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A very plain storefront on a corner with a gray haired man standing in front.
Golden Pizza, in Mott Haven, the Bronx
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Critic Robert Sietsema’s Top 12 Neighborhood Pizza Slices

While plain cheese is the default, there are a few with more exotic trappings

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Golden Pizza, in Mott Haven, the Bronx
| Robert Sietsema/Eater

New York City is awash in pizza styles. We’ve got coal-oven pies, pies from Detroit and Chicago, dollar slices, a pair of Roman styles, thick and lushly topped focaccia, Cajun pizza, Sicilian sheet pizza, California pizza, national franchise pizza, grilled pizza and deep-fried pizza, pies pretending to be the true pie of Naples, New Haven cheese-less clam pies, cracker-crusted bar pies, Indian pizza, and too many Staten Island varieties to count. Trying to decide what kind of pizza to eat at any given moment is almost too much responsibility for one person.

Yet underpinning this pizza cavalcade lie our humble neighborhood pizzerias, which arrived following World War II when veterans returned from the war and the stacked oven was invented, permitting individual slices to be reheated at different temperatures even as new pies were being baked. Day in and day out, these sainted places have provided nourishment and even joy to New Yorkers intent on dining cheaply and well. Even today, one can often be fed for $5 or so.

Here are a dozen of my favorite neighborhood slices. While the plain cheese is always something of a default, I’ve also included a few with more-exotic trappings. And please tell me about your favorite neighborhood slices in the comments, or by email (robert@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. White slice at Louie & Ernie's Pizza

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1300 Crosby Ave
The Bronx, NY 10461
(718) 829-6230
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Obscurely situated on the ground floor of a house in the Schuylerville section of the Bronx on the way to Throgs Neck, Louie & Ernie’s is a much-loved institution in this neck of the woods. The crusts are a bit thicker then most and the Italian sausage slice is one of my favorites. But even better is the over-the-top white pie, with cheese that literally surges off the slice as each cut is made.

A tomato free slice on a paper plate with a ridiculous amount of cheese on it. Robert Sietsema/Eater

2. Plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza

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504 E 138th St
The Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 665-8328

This South Bronx mainstay without much seating on Mott Haven’s main drag turns out some magnificent pies of a plainish sort. Really, the plain cheese slice accounts for most of its traffic, with pepperoni an optional addition. The crust is of medium weight, not prefab in the least, 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater

3. Plain cheese slice at Sal and Carmine Pizza

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2671 Broadway
New York, NY 10025
(212) 663-7651
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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 threatens to mix with the sauce so it becomes virtually one idealized entity. 

A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate. Robert Sietsema/Eater

4. Plain cheese slice at Marinara Pizza

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1376 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128
(646) 559-5100
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It’s hard to imagine a more unprepossessing place than this Upper East Side neighborhood pizzeria, which seems like a generic evocation rather than a unique institution, with a name that seems more appropriate for pasta than pizza, and branches tucked here and there around Manhattan. Yet the slices, and the cheese slice in particular, are incredibly solid, with twice as much cheese as the quantity of unsweet and barely herby sauce, and a crust that’s substantial without being bready. A perfect balance!

A slice of plain cheese pizza with tip pointing down and to the right. Robert Sietsema/Eater

5. Plain cheese slice at Amore Pizzeria

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30-27 Stratton St
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 445-0579

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, hidden away in strip shopping centers and much better than they need 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater

6. Italian sausage Sicilian at NY Pizza Suprema

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413 8th Ave
New York, NY 10001
(212) 594-8939
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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. Robert Sietsema/Eater

7. White spinach slice at Stella's Pizza

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110 9th Ave #1
New York, NY 10011
(212) 462-4444
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Stella’s Pizza was founded in 1997 in the southwest corner of Chelsea, making it young in pizza years. A portrait of the original Stella, possibly the founder’s mother though no one seems to know at this point, still hangs over the pizza ovens. With little in the way of seating, this tiny place turns out exceptional pizzas. Sure, the plain cheese slice and the barbecue chicken slice are dreamy, but the real jewel in the crown is the white spinach slice, paved with the fresh green leaves and plenty of cheese, reeking of garlic. It’s a salad and pizza rolled into one.

A cheesy white slice of pizza with plenty of fresh spinach leaves on it. Robert Sietsema/Eater

8. Ziti slice at Danny's Pizza

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241 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206
(718) 381-1669
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Let’s say you can’t decide between pizza and pasta. Probably invented in the Bronx 10 years 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater

9. Plain cheese slice at Rogelio's Pizza

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298 Irving Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 456-1005
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Pizzerias don’t get any tinier than Rogelio’s, tucked away on a side street in Bushwick just off Myrtle Avenue. The slices are flat enough to be easily folded and eaten while walking (the fabled “New York fold”). The place doesn’t go for herbs or sugar in its sauce, making it reminiscent of Joe’s in the Village. The plain cheese slice is a favorite, with cheese stippled rather than freely flowing, but cheese of exceptional quality. For the plain-slice fan, welcome to nirvana.

A pizza slice with a modest amount of sauce and stippled with cheese on a paper plate. Robert Sietsema/Eater

10. Plain cheese slice at Espresso Pizzeria

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9403 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 833-8750

Despite the name, coffee is not the whole point of this place not far from 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 most certainly canned. A real small-scale pizza miracle.

