For the lust of the crust and cheese that will put you on your knees, NYC is the holy site for all things pizza. Pizza makes New York City go round, and this isn’t more true than in Queens. As Queens has the second largest population of any borough in NYC, and has the largest immigrant population in the US, there’s no surprise that Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes and is celebrated by all cultures.
Even so, Queens has a large number of generational Italians, so if you want to go back to the traditional slice, Queens has got that on lock too. As Pizza is so cheap to make and has such simple ingredients it is a working class comfort that has powered New York city for years.
Pizza is a true art as the simple and best ingredients are used to make something that is better than the sum of its parts. This means that those who push the pizza boundaries must get creative or there are pizza artists who take just as much pride in getting the classics right.
Pizza is a historical and cultural epoch in America and this isn’t more obvious than in Queens as multiple cultures and ethnicities come together in the name of Pizza. Even though Queens is not the first borough you would think of to go to for pizza, it has some hidden gems that locals claim is the best slice in all of New York.
If you’re looking for fusion cooking then Queens is for you, but there are also corner pizza joints that have been serving pie to loyal customers for years – just like ma’ma used to make!
If you are a tourist, or it is your first time in Queens, it can be a bewildering experience to try pick one pizzeria above the rest, you want to try them all but without falling for the pseudo-authentic spots who just want your money rather than simply loving the art of pizza making.
Pizza has the ability to connect people, unite cultures, and enrich your daily life. Here’s a simple breakdown of all the best pizza joints in the borough of Queens and why you should visit each one.
Dani’s is a hidden gem among the legendary pizza spots of Queens, and is a favoured lunch spot among locals. Founded in 1959 by Ramiz Dani, his Pizza house still stands in Kew Gardens for the past 61 years. The trademark of Dnai’s that makes their pizza stand out from other joints is that they have a signature sweet sauce – it’s these family traditions that sets Dani’s apart from the competition.
At Dani’s they offer a regular, vegan, sicilian, pesto, vegetarian, and special pizza that comes either as a slice or as a whole pie. While Dani’s offers plenty of other amazing Italian entreés, their pizza is the main attraction and is always visited by locals and pizza enthusiasts from all over the states.
A family run business, started by Alfie himself who kept his love for pizza making in the family as his two children now run the restaurant in harmony to keep allowing people to enjoy pizza for years to come.
Alfie’s stands out for its authentic sicilian pizza, which is traditionally square, and is different from other sicilian pizza spots as they take the time to first cook the dough and then re top the part-cooked dough with pizza sauce and toppings to finish cooking.
Sicilian pizza is usually made in a rectangle, which means the corner slice at Alfie’s is hot property in Queen’s. No matter what pizza style you prefer, Alfie’s does it all from pinwheel pizza to your classic neapolitan. Some locals love to go across the street to get a cup of hot sauce to dip their slice in, they swear by it!
If you want a more restaurant vibe when you eat your pie, then Basil is the spot for you. Priding themselves on making authentic, yet artisan, Neapolitan pizza in wood burning brick ovens, Basil has a selection of over 40 pies to choose from. Basil’s own house pizza is one to try, it is a pesto base with mozzarella, rosemary potatoes, pine nuts and basil.
This pizza is loved by locals and pizza lovers far and wide for its unique yet artisan craft. Basil can host large parties of pizza lovers for a work function or a kids pizza party. In any situation, this is the kind of joint you take your girl to and sit with a glass of wine while you forget your troubles in the comforting arms of wood fired pizza pie.
Since 1962 Lucia Pizza has had the italian-american style on point and prides its ability to hit the family favourite pizzas out of the park. While Lucia’s menu is simple it doesn’t cut back on taste or quality, they do the simple things right here.
WIth both normal pies and sicilian pies, Lucia’s has variety, while also serving the italian classic Calzone. Doing pick up, take out and delivery, there’s no excuse not to try Lucia’s famous pies. New Yorkers say Lucia’s has the most consistent slice in Queens since the 60s and is fan favourite among the young and old.
Milkflower has been described as ‘the best fancy pizza spot in Queens’ for its fine dining approach to pizza that would please even the most virulent pizza traditionalist. Alongside their famed collection of pristine salads and Italian pasta dishes, Milkflower throws some interesting pizza toppings on their menu which surprise and awe-inspire its customers.
In the city where the most pizza is consumed, Milkflower still manages to surprise its hungry customers. While serving the classic Margarita (called the Queen Pizza on Milkflower’s menu), they serve the controversial Jimmy Snuka pizza that has pineapple and jalapenos, it’s so wrong it’s right and you have to try it before passing judgement.
