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A very plain storefront on a corner with a gray haired man standing in front.
Outside of Golden Pizza, home to one of the best cheese slices in the Bronx.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Eater Critic Robert Sietsema’s 18 Favorite Pizza Slices

Alluring variations on the NYC staple in every borough

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Outside of Golden Pizza, home to one of the best cheese slices in the Bronx.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pizza by the slice offered in neighborhood joints remains the backbone of inexpensive New York City eats — though formidably challenged by tacos, samosas, steamed bao, empanadas, and other hand-held snacks. Yet pizza by the slice didn’t really arise until the 1950s, when the stacked pizza oven became commonplace. Pizza could be made and slices reheated simultaneously at different temperatures in the oven’s multiple levels. Veterans returning from World War II were our first neighborhood pizza impresarios, but eventually immigrants from Italy, Albania, Mexico, and other places took over.

Though the city is awash in pizza styles — coal-oven pies, pies from Detroit and Chicago, dollar slices, Roman styles, lushly topped focaccia, Cajun pizza, Sicilian sheet pizza, California pizza, national franchise pizza, grilled pizza, deep-fried pizza, pies pretending to be the true pie of Naples, New Haven clam pies, cracker-crusted bar pies, Indian pizza, and too many Staten Island varieties to count — the neighborhood slice, unpretentious yet innovative, remains New York City’s default style.

So join me gazing into the alluring glass case at any neighborhood pizzeria in town, as I make an idiosyncratic selection of slices that are more than worth giving a try.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Lasagna slice at Broadway Pizza & Pasta

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Shape-shifting slices borrowed from other forms of Italian food (baked ziti slice, for example) are particularly filling, and often can make a full meal. Here at this Kingsbridge mainstay the lasagna slice is exemplary, with clumps of herby ground beef, squirts of ricotta, and a tomato sauce sweet enough to almost be your dessert.

A slice on white paper plate with little ponds of tomato sauce on a white cheese background.
Behold, the lasagna slice.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza

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This South Bronx mainstay without much seating on Mott Haven’s main drag turns out some magnificent pies of a plain variety. Really, the plain cheese slice accounts for most of its traffic, with pepperoni an optional addition. The crust is of medium weight, with middling cheese and a zesty sauce. I dream about slices like this that have no need to wow you with eye-catching toppings.

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate, with the cheese a bit splotchy.
The plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Sal & Carmine Pizza

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Founded in 1959, Upper West Sider Sal & Carmine is the plainest of the plain, and thus one of the city’s foremost paragons of the neighborhood slice genre. The crust is utilitarian, devoid of flashiness but totally getting the job done, while the sauce is subtly flavorful without announcing itself, and the ample good cheese mixes with the sauce so it becomes an amalgam. 

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate.
The plain slice at Sal & Carmine pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Amore Pizzeria

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Located in a strip shopping center just off the Whitestone Expressway between Flushing and College Point, where cars rush by on the way to LaGuardia in one direction and the Bronx in the other, Amore is a paragon of what might be called parking lot pizza, and much better than it needs to be. The pies are bigger and lusher than usual, meaning that individual slices are bigger, too. And the luxuriance of cheese means that the warm slice will flop around like a fish in your hand as you eat it. That’s Amore!

Slices of bright orange pizza being lifted two at a time off a pizza pan and deposited in a cardboard box.
Plain slices are hoisted from a pizza pan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

White pizza slice at Steinway Pizza

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The great white slice is the Moby Dick of the pizza world. Eschewing the tomato sauce, which provides acid and color to a pie, it goes all cheesy on us, ladling on the cheese so that it flows over the sides of the slice, then throwing gobs of ricotta — even whiter — like an abstract painter. This is where pizza meets khachapuri, and there’s no better white slice in town than Steinway’s, with its crust of modest thickness and opulent quantities of cheese.

A wedge-shaped slice glowing yellowish with four gobs of ricotta.
A classic white slice from Steinway Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Italian sausage Sicilian at NY Pizza Suprema

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Since 1964, the magnificent Pizza Suprema has been satisfying Penn Station commuters, who dash into the pizzeria for a quick slice and rarely linger. Office workers tend to stay at lunch, when all the booths and eating shelves are occupied. A wealth of slices are offered, but my favorite is the Sicilian sausage, with a gleaming, burnished crust and oblong slices of forcemeat thrown on helter-skelter, as if the pizzaiolo preferred that you get substantial bites of sausage once in a while rather than a little with every bite.

