Grabbing a slice in New York City is a rite of passage, and we’re here to guide you through the best pizza neighborhood of them all: Little Italy.
Chances are, if you’ve been to New York, you’ve picked up on the fact that many New Yorkers (and visitors) have an intense relationship with pizza. Some people are obsessed with their neighborhood joint, while others will trek from borough to borough in pursuit of the perfect pie.
It doesn’t matter how you prefer your slice — thick, thin, Sicilian, or with an egg on top — because New York will serve your palate, and there’s no better place than Little Italy. We’ve scoured all the hotspots in the lower Manhattan neighborhood, and these are our picks for the best pizza in Little Italy.
Lombardi’s is a well-known tourist destination, and it’s put in the work to earn its popularity. Established and licensed by the city in 1905, Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria to open in the United States. Many New York pizza makers learned their craft from the restaurant’s founder, Gennaro Lombardi, and went on to open their own pizzerias around town, but Lombardi’s has outlasted all but a few. We recommend the white pizza with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, romano, oregano, black pepper, and garlic-infused oil. A heads up: bring cash or be prepared to use the on-site ATM, as no cards are accepted.
If you’re wandering solo or just in the mood for a little nibble, mosey over to Pomodoro, the only restaurant in Little Italy where you can get pizza by the slice. The restaurant is popular amongst locals and tourists alike, and even a few celebrities. One of the most popular options at Pomodoro is the vodka slice, which comes with tangy and spicy homemade sauce beneath a delicious layer of fresh mozzarella.
3. Capri Ristorante
If you yearn to take a trip to the Italian island of Capri, this lovely place tucked away on Mulberry Street will tide you over for at least a night. Capri Ristorante opened in March 2016, led by Franco Aliberti, formerly of the Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. The light-flooded restaurant offers charming decor as well as delicious food. The menu features classic Italian seafood fare, such as grigliata di pesce and whole grilled fish, and the pizza menu is full of classic and contemporary combinations. We suggest the Norcina pie, which is topped with mozzarella, sausage, onions, a touch of cream, and red pepper flakes.
Deemed one of “three new school restaurants that are doing justice to old school Italian” by Serious Eats, Rubirosa is a fun and family-friendly place to go for artisan pizzas. The menu features simple, thin crust pies topped with housemade mozzarella and local ingredients, as well as pastas and appetizers that range from classic to gluten-free. A charming red and white awning greets visitors outside, and the interior of the restaurant is decorated with vintage photographs and cozy furniture. Rubirosa is perfect for dinner, and the intimate restaurant is also happy to accommodate large groups.
Neapolitan-style pizzas, fresh homemade pastas, and the best burrata this side of the Atlantic are the stars on the menu at Emporio. The restaurant has a beautiful, vaulted back room that fills quickly in the evenings, so plan to either arrive early or wait at the front bar (which is stocked with imported wines and creative cocktails) for a bit.