10 of the Best Pizza Slices In Brooklyn (Not From Di Fara)

Last week, mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio took part in a Reddit AMA, and while it wasn’t the most illuminating of AMAs, there was one important piece of information revealed: De Blasio’s favorite slice in New York comes from Di Fara in Midwood. De Blasio then laid down the gauntlet saying, “To all the Manhattan foodies out there: it’s not even close. This is clearly the best.” Oh! Whoa. Way to take a stand there, Bill! Except, well, Di Fara is pretty much every Manhattan foodie’s favorite slice already. Any self-respecting foodie (and foodies have nothing if not self-respect…the respect of others? debatable) has made the pilgrimage out to Avenue J and waited patiently for Dom DeMarco to sprinkle freshly chopped basil and grated parmigiano on top of the fresh-out-of-the-oven pies. And, despite the $5-a-slice cost, a Di Fara slice is worth the wait and the slog on the Q train. It’s really that good.

See more great slices in 2016’s top-ten here

But what about other Brooklyn slices? Brooklyn might get a lot of accolades for its pizza—after all this is the home-borough of not only Di Fara, but also Totonno’s, Grimaldi’s, Juliana’s, Motorino, Roberta’s, Paulie Gee’s, and PeteZaaz among others—but most of the acclaimed places only offer pies. And pies are great! But sometimes you just want a slice, you know? Sometimes, you just want to grab something for a few bucks (hopefully less than five!) and walk out eating it folded up in your hand. Well then, these ten places are for you. They offer some of the best slices in Brooklyn, and can all be had for three dollars or under within a few minutes of ordering. Di Fara is great, but these places are pretty damn great too. Oh, and in the interest of fairness, we only ordered plain slices. There was no fucking around with Buffalo chicken à la Joe Lhota. If you want Buffalo chicken, you’re on your own.

All photos by Kristin Iversen

Best Pizza; 33 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg

It’s right there in the name, isn’t it? But also, this small pizza place on a mostly residential block not far from the thundering BQE makes a really solid slice. The crust is very thin and while at times it can maybe be a bit floppy, it still holds a fold well. The sauce is tangy, and the cheese isn’t put on with too heavy a hand, which is a rare but nice touch. Plus, each slice comes crowned with a fresh piece of basil, which adds a nice bit of sweetness, without being too heavy-handed. And even though we’re only dealing in plain slices here, I’d be remiss not to mention the pepperoni slice, which is topped with just three slices of extra-large pepperoni and is delicious and not too greasy. Totally worth a trip, borough-wide.

J&V Pizzeria; 6322 18th Avenue, Bensonhurst

I won’t lie. When I asked around about people’s favorite slices in the borough and my brother told me that I had to try J&V, I groaned at the prospect of dragging myself to Bensonhurst. But then I remembered how I made the mistake of not including an otherworldly sandwich from another Bensonhurst institution, Lioni’s Italian Heroes, in a list I made of great Brooklyn sandwiches, and I hauled ass over to 18th Avenue for a slice from J&V. And I was so glad I did! J&V has been in business since 1950, and it’s pretty clear why after just one slice. It’s very cheese-heavy, but the cheese isn’t rubbery or chewy, it just melts in your mouth. The sauce is really flavorful and sweet, the perfect counterpoint to all that cheese. And the crust is perfect…sturdy and cut in a generous triangle that’s perfect for folding. Get yourself out to Bensonhurst for one of these slices as soon as you can. It’s got loads of grease, but (shh!) that’s what makes it taste so good.

Ciccio’s; 207 Avenue U, Gravesend

I thought J&V was old-school Italian, but Ciccio’s is another slice joint that always tends to have at least four or five guys sitting out front, not doing much of anything, no matter the time of day. Step past those guys (who’ve always been very friendly in my experience) and order a plain slice, which might just have the best crust I’ve experienced. The crust is firm, but chewy, and full of air pockets, almost in the manner of a great baguette. The sauce is savory and spread liberally on the crust, while the cheese is not overdone. But the crowning touch is a smattering of sesame seeds which maybe shouldn’t make sense, but absolutely do. They add a nuttiness that I never knew was missing from my pizza, but is now all I want to have.

Layla Jones; 214 Court Street, Cobble Hill

So this might look like a square slice, and I guess it is technically square, but it is absolutely not a Sicilian slice, in that it doesn’t have a thick, puffy crust. Instead, this plain slice from Layla Jones has a regular, thin crust, but it’s one with a frankly delightful chewy and airy consistency that some people might find undercooked, but that I find to be a nice change from the too-charred crusts that are pretty common in many pizzerias. The sauce is sweet and mild, and the cheese is put on at a good ratio to the sauce and crust. Overall, this is the kind of slice that disappears in seconds, leaving you wanting more. And more. And more.