A very cheesy square slice with browned crust shining and lots of sliced Italian sausage.
A square slice overflows with melted cheese and Italian sausage at NY Pizza Suprema.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Buffalo chicken and plain cheese slices at Village Pizza

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This shoebox of a place with a faded sign offers the West Village’s best slice, which isn’t that much of an accomplishment since the pizza in this neighborhood tends to be terrible. But care and experience goes into making pies that fall way short of ostentatious, with a thin, crisp crust and generous quantities of cheese. It’s a toss up which I like better, the plain cheese or the Buffalo chicken slice — so I give you both.

Two wedge shaped slices of pizza, side by side.
Buffalo chicken and plain cheese slices.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Fresh mozzarella slice at Joe's Pizza

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Founded in 1975 when the corner of Carmine and Bleecker streets was one of the the city’s quintessential Italian neighborhoods, Joe’s has always been a paragon of plainness. The slices are mainly restricted to cheese, pepperoni, Sicilian, and a grandma slice, here termed “fresh mozzarella.” The latter is the best; like the plain cheese it boasts a sauce that’s seemingly herbless, a crust that is the slice’s most important element, and fresh mozzarella that squeaks slightly when you bit into it.

A wedge of pizza with very red sauce and very white cheese.
Fresh mozzarella slice at Joe’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Grandma slice at Gloria Pizza

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Situated just above the E and F lines in downtown Forest Hills, Gloria is another one of those pizzerias that believes itself to be an elegant restaurant, providing a streamlined modernity in its 1960s-era premises. The number of slice selections is greater than most, but my favorite is the grandma slice, which tastes like something you might have acquired at a street fair with its topping of tomato sauce and a fresh slice of tomato.

A square red slice with slab of white cheese and slice of fresh tomato on it.
A slice of tomato tops the grandma slice at Gloria Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sicilian grandma slice at Scarr's Pizza

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Call it neo-neighborhood if you like — this Lower East Side pizzeria looks much older than it is, and uses superior quality ingredients, including flour milled in the basement, to embroider on and improve the neighborhood pizzeria formula. The Sicilian grandma slice is a case in point, with a crunchy bottom on a flavorful crust, fresh mozzarella in addition to regular pizza cheese, and basil leaves draped across the top at the last minute.

A thick rectangular slice with three fresh basil leaves on top.
The grandma slice at Scarr’s comes laden with basil leaves.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slices at La Rondine Pizza

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Named after a migratory bird beloved by the composer Puccini, and founded in 1992, La Rondine makes one of the best plain cheese slices in Queens. Thin crusted and glove-soft, with plenty of good cheese and a sauce not afraid to advertise itself with a pleasant herbiness, enjoy it in a dining room decorated with a mural of Naples.

A wedge shaped slice with plenty or cheese.
The plain cheese slice at La Rondine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Eggplant parm slice at Sal's

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This Williamsburg mainstay, open since 1967, is one of Brooklyn’s more elegant pizzerias, and you’d never hesitate to take a date here. The place is decorated with lots of marble, and the slices are fastidiously turned out, with a “bone” (the circumferential hump of dough) thinner than most and dough more bouncy than crisp. My favorite here is an eggplant slice with little hillocks of ricotta.

A slice with fried eggplant and whipped ricotta and bright red tomato sauce.
The eggplant parm slice at Sal’s is loaded with tomato sauce and whipped ricotta.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ziti slice at Danny's Pizza

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Let’s say you can’t decide between pizza and pasta. Probably invented in the Bronx at least a decade earlier, the ziti slice at Danny’s — a semi-luxurious pizzeria in East Williamsburg — will answer the question for you, because you can have both. In many versions of this crazy slice the pasta is too soft, but Danny’s ziti is more al dente, making for a better chew, and the smothering of cheese makes this wonderful slice a satisfying full meal.

A slice with a topping of tubular pasta in cheese and sauce.
The ziti slice at Danny’s Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sicilian square at Sal's Pizzeria

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Yes, there are dozens of pizzerias with the name Sal plastered on the front, but this one is Bushwick’s greatest slice shop, and the sausage roll ain’t shabby, either. The corner storefront is spacious with views of the neighborhood, and the Sicilian is the best option — a perfect square, darker than most, crisp of crust with thick rivulets of perky sauce, and altogether excellent.

A dark square slice on tissue paper.
Order the Sicilian slice at Sal’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Margherita slice at Rocco Pizza III

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I’ve heard it said that this pizzeria is the one portrayed in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, but a check not long ago disproves that assertion (the film location was a freshly constructed set). Yet, the Bed-Stuy location is correct, and the place has the right late ’80s vibe. The pizzas are better than they need to be, including this spare margherita slice, with fresh mozzarella and a crust a little thicker than most neighborhood slices.