Two hands and an unseen body hold forth a slice of pizza on a paper plate. Robert Sietsema/Eater

11. Bacon slice at King's Pizza

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1688 East 16th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11229
(718) 627-8434
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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.

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

12. Lasagna slice at Pizza D'Oro

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3115 Victory Blvd #1
Staten Island, NY 10314
(718) 698-8873
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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. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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1. White slice at Louie & Ernie's Pizza

1300 Crosby Ave, The Bronx, NY 10461
A tomato free slice on a paper plate with a ridiculous amount of cheese on it. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Obscurely situated on the ground floor of a house in the Schuylerville section of the Bronx on the way to Throgs Neck, Louie & Ernie’s is a much-loved institution in this neck of the woods. The crusts are a bit thicker then most and the Italian sausage slice is one of my favorites. But even better is the over-the-top white pie, with cheese that literally surges off the slice as each cut is made.

1300 Crosby Ave
The Bronx, NY 10461

2. Plain cheese slice at Golden Pizza

504 E 138th St, The Bronx, NY 10454
A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate, with the cheese a bit splotchy. Robert Sietsema/Eater

This South Bronx mainstay without much seating on Mott Haven’s main drag turns out some magnificent pies of a plainish sort. Really, the plain cheese slice accounts for most of its traffic, with pepperoni an optional addition. The crust is of medium weight, not prefab in the least, with middling cheese and a zesty sauce. I dream about slices like this that have no need to wow you with eye-catching toppings.

504 E 138th St
The Bronx, NY 10454

3. Plain cheese slice at Sal and Carmine Pizza

2671 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
A very plain cheese slice on a white paper plate. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 threatens to mix with the sauce so it becomes virtually one idealized entity. 

2671 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

4. Plain cheese slice at Marinara Pizza

1376 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128
A slice of plain cheese pizza with tip pointing down and to the right. Robert Sietsema/Eater

It’s hard to imagine a more unprepossessing place than this Upper East Side neighborhood pizzeria, which seems like a generic evocation rather than a unique institution, with a name that seems more appropriate for pasta than pizza, and branches tucked here and there around Manhattan. Yet the slices, and the cheese slice in particular, are incredibly solid, with twice as much cheese as the quantity of unsweet and barely herby sauce, and a crust that’s substantial without being bready. A perfect balance!

1376 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128

5. Plain cheese slice at Amore Pizzeria

30-27 Stratton St, Flushing, NY 11354
Slices of bright orange pizza being lifted two at a time off a pizza pan and deposited in a cardboard box. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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, hidden away in strip shopping centers and much better than they need 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!

30-27 Stratton St
Flushing, NY 11354

6. Italian sausage Sicilian at NY Pizza Suprema

413 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001
A very cheesy square slice with browned crust shining and lots of sliced Italian sausage. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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.

413 8th Ave
New York, NY 10001

7. White spinach slice at Stella's Pizza

110 9th Ave #1, New York, NY 10011
A cheesy white slice of pizza with plenty of fresh spinach leaves on it. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Stella’s Pizza was founded in 1997 in the southwest corner of Chelsea, making it young in pizza years. A portrait of the original Stella, possibly the founder’s mother though no one seems to know at this point, still hangs over the pizza ovens. With little in the way of seating, this tiny place turns out exceptional pizzas. Sure, the plain cheese slice and the barbecue chicken slice are dreamy, but the real jewel in the crown is the white spinach slice, paved with the fresh green leaves and plenty of cheese, reeking of garlic. It’s a salad and pizza rolled into one.

110 9th Ave #1
New York, NY 10011

8. Ziti slice at Danny's Pizza

241 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206
A slice with a topping of tubular pasta in cheese and sauce. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Let’s say you can’t decide between pizza and pasta. Probably invented in the Bronx 10 years 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.

241 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206

9. Plain cheese slice at Rogelio's Pizza

298 Irving Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
A pizza slice with a modest amount of sauce and stippled with cheese on a paper plate. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Pizzerias don’t get any tinier than Rogelio’s, tucked away on a side street in Bushwick just off Myrtle Avenue. The slices are flat enough to be easily folded and eaten while walking (the fabled “New York fold”). The place doesn’t go for herbs or sugar in its sauce, making it reminiscent of Joe’s in the Village. The plain cheese slice is a favorite, with cheese stippled rather than freely flowing, but cheese of exceptional quality. For the plain-slice fan, welcome to nirvana.

298 Irving Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237

10. Plain cheese slice at Espresso Pizzeria

9403 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Two hands and an unseen body hold forth a slice of pizza on a paper plate. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Despite the name, coffee is not the whole point of this place not far from 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 most certainly canned. A real small-scale pizza miracle.

9403 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

11. Bacon slice at King's Pizza

1688 East 16th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11229
A narrow slice completely obliterated with crumbled bacon. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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.

1688 East 16th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11229

12. Lasagna slice at Pizza D'Oro

3115 Victory Blvd #1, Staten Island, NY 10314
A whole pizza with irregularly applied cheese and meat, and a puffy crust. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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.

3115 Victory Blvd #1
Staten Island, NY 10314

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