 

Pino’s La Forchetta; 181 7th Avenue, Park Slope

Well, so. You really need to like cheese to like a Pino’s slice. But if you like cheese? If you really, really like cheese? Then you’ll love a Pino’s slice. This is a no-frills Brooklyn pizzeria, and the slices are simple, but delicious and filling. I don’t know if it’s just the nostalgia factor kicking in, but I love everything about Pino’s, from the late hours it keeps, to the orange benches and tables in the restaurant itself, to the fact that infused in each slice is some magical and mighty powerful hangover cure power. It’s miraculous how much better a slice or two of Pino’s and a root beer can make you feel after a night of drinking.

Pizza Time; 1324 Avenue J, Midwood

Pizza Time bears the mixed blessing of being one block away from De Blasio’s (and everyone’s) favorite slice place, Di Fara. And while it might be true that no pizzeria would want to go head-to-head with Di Fara, there are some benefits with being so close to the maestro’s shop…especially when that shop is frequently closed, and always has long lines when it’s open. Pizza Time definitely gets some run-off from Di Fara but also attracts its own followers, due in no small part to the fact that it’s a kosher pizzeria in this heavily Jewish section of Brooklyn. But I wouldn’t have put it on the list if it didn’t also provide a solid slice. Unlike many kosher pizzerias, the crust isn’t doughy at all. Rather it’s thin and crunchy (really, there was an audible snap when I folded it) and cooked long enough that the cheese blisters and bubbles and melds perfectly with the sauce. Look, Dom DeMarco didn’t make this, but it’s a fine alternative if you’re in Midwood and Di Fara is closed or crowded or if you don’t want to spend five bucks on a slice.

Not Ray’s; 690 Fulton Street, Fort Greene

Eat a plain slice at Not Ray’s and be prepared for that old-school pizza experience of orange grease rivers running through your fingers and down your forearms. This slice is good for both cheese-lovers and sauce-lovers because it’s liberally covered in both. The sauce is heavy on the oregano, and that herbal flavor really complements the unctuous cheese. The crust can feel a little heavy (on an off-slice it’s even a bit soggy) but that just adds to the gut-bomb aspect that you sometimes really crave in a slice. This isn’t one of those Layla Jones slices, where you can easily polish off three or four. One slice of Not Ray’s will satisfy you for a long time to come. Just ask a trusted friend if you’ve got oregano stuck in your teeth when you’re done. Pro-tip: You probably do.

L&B Spumoni Gardens; 2725 86th Street, Gravesend

So, I cheated a little bit with L&B. This list has only been comprised of plain slices so far. But the plain slice at L&B? Is only average. It’s not terrible, but it’s kind of bland. You can see it in the image above, photo-bombing the real star of the show, the square slice. The L&B square slice is everything you want in a piece of pizza. Every bite is both a flavor punch and a study in textural contrasts. The pies are made fresh all day long, and business is always hopping, so you’re pretty much guaranteed a piping hot square, right out of the oven. Ask for a corner slice, or at the very least a side, so that you can enjoy the ultra-crunchy crust edges, along with the pillowy center. L&B is a sauce-based operation, which is fine, because the sauce here is intense—tangy but sweet, garlicky yet not too pungent. The sprinkling of parmigiano on top makes for the perfect final layer of umami goodness. This is pizza perfection.

Front Street; 80 Front Street, DUMBO

Not unlike Pizza Time, Front Street has some pretty well known pizzeria contenders in the neighborhood to do battle with. But because those neighbors are Grimaldi’s and Julianna’s and because they only serve pies, Front Street wins the battle of the DUMBO slices, hands down. But also? The slices are really great! They’re huge, first of all, not quite as big as the Koronet slices of my youth, but still a really decent size. And the crust is decent and stands up to the size of the slice. But what I really love is the sauce. It’s just a solid, savory and sweet marinara, that’s also used to great effect on the chicken parm heroes and as a dipping sauce for Front Street’s incredible chicken rolls. Sometimes it’s best to forget the lines at Grimaldi’s and the high prices of Juliana’s, Front Street has you covered.

Smiling Pizza; 323 7th Avenue, Park Slope

So, here’s the thing. If something’s good enough for Patrick Stewart, it’s good enough for me. And last spring, Park Slope resident and all around amazing actor, Sir Patrick Stewart went to Smiling Pizza for his first ever pizza slice. He ate it using the tried-and-true fold technique and he liked it. So, because it is always my dream to be more and more like Patrick Stewart, I went to Smiling Pizza and ate a slice. And it was good. It’s greasy, sure, but I like a little lot of grease on my pizza. It’s cheesy, sure, but I like a little lot of cheese on my pizza. It’s cheap and satisfying and perfect when you’re hungover. Which Patrick Stewart was when he ate it! As was I! If this is the closest I’ll ever feel to Sir Patrick, I’ll take it.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

59 COMMENTS

    • Carmine’s is awesome. If you haven’t tried Grandma Rose’s a few blocks up you should give em a shot, it’s my go-to “regular pie”

    • Absolutely agree with nootch. Grandma slice. I definitely would do Carmine’s in a pinch, but the dough has more of a cardboard consistency and the sauce isn’t as flavorful.

