- Producer Spencer Alben is a native New Yorker and pizza aficionado.
- With visits to Joe’s Pizza, Di Fara Pizza, Koronet, and Scarr’s, she sets out to find the absolute best slice of pizza in NYC.
- She tries all four slices and picks a favourite at the end.
- Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Spencer: I’m Spencer Alben, and I am obsessed with pizza. As a New Yorker, I know nothing beats a New York slice. But in a city with so many options, sometimes finding that perfect slice can be tough. That’s why today we are on a quest to find the best pizza in NYC.
Each place we visit will be judged on a single slice. It has to be triangular, and there are no toppings allowed. We’ll be looking at crust, sauce-to-cheese ratio, and overall quality of ingredients. Now, let’s get started ’cause I got a lot of pizza to eat.
Narrator: Up first, the famous Joe’s. Joe’s has been a West Village institution since 1975. With countless celebrity customers and spots in major Hollywood films, Joe’s is the gold standard for a no-frills, counter-service slice.
Spencer: I’m excited, first bite, here we go. Mhm. Oh, yeah. In terms of crust, it’s crispy on the bottom. I’d say it is 100% nailing it for sure. Cheese, perfect amount of cheese.
This is an example of why this place has been around for so long. And why it’s always got a line. The pigeons want the pizza. You can’t have none pigeons. It’s mine. Mm, all right. We got more, let’s go.
Narrator: Next, we headed to Brooklyn to try the legendary Di Fara Pizza. Di Fara Pizza was opened in 1965 by Domenico DeMarco, an Italian immigrant and known workaholic who’s barely taken a day off in over 50 years.
Narrator: Today, his kids handle most of the business, but Dom is still there in the background keeping an eye on things. Dom’s pies are made with all imported Italian ingredients and cooked at an extreme heat until they blister, making them more distinctly Italian in style than the other places on our list. With fans like Leonardo DiCaprio and the late Anthony Bourdain, you know it’s worth the $US5 slice and infamously long wait times.
Customer: It’s the olive oil, the technique. I mean, it’s all awesome.
Spencer: It smells unreal. OK, first looks. They put some fresh basil on top, they drizzle some nice, fancy olive oil, a little sprinkle of Parmesan. So it definitely just looks a little more Italian than like a classic New York slice. But, I have to say, in terms of smell alone, this one takes the cake.
Right off the bat, you get that tomato sauce. It tastes like they just squished a beautiful tomato fresh off the farm and put it on this pizza and then cooked it up. That’s good.
Sauce-to-cheese ratio, the ratio’s good. It’s the same amount of sauce as there is to cheese, which is what you’re looking for. I think the distribution is a little off for my taste personally. Ya have parts where you’re just getting sauce and parts where you’re just getting cheese, but so far the flavour is undeniably good.
This crust is exactly what you want it to be. You have that char from the oven. It’s a nice, thin, crispy crust. But on the top, you see that you have that chewier, doughier part on top, which is exactly what we’re looking for. Mm. It’s gonna be hard to eat just one slice of this.
Narrator: I probably could’ve finished off the entire pie. But rules are rules, and our day was only halfway through. We hopped on the subway to make the journey back into Manhattan and headed uptown to our next spot.
Narrator: Koronet is known for one thing and one thing only: its ridiculously oversized jumbo slice. Located near Columbia University, Koronet was my pizza place of choice when I went to college. With so many fond late-night memories, I wanted to see if my college dive could compete against the heavy hitters on our list.
Spencer: One jumbo slice please. Thank you. Woo, that’s got some weight to it. Yes! Can you guys see how giant this slice is? Now I know why I gained that freshman 15. Tastes like college. Mm, you want a slice?
I could break it down by category, but at the end of the day, Koronet’s main appeal was the size alone.
I feel like I’ve been eating for an hour, and I’m not even half the way through yet. You know, one time I wrote a musical about pizza. They were star-crossed lovers. Star-CRUST lovers.
Producer: How you doing there, Spencer?
Spencer: I may have overestimated the amount of pizza I could consume in one afternoon. I had to give it to Koronet for the size alone.
Narrator: Luckily, we had another long subway ride back downtown for the last stop on our pizza extravaganza.
Narrator: Scarr’s might be relatively new to the pizza scene, but the owner’s laid-back approach and use of all-natural ingredients have quickly launched him to the top of the pizza charts.
Customer: Most pizza places are trying to cut corners and keep their margins good, and I don’t think Scarr really cares about that. I think he cares about putting out the best possible slice of pizza that he can.
Spencer: This is the most unique slice out of all of the places we’ve been to today. I don’t know how they do it, but they somehow got that thin, crispy New York crust, but they made it super light and airy.
I feel like this slice is secretive because you wouldn’t know how fancy it is from the looks of it, and that’s kinda what I like about this place. It’s like a cool vibe, you know? It’s a very chill spot, good music, and it turns out they’re milling their own flour in the basement ’cause they care about the quality of their ingredients. I’m really happy with this slice. All right Scarr, I see you. Mm. All right, let’s go.
I am stuffed. Welcome to the decision room for “Best of the Best.” I can’t believe I made it this far. Here’s the thing, all of these places that we went to today were killer for different reasons. So get out there, eat a ton of pizza, and then find your favourite. My favourite is what today’s all about.
So without further ado… Let’s talk crust. The best crust from today’s slices goes to Di Fara’s. I gotta give it to them. It was so good. So props to you guys, Di Fara. You are nailing it on the topic of crust. Doesn’t get better than that.
Next up, let’s talk sauce-to-cheese ratio. This one goes to Joe’s. Joe’s nailed it on this front. I mean, no one else had that perfect balance.
Sauce-to-cheese ratio, beautiful. For the category of overall quality of ingredients, this one goes to Scarr’s. It’s the kind of slice that you can’t put your finger on why it tastes how it does, but you know it has to do with where they’re sourcing their ingredients from.
Finally, it is time to announce the winner for best of the best pizza in New York City. This one was so close. This is a super hard decision to make, and at the end of the day, it was about what slice was my favourite to eat, and there was one place that stood out from the rest. The winner for best of the best pizza in New York City goes to Joe’s. It’s just that perfect slice to grab and walk down the street and then carry on with your day
Now go out and find your pizza dreams. I know I did. I need a nap.
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