With everything from old-school coal-oven-baked slices to nouveau pies dressed with innovative toppings, Brooklyn is the pizza capital of the country. Legendary pizza makers have been slinging pies here for decades, while in recent years the borough was the incubator for the new-wave Neapolitan craze. What makes the pizza so good here? Many believe it’s the special qualities of New York City water.
There was a time when Grimaldi's was synonymous with Brooklyn pizza, and its pies convinced many Manhattanites and visitors to make a trip over the bridge. (It's lost some of its magic over the years, so if you're in DUMBO, you're better off going to neighboring Juliana's.) But that's just the tip of the iceberg in pizza-loving Brooklyn, where there's an overwhelming number of places to find a good pie. To help you out, we've handpicked our favorites across the borough, those places we think reflect the best of Brooklyn's pizza-making scene.
Where: Crown Heights
Sometimes a pizza parlor is more than just a spot for a bite to eat; it’s a gathering place, a place to warm your bones night after night. Barboncino is that and more. Here, friends meet for specialties like the standout Neapolitan pizza (order the “Arugula”) and the famous veal and pork meatballs topped with Parmesan and for the convivial bar scene. Settle in with the after-work crowd and you'll feel like a Crown Heights local. Or stop by for late-night drink specials. Tuesday is jazz night.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights Guide
Di Fara Pizza
Brooklyn legend Domenico De Marco has been handcrafting pizzas with top-quality ingredients in this Midwood storefront for fifty years, and even the locals are willing to wait upward of an hour (and sometimes two) for pizza that's a contender for best in the greater New York area.
You can order a slice ($5), but you're better off with a whole pie, since the pizza-maker waits until there are enough slice orders to complete a pie. The “classic” is topped with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions ($33), but the “regular” ($29) lets you appreciate the pure goodness.
The small, worn space has only a handful of tables (no table service), so don't expect anything fancy—just great pizza. For a shorter wait, arrive well before they open at noon and note that they're closed between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Di Fara recently extended its hours to include Tuesdays. But it's uncertain whether this will be permanent, so check before you head out.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Ditmas Park and Midwood Guide
L&B Spumoni Gardens
Brooklynites make summertime pilgrimages to L&B Spumoni’s outdoor garden for squares of Sicilian-style pizza—the crunchy crust has a thin layer of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and just a drizzle of olive oil on top. L&B Spumoni’s is three restaurants in one: a pizzeria, an informal Italian restaurant, and an ice cream shop. The restaurant serves classics like fried calamari; Caesar salad; and marinara, Bolognese, carbonara, and Alfredo pastas. Whatever you come for, don’t leave L&B without a scoop of spumoni ice cream.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Brooklyn Guide
When it comes to pizza there’s stiff competition, but Paulie Gee’s serves outstanding gourmet pies with all kinds of creative toppings—the idea to put Mike's Hot Honey on pizza is just one of many strokes of genius. The extensive list of offerings includes the “Anise and Anephew” (Paulie Gee’s personal favorite) made with braised fennel, Berkshire guanciale, and fresh mozzarella, plus a full page of vegan pies. The handmade wood-fired oven is from Naples’ famed oven-maker Stefano Ferrara. The average wait time for a table on Friday or Saturday night is an hour.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Greenpoint Guide
A neighborhood groundbreaker since it opened in 2008, this restaurant in a former garage is a must-visit, especially for pizza connoisseurs. The menu emphasizes hyperlocal ingredients—there's a rooftop garden—and the wood-fired pizzas have innovative combinations of toppings like fennel, pork sausage, and pistachio. There are also pastas and meaty mains, along with a vegetarian-friendly option or two.
In summer service extends to a hip patio tiki bar. Roberta's is wildly popular, so either come early or try for a table at lunch or brunch, which isn't as hectic. Blanca, the two-Michelin-starred tasting-menu-only ($195 per person, Wednesday–Saturday) restaurant on the Roberta's property serves innovative New American food. It's by reservation only.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bushwick and East Williamsburg Guide
Toby’s Public House
Where: South Slope
Loyal patrons may have been happy to keep the word from spreading about this top-quality thin-crust pizza, but the secret is out. There are many delectable options, from classic margherita to fig and Gorgonzola or smoked pancetta and black garlic, and a tempting selection of salads, too. It's a lively spot, with several TVs showing sports games and a family clientele.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Windsor Terrace, Greenwood Heights, and South Slope Guide
Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano
Where: Coney Island
Thin-crust pies judiciously topped with fresh mozzarella and tangy, homemade tomato sauce, then baked in a coal oven—at Totonno's you're not just eating pizza, you're biting into a slice of New York history.
Not much has changed since Anthony (Totonno) Pero first opened the pizzeria in 1924, right after the subways started running to Coney Island—the restaurant is at the same location and run by the same family, who uses ingredients and techniques that have been handed down through four generations. The casual dining room is old-school, too, with checkerboard linoleum flooring; red-top tables; and wall-to-wall autographed photos, historic news clippings, and awards and accolades (including the James Beard American Classic).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Brighton Beach and Coney Island Guide