Since I started my journey searching for the best pizza in New York, everybody asks me what I’ve concluded. And the truth is, I don’t really have a good answer.
It all depends on what you like. Pizza comes in so many shapes, sizes, and styles that it’s hard for me to pin down one favorite or the best.
For authentic Neapolitan pies, I’d pick Kesté. For classic New York coal oven pizza, Lombardi’s is the original and still my favorite. For square Sicilian slices, Joe & Rose’s Italian Bakery in Astoria is a little gem. If I want a quick but delicious slice, I head to Saluggi’s. A trip to Coals in The Bronx is worth it for their awesome grilled pizza. And for a modern take on the food we all love, Franny’s is mighty tasty.
But when I think of the place that is my favorite overall pizza experience, the one that comes to mind is Di Fara. I love it not just for the pizza, but for the entire experience. It’s exciting taking somebody all the way out to Midwood, Brooklyn to witness the worship of pizza. The holy Hebrew words on the adjacent buildings indicates that this is an area of strong faith. And Di Fara feels like the mecca of pizzerias.
First, just seeing the crowds makes you feel like you’re part of something truly special. I assume most of the customers are not residents of the immediate neighborhood. These people come from miles around!
And then seeing a master at work, Domenico DeMarco, is a real treat. He’s been making the pizza for over 50 years and he makes every pizza by hand. Watching his precision and passion makes you forget about the long wait. He uses three types of cheese and watching him snip the basil and add the olive oil, you have no doubt that the ingredients are the freshest.
But the experience isn’t over until you taste the pizza. It’s thin, crispy, and charred crust is the perfect foil for the slightly sweet tomato sauce and the rich, buttery cheese combo. The basil finishes the slice off perfectly with a fresh, clean herbal flavor.
It’s everything you could possibly want in a slice of New York pizza. Unless of course, you want something else. And I love that New York pizza offers every possibility.