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10 Top Pizza Slices in NYC This Season

From Scarr’s on the Lower East Side to Mazzola Bakery in Carroll Gardens and beyond

A corner pizzeria with a crowd of kids milling in front.
The plain cheese slice at Napoli’s Best Pizza made the cut — today, at least.

While the number of pizzerias peddling small and expensive pies in a formal restaurant setting continues to grow, the noble slice remains the sturdy backbone of New York City gastronomy. Every neighborhood still has dash-in spots where you can grab a slice and experience immediate and profound satisfaction. Many of these places offer sumptuous displays of pizza already sliced under glass, where newly invented pies are flaunted, but the plain cheese slice eaten right out of the oven remains the most fundamental.

I sample pizzas constantly as I travel around the boroughs, and here are my current 10 favorites in no particular order with only one requirement — that they be sold by the slice.

Spicy salami slice at L’Industrie

Stare at this wonderful slice for a few minutes before you dig in and you’ll realize it owes a lot to the pies made by the late Dom DeMarco of Di Fara. The crust is thin and semi-crisp. The sauce is unfussy but still flavorful. And the slice wears a thin layer of cheese applied at just before serving. The modest innovation made by Williamsburg pizza powerhouse L’Industrie has been the addition of spicy salami, making a flavor bomb that you’ll be thinking about hours later. 254 S. Second Street, at Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg

A wedge of pizza with some curls of cheese on top and a couple of basil leaves.
Spicy salami slice at Williamsburg’s L’Industrie, right under the BQE.

Greek slice at Rosetta

Rosetta is a newish slice shop in the West Village on the south side of 14th Street, which is a rather obscure location when it comes to foot traffic. The profuse display is partly square pies with a substantial crust barrier around the edge, as if the pizza makers might be afraid the ingredients were about to run away. If you’re an olive lover, as I am, the combination of two varieties plus purple onion and basil on a carpet of plain tomato sauce proves the perfect showcase for olives. 304 W. 14th Street, near Ninth Avenue, West Village

A square pastry with two kinds of olives deposited therein.
Two kinds of olives grace the Greek slice.

Plain cheese slice at Scarr’s

A substantial amount of extra effort has been put into each aspect of this neighborhood-style slice at Scarr’s, and it shows in many subtle ways. The flour is ground on the premises, the pizzas cooked slightly more the average, the sauce carefully adjusted for pungency, and the superior cheese carefully distributed. This is one of the best examples of the city’s archetypal cheese slices, and I challenge you to find a better one. 22 Orchard Street, near Canal Street, Lower East Side

A wedge-shaped cheese slice, white and brown and red.
Scarr’s plain cheese.

White slice at Steinway Pizza

Let’s invent a story about how a pizza maker found himself unaccountably out of tomato sauce, as an angry crowd raged outside shaking their fists and demanding slices. Improvising, he grabbed a tub of ricotta and grated on some garlic and voila! The white slice was born. It was a colossal hit and at Steinway Pizza, it continues to be for lovers of dairy and garlic who believe tomato sauce gives them heartburn. 31-51 Steinway Street, between Broadway and 31st Avenue, Astoria

A wedge of white pizza with clumps of whiter ricotta.
The white slice at Steinway Pizza.

Sicilian slice at Joe & Sal’s

Once it was Nino’s Pizza, then it turned into Joe & Sal’s a few years ago, but the picture of a young Michael Jackson and the old Brooklyn atmosphere remain. The Sicilian is the thing to get, denser and slightly more compact than most but bursting with flavor. The crust is a little harder too, dispelling the expectation created by many Sicilian slices that they will be puffy and cloudlike. This is a hardcore slice, and one that made me smile as I chewed every last inch of it. There’s also a Fort Greene location. 842 Franklin Avenue, between Union and President streets, Crown Heights

A square slice of pizza turned at a 45 degree angle to make it diamond shaped.
Joe & Sal’s Sicilian slice.

Sausage and pepper slice at Manero’s

Is it worth it to brave the crowds in Little Italy just to get a piece of pizza? The answer is yes for this slice that riffs on that street fair fave of the sausage-and-pepper hero. The onion and red bell pepper provide sweetness, and the sausage tastes of fennel and pork. Relative newcomer Manero’s is a bit heavier and greasier than the average Neapolitan slice. 113 Mulberry Street, between Canal and Hester streets, Little Italy

A slice on a white paper plate.
Sausage and pepper slice at Manero’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Grandma Sicilian square at Mazzola Bakery

Let your eye wander from this 1928 Sicilian bakery’s famous lard bread and butter cookies to the pizza counter in the rear, where a selection of round and square pies are on display. This slice is the best, thinner than usual for a Sicilian, crusty like good bread, and generously furnished with white irrigation ponds of mutz. The sauce is as thick and sweet as you want it to be, at this bakery well worth the walk from the F train. 192 Union Street, at President Street, Carroll Gardens

A tray of square slices splotched with fresh mozzarella.
Grandma Sicilian square at Mazzola Bakery.

Cheese slice at Napoli’s Best Pizza

Sometimes a pizza has a crust so good it nearly overshadows the rest of the slice, and that’s the case at Napoli’s Best Pizza, where the stippled cheese and plainish tomato sauce form an agreeable amalgam, with a slight hint of dried herbs. But it’s the muffled snap as you bite into it that will make you remember the slice long afterwards. 521 East Tremont Avenue, at 3rd Avenue, Mt. Hope

A slice on a plate against a green Formica background.
Cheese slice at Napoli’s Best Pizza.

Sicilian slice at Pizza Sam

When you depend on a Sicilian square to be your entire meal — Pizza Sam is your place. It was founded in 1967 on a rather nondescript stretch of Northern Boulevard (which means plenty of parking) in Jackson Heights. The slice in question is thick, oily, and dense, and the tomato sauce more highly flavored than most, making it a very memorable eating experience. 86-06 Northern Boulevard, between 89th and 90th streets, Jackson Heights

A square slice with bright red sauce and ivory cheese.
Sicilian slice at Pizza Sam.

Poached pear slice at Mama’s Too

If you savor freaky inventions in the pizza world, far Upper West Sider Mama’s Too is a master at it. The cacio e pepe features three kinds of cheeses along with cracked black peppercorns, but my favorite lately has been the poached pear square, which deploys pear poached as if intended for a dessert and then caramelized in the oven as a sea of gorgonzola washes over it. 2750 Broadway, near 106th Street

A rectangular slice topped with caramelized pears.
Poached pear slice at Mama’s Too.

Pizza Sam

89-06 Northern Boulevard, Queens, NY 11372 (718) 335-3800 Visit Website

Mazzola Bakery

529 Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (718) 643-1719 Visit Website

Pizza Wagon

8610 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209 (718) 836-5725

Manero's of Mulberry

113 Mulberry Street, Manhattan, NY 10013 (212) 961-6183 Visit Website

Mama's TOO!

2750 Broadway, Manhattan, NY 10025 (212) 510-7256 Visit Website

Steinway Pizza

31-51 Steinway Street, Queens, NY 11103 (718) 274-4250 Visit Website

Scarr's Pizza

35 Orchard Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 334-3481 Visit Website

Napoli's Best Pizza

521 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, NY 10457 (718) 299-0759

L'Industrie Pizzeria

254 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 599-0002 Visit Website