Neapolitan Style Pizza Makeovers Challenge Old-School Contenders with Yummy Results

Pizza has undergone a revelation in recent years in New York. Dough experts (Co.)and cheese makers (Keste) are revamping the traditional pies with creative new ideas and breathing new life into established ideas about pizza. Even so, some of the old-world Italian pizzerias, like Di Fara, still have what it takes to compete.  Whatever your preference, we have both options narrowed down to the best.  Grab a slice and dig in.

10 Denino's Pizzeria
Denino's is the only tavern on this list. If you want your pies with an icy cold pitcher of beer, this is your place. Since 1937 locals on Staten Island have been enjoying chewy, softer-crusted pies in this casual, family friendly atmosphere. This pizzeria is so far off the beaten path, visitors can relax and get a taste of New York most tourists don't see. Chat up some locals while sipping on drafts, but if you come on a weekend, be prepared to wait and brave the crowds. It may be out of the way, but it isn't a secret. TRAIN: N/A (718-442-9401)

9 Grimaldi's
Grimaldi's is a New York pizza tradition. Their pies, light and sweet with airy crust and just a touch of smoky flavor, helped to set the standard for others and the quality has not diminished. In a new location in DUMBO, right next to their original spot, Grimaldi's continues to bake tasty pizzas in their coal-fired oven. This oven is the original reason Brooklyn claimed this pizza dynasty. Coal ovens were illegal in Manhattan and the Grimaldi's wanted smoky tasting pies and efficient heating, so they opened in Brooklyn long before it was trendy to. TRAIN: A, C at High St.; 2, 3 at Clark St.; F at York St. (718-858-4300)

8 Luzzo's
As one of the top rated pizzerias in New York, Luzzo's is surprisingly quiet and accessible. Cafe style wooden tables and chairs lead back to a bright kitchen where artful pies are crafted. Italian music videos create a really authentic feel. This is not old-world Italian, but feels like you could be transported to modern day Italy. The pizzas are crisped in a coal oven, topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella and shaved parmesan. TRAIN: L to 1st Ave. (212-473-7447)

7 Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano
This homey, coal fired pizza spot may seem remote, way out in Coney Island, but pie-master Anthony "Totonno" Pero had a plan when he opened in 1924. The train lines were just being built, providing a kind of access and mobility not previously enjoyed by New Yorkers. Before the trains, he honed his trade at famed pizzeria Lombardi's and sold his string-tied pizzas out of a truck, a perfect resume for the creator of one of the city's best pizza joints. The Neptune Avenue eatery is bright and casual, featuring checked tile floors and framed accolaides lining the walls. TRAIN: N, B, D, F to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave (718-372-8606)

6 Co.
Co., pronounced "company" is all about the dough. Jimmy Lahey honed his skills at renowned Sullivan Street Bakery's bread pizza crust, with revolutionary results. Add a little time in a smoky woodburning oven and creative topping combinations, and Neapolitan pizza will never be the same. From their slogan, "Our pies are not always round," to the communal table in the simply decorated white oak dining room, diners quickly get the impression that Co. is not traditional pizza, but revamped, amplified pie ready to challenge the establishment. TRAIN: C, E at 23rd St. ((212) 243-1105)

5 Lucali
Lucali's Mark Iacono keeps things simple. Located in the sleepy neighborhood Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, Lucali's menu is written on a small chalkboard and is only two items: pizza and calzone. Choose your toppings, bring your own bottle of wine and watch as your meal is hand tossed and baked right in front of you. Candles and small wooden tables offset the exposed brick and high ceilings, creating a soft and romantic atmosphere. No wonder Lucali has become has become famous as a place to chill out and eat some of the best pizza New York has to offer. Rumor has it Beyonce and Jay-Z are frequent customers. No reservations for this cozy kitchen, so expect a wait. TRAIN: F or G to Carroll St. (718-858-4086)

4 Roberta's
From their onsite gardening internships to their podcasts recorded onsite at Heritage Radio Network, pizza doesn't get any hipper than Roberta's. And this Bushwick eatery is living up to the hype. The atmosphere is casual, featuring wooden tables, outdoor seating and a prominently displayed woodburning oven. Don't be intimidated if the clientele is young, trendy and tattooed, the food is phenomenal. Chef Carlo Mirarchi creates much more than solid pizzas; try the rest of the menu too. Most ingredients are grown onsite for unparalleled freshness. No reservations except for chefs tastings. TRAIN L to Morgan Ave. (718-417-1118)

3 Keste Pizzeria
At Keste, Chef Roberto Caporuscio is serious about cheese. Rumored to be a former cheese farmer, Caporuscio makes his own specialized cheeses for the Neapolitan style pizzas at this simple, old-world inspired pizzeria. He is also president of the American chapter of the APN (Associatiozone Pizzaioli Napolenta), an organization in charge of keeping tradition pizza just that: traditional. APN regulates dough, toppings and preparation of truly Neapolitan pies. Proof that at Keste (the name meaning "This is it") they are serious about all things pizza. Their website even features a section entitled, "The History of Pizza," to inform interested readers about the origins and innovations of the cheesy delights. TRAIN:1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.; A, B, C, D, E, F, V at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq. (212-243-1500)

2 Paulie Gee's
This charmingly dark and just a little bit ruckus pizza joint in Williamsburg Brooklyn is the perfect old world meets new pie combination. The interior built from salvaged materials with help of Build it Green NYC. A woodburning oven adds to the cheery ambiance. Craft beers pair perfectly with topping like fennel sausage, lemon juice and Mike's Hot Honey. Owner Paul Giannone (Paulie Gee) works the dining room, meandering from table to table chatting up delighted guests. TRAIN: G at Greenpoint Ave. ((347) 987-3747)

1 Di Fara
Domenico DeMarco's mastery of Neapolitan style pizza makes this distant Brooklyn pizzeria way worth the trip, and the line. Since 1964 this famous counter has been baking pies made with the best ingredients imported from pizza's homeland, Italy. Except basil, which is grown fresh in the shop window. Perhaps adding to Di Fara's allure, hours are limited and "subject to change." Long lines form early to get into this tiny Midwood eatery, so get there early.TRAIN: Q to Ave J (718-258-1367)

Growing up in Montana, Julia Smith never met an adventure she didn’t like.  Whether hiking boots or high heels are called for, she’s primed to take on the city and beyond.
After eating her way through The Bay Area and exploring the redwoods and beaches of California, she settled in New York City.  Julia may have traded her wild west for an urban jungle, but she retains her desire for unearthing the very best in new experiences.  
In NYC, her ability to discover more genuine and exiting escapades has proved particularly useful.

Read more about Julia Smith here.

Connect with Julia via: Blog | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest

From Our Partners

Maps and Directions

Denino's Pizzeria 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: Staten Island
Grimaldi's 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: DUMBO
Luzzo's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Dining Options: Take Out
Neighborhood: East Village
COST: $$
Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
COST: $$
Co. 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Bakery, European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: Chelsea
COST: $$
Lucali 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Dining Options: Take Out
Neighborhood: Brooklyn
COST: $$
Roberta's 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Chef's Table, Delivery, Group Friendly, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: Brooklyn
Keste Pizzeria 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: West Village
COST: $$
Paulie Gee's 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Family Friendly, Group Friendly
Cuisine: Pizza
Neighborhood: Brooklyn
COST: $$
Di Fara 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: Brooklyn
COST: $$