A wedge shaped slice with plenty of white cheese and shredded basil.
The margherita slice at Rocco is better than it needs to be.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Espresso Pizzeria

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Despite the name, coffee is not the whole point of this place near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Bay Ridge. Sure, the slice is cheesy, with the meltingly soft mozzarella in great pools, but the sauce is great, too, tasting powerfully of fresh tomatoes, even though the tomatoes are almost certainly canned. A real small-scale pizza miracle.

Two hands and an unseen body hold forth a slice of pizza on a paper plate.
A gleaming cheese slice from Espresso Pizzeria.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bacon slice at King's Pizza

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Kings Highway is Brooklyn’s Camino Real, and a major business zone radiates from the elevated Q and B tracks and the express station there. One spot secreted away underneath is Kings Pizza, which has almost too many pizza choices visible in its glass cases, swarmed by students when school lets out. Love bacon? Well the bacon slice has more of it in crumbled form, along with the ensuing smoky flavors, than any other slice featuring bacon I’ve ever come across. It’s like eating a pound of bacon at one sitting. (The slice is not always available.)

A narrow slice completely obliterated with crumbled bacon.
A narrow slice overflowing with crumbled bacon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lasagna slice at Pizza D'Oro

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Located in Staten Island’s Bulls Head neighborhood, Pizza D’Oro produces lush and lucullan pies with thick puffy crusts and splashes of tomato sauce and exemplary mutz. My favorite slice comes from the lasagna pie, which boasts fragmented meatballs, Italian sausage, mozzarella, and ricotta, making it almost too rich to eat more than one or two slices.

A whole pizza with irregularly applied cheese and meat, and a puffy crust.
The luxurious lasagna pie from Pizza D’Oro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lasagna slice at Broadway Pizza & Pasta

A slice on white paper plate with little ponds of tomato sauce on a white cheese background.
Behold, the lasagna slice.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Shape-shifting slices borrowed from other forms of Italian food (baked ziti slice, for example) are particularly filling, and often can make a full meal. Here at this Kingsbridge mainstay the lasagna slice is exemplary, with clumps of herby ground beef, squirts of ricotta, and a tomato sauce sweet enough to almost be your dessert.

A slice on white paper plate with little ponds of tomato sauce on a white cheese background.
Behold, the lasagna slice.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate, with the cheese a bit splotchy.
The plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This South Bronx mainstay without much seating on Mott Haven’s main drag turns out some magnificent pies of a plain variety. Really, the plain cheese slice accounts for most of its traffic, with pepperoni an optional addition. The crust is of medium weight, with middling cheese and a zesty sauce. I dream about slices like this that have no need to wow you with eye-catching toppings.

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate, with the cheese a bit splotchy.
The plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Sal & Carmine Pizza

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate.
The plain slice at Sal & Carmine pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Founded in 1959, Upper West Sider Sal & Carmine is the plainest of the plain, and thus one of the city’s foremost paragons of the neighborhood slice genre. The crust is utilitarian, devoid of flashiness but totally getting the job done, while the sauce is subtly flavorful without announcing itself, and the ample good cheese mixes with the sauce so it becomes an amalgam. 

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate.
The plain slice at Sal & Carmine pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slice at Amore Pizzeria

Slices of bright orange pizza being lifted two at a time off a pizza pan and deposited in a cardboard box.
Plain slices are hoisted from a pizza pan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Located in a strip shopping center just off the Whitestone Expressway between Flushing and College Point, where cars rush by on the way to LaGuardia in one direction and the Bronx in the other, Amore is a paragon of what might be called parking lot pizza, and much better than it needs to be. The pies are bigger and lusher than usual, meaning that individual slices are bigger, too. And the luxuriance of cheese means that the warm slice will flop around like a fish in your hand as you eat it. That’s Amore!

Slices of bright orange pizza being lifted two at a time off a pizza pan and deposited in a cardboard box.
Plain slices are hoisted from a pizza pan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

White pizza slice at Steinway Pizza

A wedge-shaped slice glowing yellowish with four gobs of ricotta.
A classic white slice from Steinway Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The great white slice is the Moby Dick of the pizza world. Eschewing the tomato sauce, which provides acid and color to a pie, it goes all cheesy on us, ladling on the cheese so that it flows over the sides of the slice, then throwing gobs of ricotta — even whiter — like an abstract painter. This is where pizza meets khachapuri, and there’s no better white slice in town than Steinway’s, with its crust of modest thickness and opulent quantities of cheese.

