New York City is a modern day food mecca; easily one of the top cities for foodies to visit, and quite possibly the culinary capital of the western world. The reason for this is because top chefs from all across the globe journey to the city to showcase their skills and compete against some of the most awarded cities in North America.
The street food scene in New York City is also incredibly eclectic, with food trucks that bring the flavors from far-flung places like Ethiopia and Ecuador to midtown Manhattan.
The only real downside of dining in New York City is that the cost of living is extremely high, and restaurants reflect this.
Similarly, there is something strange about eating food outside of the place where it was invented and far away from the people who typically enjoy it.
The Caribbean cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago is well represented all across Brooklyn and Queens, but bake and shark or roti is best enjoyed on the island that made them famous.
For this reason, it’s a great idea to spend as much mealtimes as possible enjoying slices of pizza in the style that the city has become famous for.
Pizza came to North America by way of New York City in the early 1900s. In the time since its arrival, California style Pizza and Chicago style Pizza have both evolved in ways that early pizzaiolos would have hardly imagined. Pizza in New York remained closer to the traditional types found in Naples since that’s where most early Italian Americans came from.
Classic cocktails like the Whisky Old Fashioned, or Daiquiri comes down to three simple ingredients being artfully combined. Pizza in New York is not much different; at best and at worst, it’s simple dough, cheese, and sauce. Quality ingredients are important, but what defines the best pizza is experience and technique more than anything else.
In New York City, pizza is seen as so pedestrian that some of the best examples are sold by the slice, and usually for just a few dollars more than more mediocre pie.
Stay Away from “Best New York City Pizza” Signs
All across the city are signs declaring that a Pizza place makes the “best pizza in the world” or the oft repeated claim to New York City’s Best Pizza
Sometimes pizza places on the same block claim to both say that they’re home to the best pizza in the entire world. Do you know which one is lying? Very likely, the both are.
In all fairness, pizza from any of these places is probably decent, but the best pizza in New York City does not need to be advertised. Locals already know how good it is and the owners perfectly happy not catering towards tourists.
Don’t follow the signs because they would lead you straight to a tourist trap.
BE WARY OF LISTS
Almost every magazine has published the definitive “Best New York Style pizza list”, these lists are a great place to start doing research before arriving in New York City but you still need to be wary of them. There are two problems with these lists; The first is that some of the places mentioned drop in quality over the years, or change their recipes to deal with the massive influx of new customers who read about them on a food blog.
Lists also try to include every borough in New York City. Someone coming up with a list might decide to feature three pizzerias from each borough. This means that the fourth best pizzeria from Brooklyn or Manhattan just won’t make the cut.
Being featured on a list is definitely a great achievement, and it says a lot about the quality of the pizza served, but it does not necessarily mean that it’s the best pizza in New York City.
TRUST IN LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
While you’re exploring New York City just stop a friendly looking resident and ask; “Hey, I’m looking for great pizza, Where do you usually buy a slice?”
In the trendy neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn almost everyone will be familiar with the local pizza spots and their daily specials.
In Manhattan, everyone is familiar with the best pizza places near their office. Some of these spots are just off the beaten path and you would have never found it if you didn’t ask a local.
New Yorkers are typically cold towards tourists but they’re always willing to be an ambassador for their local food, and bring some business to their local pizza place.
DON’T EXPECT THE BEST SERVICE
When you don’t get the best service, you know that you have left the typical tourist path and ventured into sacred, hallowed halls of pizza where only locals eat.
Expect the staff to be straight to the point or even slightly rude. This is by no means always the case, but it is an indicator of awesome pizza in New York City. Also, don’t expect much seating, rent in New York City is extremely high and most people simply eat their slice while they’re on the move.
So now you know how to find the best pizza in New York City! Congratulations!
Keep in mind that everyone’s idea of the best pizza in New York City would be subjective and there is often some friendly rivalry among locals about great pizza places.
Finally, don’t just stick to one pizza place, approach everyday in New York City as a quest for great pizza and use these tips. You will never be disappointed and you would be able to give in-depth recommendations to any friends that visit New York City in the future.