  1. Even though these have been dubbed the “greatest”, I think the best pizza is always right round the corner from where you live. I live in Bay Ridge and where I go everyone knows each other by name and you are treated like family. What can I say, it’s home.

  2. Kristin, great job! The ONLY way to judge pizza is by their plain slices! (Squares and margherita are close enough and totally count.) You nailed it with Best Pizza and Pizza Time. Another great one is Grandma Rose’s on Graham Ave and the BQE.

    If you are getting adventurous and find yourself in Queens seek out a square slice at Rosa’s: there’s one in Ridgewood on Fresh Pond, but the one I go to is on 69th St. near the LIE in Maspeth. I have never lived in or near Maspeth, but if I am ever close I HAVE to go for a slice, or take a pie home. (Pro tip: do it like Nootch, get a Cherry Coke to wash it down!)

  3. This may well be the worst list like this I’ve seen. Get out of Park Slope. Pino’s and Smiling are both the most average pizzerias imaginable. Antonio’s on Flatbush is actually better. Not everything is bad on this list and you get points for adding spots in Gravesend and Bensonhurst, but, basically, it’s a horrible list. Do better.

  4. Can’t believe that you do not have Delmar Pizza on this list…. You might want to try their pepperoni slice. This is an Italian pizzeria that has been in Sheepshead for decades… (FYI I grew up on Ave J and been going to DiFara before it blew up)

  5. Of all the Pizza places from park slope to put on this list, you chose the wrong ones. Pinos is one thing, but Smilies? No way…used to be good, not anymore.

    Roma pizza is way better than both those places, particularly their Fresh Mozzarella slice anyone in the neighborhood will tell you that. And Joe’s Pizza on garfield would probably be second (just in Park Slope, i’m saying).

  6. DA Vinci pizzeria on 18th ave /KORNER PIZZA ON CHURCH AVE/ DEL MAR PIZZA THE BAY RD/KNAPP ST PIZZA ON AVE X /DIFARA PIZZA SHOP ON AVE J IS MY #1…P.S/Krispy pizza on 13 th ave/and VIC ‘S ON KINGS HWY REALLY GOOD PIZZA!!.GINO’S ON 13TH AVE…

  7. Di Fara’s can’t even pass a health inspection. Besides being very dirty, the pizza is way overrated. Also, why is everyone telling us that this place’s fresh Mootz is better, or the pepperoni slice is better? The article is about the best plain slice. Can’t people read anymore?

  8. Pizza On The Run in Coney Island (between Mermaid and Surf on Stillwell Ave) – you get the nice thick, soft gooey feeling of a square slice in a plain slice. They used to have no room to sit “hence the name on the run” but now they added a couple chairs and tables.

  9. You stayed to far West and North. Come a little South and East to Marine Park next time and try N and D on the corner of Avenue U and East 29th Street. Pizza that rivals L and B, even the ‘Grandma’ square style slice you reviewed.

    • Hell Yeah! N&D is ridiculously good. Frank’s on Flatbush and Quentin is pretty bomb too!

      If you’re gonna go to Smiling, get the salad slice, not the reg slice! It’s amazing.

  10. Decent list, but the fact that this list revolves between williamsburgh and park slope really speaks for the “experience” this is written from. While you included some good places, when you speak of brooklyn pizza your list should heavily rely on at least trying pizza from south bk (not transplant land). Not trying to knock your efforts, but seeing a list based out of park slope is she’s to take seriously in the eyes of a bk native.

  11. Since you did make your way to Bensonhurst, you should have gone just a bit further to Bay Ridge and checked out Nino’s, Pete’s, Elegante, and my favorite Pizza Wagon.

  12. I don’t know how il Porto on Washington ave was missed in this article but , but it’s surely one of the best , if not the best in Brooklyn …. SEE FOR YOURSELF!

  13. Are you guys kidding me? With the except of Pizza time, DEL MAR on sheepshead bay road is on the top of the list! Smh…

  14. PIZZA ON THE RUN! It’s a shame that this pseudo-article just chose pizzas in like one area of Brooklyn. If you’re ever in Coney Island, please visit this pizzeria on Stillwell Avenue . I’ve brought so many people from abroad to this place and they were stunned by the size. The cheese oozes off the dough, you could probably share one slice with someone else, and this isn’t the typical “Brooklyn” thin crust. Oh no Pizza on the Run aims to give you a full belly and pimples :). And the workers are extremely personable. Support Coney Island businesses too!