Not your thing? Perhaps the Van Dammer, a brussel sprout, egg and truffle oil pizza might be your bag. If you want to try some pizza that is left of field but still made the traditional way, the Milkflower is a pizza experience you won’t forget.
Rizzo’s FIne Pizza is one of the oldest and most traditional pizza spots in New York let alone Queens. Since 1959 Rizzo’s has been built from the hard work of Italian immigrants who put all the love and attention into their pies that they deserve.
Their original pie was the only thing on the menu back in the day and soon earned them quite a following among one of the toughest Pizza crowds in NYC. From its original square pizza, to Italian classic toppings like quattro formaggi and primavera, Rizzos has kept up with the latest trends by even engineering their own Vegan and gluten-free pies that still grab attention today.
Even so, the classic saucy square pizza is a must try when you’re in NYC for both history and its stellar taste.
On the western tip of Queens you can find Beebe’s, an amazing metropolitan pizzeria that pays homage to the marrying of Italian and American culture which birthed the classic pizza pies we know and love. Located at the lobby of the Boro Hotel, as well as Jackson Avenue, both Beebe’s locations offer intimate and welcoming dining experiences for families and couples to enjoy a classic slice.
If you want to see the amazing NYC skyline while you enjoy your pie, Beebe’s has an amazing outdoor seating area, perfect for those hot summer nights. From the classic New York style ‘Louie’ pie, to Italian favourites such as the Stracciatella, Beebe’s does it all including american takes on italian favourites. In addition to their wealth of pasta and Italian inspired dishes, you have to stop by and get a slice of pie at Beebe’s.
Over in Forest Hills, Dee’s has been serving their community since 1993. With the convenience of your neighbourhood slice shop and the quality and finesse you would see in a Manhattan restaurant, Dee’s has a winning family friendly menu that includes some of the best Brick Oven Pizzas in NYC.
Dee’s menu celebrates all the many cultures present in the melting pot that is Queens, with Asian fusion Thai Shrimp pizza to the classic American buffalo chicken pizza all crafted with finesse and love. Just down the road from the shops of Austin Street, Dee’s has become a family favourite among New Yorkers.
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore. This pizzeria is another hidden gem that serves pizza the old style way. This old school, over the counter, pizzeria serves consistent Italian classic pizza which is thin and saucy. Locals have been a regular at this pizza joint for 20+ years and love the home and old style pizza that gets served across the counter like all New Yorkers love.
This is a great spot if you’re on the go but still want the welcome and comfort of a NYC pizzeria, then you will love amore. This pizzeria has resisted the fads and trends of the modern metropolis and chooses to give you old style service.
Another family run pizzeria that has been around since 1959, Valentino’s has everything to satisfy your pizza cravings. Their head chef Afzali makes small batches of his pizza sauce and dough every week in order to keep the ingredients as fresh as they can be. The classic sesame seed coated crust adds flavour to their well made dough.
This provides that artisan feel for restaurant prices. Valentino’s can do the classic Sicilian, square, style pizzas that we all know and love, but also pushes the boat out with a buffalo chicken pizza and an eggplant pizza that locals say you have to try.
Valentino’s provides a comforting restaurant for families and friends to sit down and take time out of their day to spend with one another over their favourite pizza pie, and as a result Valentino’s has been a neighbourhood speciality for longer than you think.
Sunnyside Pizza was founded by a 2nd generation italian-american family who pride themselves on bringing the Italian favourites to your door in Queens. From the classic Sicillian style and Margarite, to the American classics of garlic bread and white sauce pizza, even to the fusion styles of barbeque chicken pizza and buffalo chicken pizza.
With focus on the classic pizzeria menu, there’s something for all the pizza lovers in the world both traditional and modern. In Sunnyside, this pizzeria has a great reputation with locals who come once a week to get a fresh pie.
If you want to mix it up, don’t worry, Sunnyside Pizza is unique as they will do multiple toppings on each quarter of the pie if you ask, which means you can try more than one topping without getting full. This over the counter pizza joint is one for the books.
Perhaps to your shock, Queens has it all when it comes to pizza. Whether you’re craving a deep square Sicilian pizza, a thin and oozy Neapolitan or something completely different, Queens has the answer to all your pizza cravings.
Some New Yorkers love the classic over the counter get your slice and get out style, while others pine for something more similar to fine dining where the boundaries of what pizza is are pushed, somewhere in the middle we get the perfect family restaurant where parents and children gather round the saucy and cheesy leveller that is pizza.
Whether you’re on a first date, or simply taking your nonna out, a pizzeria is the perfect venue for any occasion.