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The Golden Slice Awards Commemorate NYC Neighborhood Pizzerias

Critic Robert Sietsema points to favorites around the city

Welcome to the third edition of the Eater NY Golden Slice Awards, a recurring series that recognizes outstanding neighborhood pizzerias around the five boroughs. In contrast to many of the fashionable destination pizza parlors that get the lion’s share of attention— where tiny pies are sold with prices topping out at $20 or more — the places we celebrate here offer individual slices and giant pizzas at bargain prices, often with a broad choice of luxuriantly-applied toppings. With curvy benches flanking chipped-formica tables, the environment is familiar and the old-fashioned pizza is mouth-watering.

Here are ten more great neighborhood pizzerias, each with a slice recommendation or two.

Tom’s Delicious — Founded just north of Columbia University in 1998 by brothers Tomas and Eduardo Ochoa, this small pizzeria turns out spectacular cheese slices. The crust is ultra-thin and crisp, the cheese thicker than usual, and the tomato sauce merely a pastel background to the rest. The smell of fresh garlic knots suffuses the air, and there’s a second branch in Union City, NJ, in case you happen to be in the town that's right across the Hudson River. 3161 Broadway, 212-932-2100

Tom's Delicious Pizza Robert Sietsema

Marabella Pizza — Debuting in 1984 and occupying a distinctive corner location in Sunnyside, Marabella is proud of its Sicilian roots, as evidenced by the choice of art and maps on the walls. The ovens stand right inside the front door to make it easy to dash in and out for a slice. You should look no further than the fine grandma slice, which is square and thin-crusted, sporting fresh mozzarella and thick, sweet tomato sauce. Unique to Marabella are sandwiches (the pizzeria calls focaccia) made by splitting a thick wedge of pizza and piling it with chicken parm and other fillings. 4107 Greenpoint Ave., Queens, 718-786-4635

Marabella Robert Sietsema

Pranzo Pizza — This ancient pizzeria, shuttered for nearly a year by Hurricane Sandy tucks way downtown in a Manhattan maritime location, a stone’s throw from the Staten Island Ferry. Around lunchtime lines are long. Slices are noticeably lush, with an average thickness, an extra-crisp crust and a nicely-browned bone or cornicione. Our favorite slice features spinach and a tidal wave of cheese — but no tomato sauce. It's fit for a full meal. 34 Water St., 212-344-8068

Pranzo Pizza & Pasta Robert Sietsema

Belmora — This agreeable East Side pizzeria offers a larger dining room than most and a sunny southern exposure. The slices are about average in thickness and crispness, with a tomato sauce rich and herbal but not sweet. Its forte is unexpected combinations of ingredients, including a great pepperoni and black olive slice that turns out to be fantastic. It's open at 8 a.m., seven days a week, in case you'd like a slice for breakfast. 139 E 57th St., 212-935-2080

Belmora Robert Sietsema

Bari’s Pizza — In an iconic Stapleton location across the street from Tappen Park, Bari’s specializes in an indigenous type of Staten Island pie that features dense, dairy-driven toppings. Shown here are two representative slices: One is a pizza-fication of the Philly cheesesteak, swamped with thin-sliced steak, caramelized onions and peppers, and a Whiz-type cheese; the other attempts to mimic a pasta Alfredo in slice form. Both are rich and taste better than they look. The pizzeria is named after the capital of Apulia, the homeland of many Staten Islanders and Brooklynites. 596 Bay St., Staten Island, 718-876-0002

Bari Pasta & Pizza Robert Sietsema

Rosario’s — The crust is thicker, stiffer, and more browned at this Lower East Side stalwart founded in 1963. For the meat lover, there’s a slice with pepperoni and Italian sausage, buoyed by plenty of mozzarella. In fact, the pizzeria describes this slice and several others as deep dish, referencing a Chicago-style pizza rarely seen in New York, especially among neighborhood pizza parlors. We're lucky to be able to buy it by the slice. 173 Orchard St., 212-777-9813

Photo by Robert Sietsema

Italy Pizza — Are you a fan of the white slice? This narrow pizzeria — with a stamped-tin ceiling and other features that telegraph its age — specializes in white slices, with a white pie is always displayed on the counter. The cheese is profusely laid on, with so much garlic, you’ll be burping it for hours if not days afterwards. Lasagna, garlic knots, and salads are also recommended at this establishment in the Greenpoint business district, close to bars and clubs. 788 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, 718-383-9079

Italy Pizza Robert Sietsema

T & R Pizza — Sure, the plain slice at Upper West Side mainstay, T & R is exemplary, cooked a little longer than usual so the cheese bubbles and browns. The sausage slice is even better, with knobby and chewy meat laced with fennel. There's a nice herbal edge to the sauce, which scampers up over the bone. Unusual topping choices include feta, Canadian bacon, and anchovies. 411 Amsterdam Ave., 212-787-4093

King’s Pizza — Located right around the corner from Kings Highway — hence the name — this grandstanding pizza parlor is especially orange in décor and delivers equally bold flavor. The bacon slice is wondrous, carpeted with smoked and crumbled pork belly, a greater quantity than you’d expect. The standard slice is of average thickness, with more cheese than usual and a little less sauce. Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., a tsunami of students, construction workers, and tradespeople blows in and throngs the tiny shop. 1688 East 16th St., Brooklyn, 718-627-8434

King's Pizza Robert Sietsema

Sal’s Pizzeria — This antediluvian Bushwick pizzeria that resides above the DeKalb stop on the L dates back to the days when this was an Italian neighborhood and its sausage roll was fabled. In terms of pizza, go for the Sicilian slice. It's thick and square and brown as a beetle, with little rivulets of sauce and cheese and a generous sprinkling of dried Romano for extra saltiness and flavor. It's worth traveling from another borough to try! 119 Wyckoff Ave., Brooklyn, 718-386-5299

A dark square slice on tissue paper. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Previous editions of the series:

The Neighborhood Pizzeria Hall of Fame Presents: The Golden Slice Awards

— The Golden Slice Awards: 10 More Great NYC Pizzerias

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