an example of why the East Village has one of the best food scenes in Manhattan. It’s the place with upside-down furniture screwed into the ceiling.

Their crust is slightly crunchier than the average Neapolitan-style pizzeria, but that’s not a bad thing. If you’re bored with round pies, they offer square pies, pizza cones, and even pizza fritta (fried pizza). I always go for the bufala.

What to order: bufala

Do they sell slices? no

Wait time: none

Nearest subway station: 1 Av (L) for East Village/Borough Hall (2/3/4/5) for Brooklyn


Emily serves wood-fired, New Haven-style pies in a cozy setting on the south end of Clinton Hill.  The pizza section of their menu is divided into red, white, pink, and green. The pink pies are topped with vodka sauce, while the greens use a tomatillo (also known as Mexican husk tomato) sauce.

Their flavorful sauce and chewy crust are what make Emily worth the journey from Manhattan, Queens, or other parts of Brooklyn. If you want to enjoy the sauce without being distracted by other fancy ingredients (like honey, kimchi, pickled jalapeno, pineapple, etc.), try the Red Planet pie. It has double the sauce. I prefer The Classic, but also enjoy the Vodka pie, which is the same as the classic, but with vodka sauce.

Tables fill up fast, so don’t be discouraged if there are only bar seats available. 

What to order: The Classic

Do they sell slices? no

Wait time: 1 hour (less if you’re willing to sit at the bar)

Nearest subway station: Clinton-Washington Ave (C)


Motorino started out near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn and has since branched out to Asia, as well as Manhattan’s East Village and Upper West Side. I prefer the original location. When the weather is nice, I like to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge, eat at Motorino, and take a leisurely stroll back. I always order the margherita. The little pinch of sea salt makes it stand out for me. Their crust is classic Neapolitan.

Anyone who grew up on MTV (when they played music videos) will enjoy the music selection. There’s no jukebox, but the music they play reminds me of the pizza parlors I grew up on in the 80s. They all had 25-cent jukeboxes. Every time I go to Motorino, I hear at least one of the songs I used to select. 

What to order: margherita

Do they sell slices? no

Wait time: none except during dinner time on weekends

Nearest subway station: 1 Av (L) for East Village or Marcy Av (J/M) for Williamsburg


Their website is Lombardi’s started as a grocery store on Spring Street in 1897. In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened what the Pizza Hall of Fame acknowledges as the first pizzeria in the United States. Like many other classic NYC pizzerias, the walls are lined with photos of celebrities who’ve dined there over the years.

They do not sell slices, and although the price of a small pie is 370 ($18.50/$0.05) times more than it was back in 1905, there is often a line around the block. Although I’ve had (and enjoyed the margherita), the clam pie is my go-to at Lombardi’s. They also have a white pizza and Buddy’s “Cake Boss” Special, in honor of Carlo’s Bakery owner, Buddy Valastro. 

If you can’t get a table at the original location, try the one in Chelsea.

What to order: clam pie or margherita

Do they sell slices? no

Wait time: less than one hour (only during dinner time)

Nearest subway station: Spring St (6)


Located in the upscale Redbury Hotel, Marta is far removed from old-fashioned New York pizza joints. When I get together with friends from Brooklyn and Queens, this is one of our go-to places. They were one of the original no-tripping restaurants in NYC. Marta serves Roman-style pizza, which has a cracker-thin crust. I always get the margherita. And depending on my appetite, a whole pie here can be more like an appetizer. The ultra-thin crust makes the sauce stand out as well.

What to order: margherita

Do they sell slices? no

Wait time: none (except during dinner on weekends)

Nearest subway station: 28 St (6)

Di Fara Pizza

Di Fara is located under the Q train on an otherwise quiet street corner in a residential section of Brooklyn that most tourists have never heard of. This unassuming corner pizza joint is one of New York’s main destination restaurants, even though there is very little seating. Before it even opens, locals and tourists alike get in line to get the first slices out of the oven.

I first tried this place with a friend in 2015, and it took us the length of a Metallica concert to get our pizza. We each ordered one round slice and one square. I remember eating the round slice first and thinking to myself, “This is good, but it’s not worth $5, and I’ll never wait more than 15 minutes for it again.” Then I tried the square. From that moment, I was sold. The crust was crunchier, and there was more of the slightly tangy sauce with hints of salt.

Nowadays, I prefer to bring a friend or two and share a whole square pie. Pies often come out faster than slices, but this is not the type of place you come to if you’re in a rush. Even coming during off-hours won’t help. It’s a place you go to when you have nothing special to do that day. Seating is limited inside, but if you’re patient, you’ll at least find a place to rest your plate.

What to order: square

Do they sell slices? yes

Wait time: 1-2 hours

Nearest subway station: Avenue J (Q)

L & B Spumoni Gardens 

I first discovered what is now my favorite restaurant in the world on December 4, 2011. L & B Spumoni Gardens is the last stop on A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour. My cousin gave me a ticket for my birthday (December 2), and I brought a friend along, who was born on December 6. From what I remember, I was kind of full after lunch at Grimaldi’s. Still, after I took my first bite of the thick crust, Sicilian pie, I knew this was not just another Brooklyn pizza joint. The cheese is baked into the crust, and the sauce is on top. You can forget the silly rules on how to eat a New York slice when you’re here. I eat it with a fork. It’s much thicker than the traditional New York slices (which they also sell). New Yorkers tend to hate this comparison, but it’s more like Chicago-style.

If I can point to one pizza that proves you don’t need toppings, it’s the Sicilian pie at L & B Spumoni Gardens. Anyone who has tasted their sauce should know what I mean. They have a large menu, of which pizza only takes up a couple of lines. However, if you look at all the tables around you, you’ll see Sicilian pies on nearly every one. People (especially larger groups) may order other things off the menu, but most are coming for the Sicilian pie. The only other items I consistently order here are the seafood salad appetizer and Italian ice for dessert. 

They don’t sell slices in the main dining room, but they do have a small pizza parlor next to the parking lot (yes, some restaurants in New York have parking lots!). If the parlor is full, there is always outside seating available. If you want to see some classic New York double parking, stop by this place during business hours and watch 86th Street.

What to order: Sicilian pie

Do they sell slices? yes

Wait time: less than 1 hour and only during dinner on weekends

Nearest subway station: 86th St (N)

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All pictures were shot with my Panasonic Lumix ZS100 4K Point and Shoot Camera.

Have you been to any of the places in my list? If so, what did you think? Leave your comments and suggestions below!