A wedge-shaped slice glowing yellowish with four gobs of ricotta.
A classic white slice from Steinway Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Italian sausage Sicilian at NY Pizza Suprema

A very cheesy square slice with browned crust shining and lots of sliced Italian sausage.
A square slice overflows with melted cheese and Italian sausage at NY Pizza Suprema.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Since 1964, the magnificent Pizza Suprema has been satisfying Penn Station commuters, who dash into the pizzeria for a quick slice and rarely linger. Office workers tend to stay at lunch, when all the booths and eating shelves are occupied. A wealth of slices are offered, but my favorite is the Sicilian sausage, with a gleaming, burnished crust and oblong slices of forcemeat thrown on helter-skelter, as if the pizzaiolo preferred that you get substantial bites of sausage once in a while rather than a little with every bite.

A very cheesy square slice with browned crust shining and lots of sliced Italian sausage.
A square slice overflows with melted cheese and Italian sausage at NY Pizza Suprema.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Buffalo chicken and plain cheese slices at Village Pizza

Two wedge shaped slices of pizza, side by side.
Buffalo chicken and plain cheese slices.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This shoebox of a place with a faded sign offers the West Village’s best slice, which isn’t that much of an accomplishment since the pizza in this neighborhood tends to be terrible. But care and experience goes into making pies that fall way short of ostentatious, with a thin, crisp crust and generous quantities of cheese. It’s a toss up which I like better, the plain cheese or the Buffalo chicken slice — so I give you both.

Two wedge shaped slices of pizza, side by side.
Buffalo chicken and plain cheese slices.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Fresh mozzarella slice at Joe's Pizza

A wedge of pizza with very red sauce and very white cheese.
Fresh mozzarella slice at Joe’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Founded in 1975 when the corner of Carmine and Bleecker streets was one of the the city’s quintessential Italian neighborhoods, Joe’s has always been a paragon of plainness. The slices are mainly restricted to cheese, pepperoni, Sicilian, and a grandma slice, here termed “fresh mozzarella.” The latter is the best; like the plain cheese it boasts a sauce that’s seemingly herbless, a crust that is the slice’s most important element, and fresh mozzarella that squeaks slightly when you bit into it.

A wedge of pizza with very red sauce and very white cheese.
Fresh mozzarella slice at Joe’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Grandma slice at Gloria Pizza

A square red slice with slab of white cheese and slice of fresh tomato on it.
A slice of tomato tops the grandma slice at Gloria Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Situated just above the E and F lines in downtown Forest Hills, Gloria is another one of those pizzerias that believes itself to be an elegant restaurant, providing a streamlined modernity in its 1960s-era premises. The number of slice selections is greater than most, but my favorite is the grandma slice, which tastes like something you might have acquired at a street fair with its topping of tomato sauce and a fresh slice of tomato.

A square red slice with slab of white cheese and slice of fresh tomato on it.
A slice of tomato tops the grandma slice at Gloria Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sicilian grandma slice at Scarr's Pizza

A thick rectangular slice with three fresh basil leaves on top.
The grandma slice at Scarr’s comes laden with basil leaves.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Call it neo-neighborhood if you like — this Lower East Side pizzeria looks much older than it is, and uses superior quality ingredients, including flour milled in the basement, to embroider on and improve the neighborhood pizzeria formula. The Sicilian grandma slice is a case in point, with a crunchy bottom on a flavorful crust, fresh mozzarella in addition to regular pizza cheese, and basil leaves draped across the top at the last minute.

A thick rectangular slice with three fresh basil leaves on top.
The grandma slice at Scarr’s comes laden with basil leaves.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Plain cheese slices at La Rondine Pizza

A wedge shaped slice with plenty or cheese.
The plain cheese slice at La Rondine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Named after a migratory bird beloved by the composer Puccini, and founded in 1992, La Rondine makes one of the best plain cheese slices in Queens. Thin crusted and glove-soft, with plenty of good cheese and a sauce not afraid to advertise itself with a pleasant herbiness, enjoy it in a dining room decorated with a mural of Naples.

A wedge shaped slice with plenty or cheese.
The plain cheese slice at La Rondine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Eggplant parm slice at Sal's

A slice with fried eggplant and whipped ricotta and bright red tomato sauce.
The eggplant parm slice at Sal’s is loaded with tomato sauce and whipped ricotta.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Williamsburg mainstay, open since 1967, is one of Brooklyn’s more elegant pizzerias, and you’d never hesitate to take a date here. The place is decorated with lots of marble, and the slices are fastidiously turned out, with a “bone” (the circumferential hump of dough) thinner than most and dough more bouncy than crisp. My favorite here is an eggplant slice with little hillocks of ricotta.