  15. HAHHAHAHA stupid hipsters.

    How the hell is kosher Pizza Time on this list?

    HAHHAHAHAHAHHHA you lost all credibility.

  16. Although this is a great list of pizzerias and I am sure it was very hard to limit it 10 places I feel that some of the best pizzerias were left out because it’s “inconvient” to travel to other areas of Brooklyn. Lenny’s makes one of the best gramdma slices in Brooklyn. (86th St and 20th Ave) Pizza Wagon on 86th and 5th not only serves up a great slice most hours of the day and night it is a staple here in the Bay Ridge area. Has an old world charm and serves up almost nothing else on this very plain menu bit oh so good. And thats just two I can name a bunch more. Maybe one day when you leave the areas of Brooklyn you will discover some truly amazing slices.

  17. this is a pretty good list. too short to be able to list all of the places with good pizza throughout brooklyn. having been a resident of deep south brooklyn all of my life i’d also like to recommend a few more locale’s for a solid slice of pizza. Korner pizza in kensington, Peter pizza in bensonhurst (80th and stilwell — try their chicken bruscetta slice if they’ve got one available or order up a pie), Casa Bella on cropsey and 26th ave, tottono’s on neptune, south brooklyn in park slope is quite tasty as well despite not actually being in south brooklyn, la bella express on 86th and bay parkway may seem like a hole in the wall whateverish sorta place but their pizza is surprisingly good.

  18. I’ve seen this list appear from time-to-time, and I’m always surprised that Nino’s in Bay Ridge is never on it. Their slice is always perfect, and the grandma slice is the best I’ve ever found.

  19. as a native brookynlite whoever wrote this list is stupid. i grew up in midwood i know with a great understanding that kosher pizza is nasty and that not ray’s pizza in fort greene is worse than any fake mozzarella kosher pizza.

  20. Hahah Di Fara you make me laugh i wont wait that long for a filthy dirty pizza , used to live Ave J once went there didnt even bother ordering when i saw the place so dirty the people not clean very uncomfortable to stay there , pizza in brooklyn you got a lot of them LnB is good N&D is great you guys try the pizza plain pizza ,margarita, buffalo, chicken Cesar salad pizza at Bene pizzeria at 157 prospect park southwest. Delicious mmmm yummy

  21. This list lost all credibility with Smiling Pizza. The slices here are bland AND greasy, which its not easy to do. In fact, Smiling is known as one of the worst pizza places in the Slope. It’s only advantage is it’s location.

  22. Smiling Pizza?

    First of all, they should remove the word “Smiling.”
    Then, they might as well remove the word “Pizza,” bc that s### is terrible.

    Try Numero 28 also. Very good.

  23. No way this girl ate the round slice at L&B and said that…that slice is unbelievable and a super super sleeper because everyone goes for the square. It runs laps around that place smiling whatever on 7th ave in the slope…gross.

  24. The fact that your put Front Street and Smiling Pizza ahead of L&B on your top ten list shows that you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. These are two very ordinary pizza slices. Unbelievable. Also, you put those two typical Park Slope pizza joints on your list but left off J&R Pizza on Kings Highway and Giardini’s pizza on Smith street with it’s to die for sweet tomato sauce…. oh my god, how could you? You should never, ever be allowed to touch a slice of pizza in Brooklyn again. Seriously, leave my borough. Go.

  25. Damn how many times do these articles get circulated?? It’s from two years ago and it’s part of the main email sent out on 2/16/16?? Since no one mentioned it I’ll add these guys though they’re only pies..and already quite busy..here’s a tip if you can’t get down to Totonnos in Coney island..my all time fave having grown up a few blocks away. Check out Wheated on Church ave. The pies are incredible. The dough charred just right on the bottom. With the freshest cheese, sauce, and toppings. Go for the prosciutto and thank me later. Or better yet..save me some cause I can eat it every day..if I were able to afford it. Less expensive than Di Fara though thankfully. The slices are small like Totonnos but deceptively filling. Alert- extremely yummy!!!

  26. Truth be told, DiFaras has lost the touch or seems greed set up shop and pushed some of the dough aside- the crust is nearly transparent and can’t hold up to the slice.
    Seems many family members trying to stretch the resources from his fabled lore.

  27. the funny part of the comment section – that there are so so many amazing pizza joints around – and we are squabbling about this one’s better than that and that’s one stinks and shouldn’t be on the list – not worth the argument – just read and maybe see a spot you may not have thought about going to or even known was there – and my hats off to anyone who tells you to try the salad slice somewhere – some vegan love always seems a good thing joe from joisey

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here