The Brooklyn Paper newsroom was up in arms a few weeks ago following the publication of a listicle in a digital media company that shall remain unnamed, that purported to list the “Best Pizza Restaurants in Brooklyn.”
While untold gallons of ink have been spilled on the subject of Brooklyn pizzerias and everyone from Coney Island to Greenpoint has an opinion on which slice joint is the best, this particular list struck a nerve among the sauce-stained wretches that staff this newspaper. Not only did the list cater overwhelmingly to the newer breed of hyped-up pizza places dishing out Instagram-friendly slices at above-average prices — of 21 pizzerias, it only included two in southern Brooklyn.
After a good deal of grumbling, we here at Brooklyn Paper have assembled our own ranking, with an emphasis on under-the-radar spots and neighborhood institutions, but a few gourmet spots and tourist attractions as well.
Luigi’s Pizza is our platonic ideal of a Brooklyn pizza shop, and the pizzaiolo’s pizzeria. Since 1973, the lowkey wood paneled shop near Green-Wood Cemetery has put out perfect pies made with gobsmackingly good tomato sauce on perfectly crunchy crust. Following the death of the shop’s namesake Luigi Lanzo, the Lanzo family is keeping the tradition going and keeping the best pizza in Brooklyn alive.
686 5th Ave. in Greenwood.
What’s there to say about Di Fara that hasn’t already been said? The Midwood institution has still got it — health code violations, tax troubles and all. There’s a reason pizza aficionados travel from across the world to line up on Avenue J for a slice.
1424 Ave. J in Midwood.
L&B Spumoni Gardens
A staple on just about every “best pizza” list, but there’s no denying the hype over this long-running institution. A summer night in southern Brooklyn feels incomplete without devouring a red Sicilian pie at an outdoor table with a group of friends, and topping it off with a cup of spumoni.
2725 86th St. in Gravesend and 46 Old Fulton St. in DUMBO.
An under-the-radar neighborhood joint in Boerum Hill, Caruso’s Pizza isn’t making it onto many “best of” pizza lists. But the restaurant sets itself apart from the crowd with the use of a single ingredient: sesame seeds. Coating the crust, every bite is full of nutty, toasty flavors not usually associated with pizza.
150 Smith St., Boerum Hill
Gourmet slice shop Norm’s quietly opened in Downtown Brooklyn in September of 2019, quickly becoming a lunchtime hit among the office workers and government employees of America’s Downtown. Norm’s offers elevated versions of classic slice shop fare, as well as specialties like their pillowy soft Sicilian style slices made with sourdough
345 Adams St., Downtown Brooklyn.
Chef David Sheridan has been steadily making some of the best gourmet pies in Brooklyn since opening on a quieter stretch of Church Avenue in 2012. Offering thin crust Neapolitan pies baked in an electric oven rather than a wood-burning oven, each pie is named for a Brooklyn neighborhood, such as the Brighton Beach pie, which features bacon, garlic, black pepper, and Parmiggiano, and the Canarsie, which features baby spinach, fennel sausage, both fresh and aged Mozzarella, Parmiggiano, and Pecorino.
905 Church Ave. in Flatbush.
Serving Bay Ridge since 1966, Pizza Wagon is New York pizza as it’s meant to be. Utilizing a perfect cheese to sauce ratio, their slices are practically grease free, with a wide variety of creative toppings to satisfy all your cheesiest dreams.
8610 Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge.
Screamer’s Pizza just might be the only all-vegan pizzeria we’ll recommend a visit to. With locations in Greenpoint and Crown Heights, the restaurant uses vegan cheeses, meat substitutes, and vegetables to provide a vegan version of a classic slice shop.
620 Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint and 685 Franklin Ave. in Crown Heights.
This Park Slope shop keeps it simple, but with outstanding quality for an economy slice purveyor. Pizza Plus is a bastion of consistency in a land dotted with pizza, where the crust is surprisingly flavorful, the sauce always fresh, and the cheese applied with a perfect ratio.
359 7th Ave. in Park Slope
My Little Pizzeria
This Downtown Brooklyn pie shop isn’t out to reinvent the wheel, but it succeeds in its mission to provide comfortingly reliable slices to the hundreds of busy Brooklynites who filter in and out of its doors every day in search of utility pizza slices on their lunch breaks, or the kids and families who devour pies in their backyard.
114 Court St., Downtown Brooklyn