Best of the Best

The 3 Best Pizza Activities in NYC

The 3 Best Pizza Activities in NYC

Pizza is a classic New York City staple. In fact, it may even be the quintessential food of New York. Everyone knows that New York has the best pizza, right? Unfortunately, after stopping at a random pizzeria in Times Square, people are often disappointed by what they find. Truth is, out of New York’s 2,700 pizza joints, most of them aren't actually all that great. Sadly, many people don’t know where to find the true pizzerias, never experiencing the magic of that melty New York pizza-y goodness. If you’re a tourist, a local, a pizza-newbie, or even an experienced “pizzaholic,” there is a lot more about NYC pizza for you to learn and experience. Due to the large amount of pizza-related activities in NYC, though, we understand that you might be hesitant to try anything out... do you know where to start or what activities are actually good? We thought we'd help and tested a number of these cheesy activities. Here are our top picks:

  • 1
    NYC Pizza Bus Tour
    NYC Pizza Bus Tour

    Scott's Pizza Tours

    Few people in this world know pizza like Scott does. He eats, sleeps, and breaths pizza. He loves it more than anyone we’ve ever met and after you try one of his pizza tours, you’ll see what we mean. This tour takes you around Manhattan by bus, stopping at four top-notch and legen-wait-for-it....-dary pizzerias. The whole thing lasts about four and a half hours, but we really wish it had lasted longer! The school bus was a nice touch and made the tour feel like a field-trip, though it was far better than any field trip any of us went on as kids. Scott is very enthusiastic and made the tour a fun and unique New York experience. His passion for pizza and love of life is infectious. Besides providing us with fresh, authentic pizza, this tour aims to give you a full education on pizza. Scott has pizza down to a science and readily provided us with all his cheesy details. Scott teaches you about the ovens, the ingredients, and the people behind each slice you eat. We felt this was a clear distinction that went far beyond the standard of any old food tour. What also struck us was the care Scott put into picking which pizzerias we went to on this tour. It wasn't just good-quality pizza, it was the owners and the stories behind each establishment that took this tour above and beyond our expectations. If you think you’ve tried good New York pizza, think again. Each place also had a completely different style of pizza so it was cool to get to try such a vast variety of our favorite cheesy treat. This tour really is a must for locals and tourists alike.

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  • 2
    A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour
    A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour

    A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours

    This tour was also far beyond our expectations--we recommend it to both self-proclaimed pizza-mavens and those who just enjoy a casual slice every once in a while. Honestly, people have to really love pizza to make tours of this quality, we're impressed. This tour is not just dedicated to bringing you to their favorite pizzerias, it also aims to leave you with a deep understanding of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and history. The host, Tony, clearly demonstrates his passion for Brooklyn, his hometown, and wants to share his love through his tours. We got to explore and discuss several unique historic neighborhoods such as DUMBO, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Coney Island. Coney Island was our personal favorite--beside its nostalgic draw on us New Yorkers, we got a walking tour down the boardwalk and learned all about the recent restorations. Tony also pointed out famous filming locations of “Saturday Night Fever” and “The Goodfellas,” which was a real treat since those happen to be some of our favorite flicks. We stopped at two incredibly diverse, delicious pizzerias for about a half an hour each: L&B Spumoni and Grimaldi’s--two of Brooklyn’s most famous and authentic pizzerias. At L&B Spumoni, we tried Sicilian pizza and at Grimaldi’s, the Neapolitan pizza. It's crazy how easy it is to forget that pizza styles truly vary, especially from the typical 99 cent slice we're all accustomed to. We were completely torn between the pleasurable sicilian-style pizza and Grimaldi's slices, which Tony mentioned were Frank Sinatra’s favorites. When you go to L&B Spumoni, we suggest you try their famed Spumoni, Pistachio. As a special added bonus of the tour, we didn’t have to wait in line for pizza ever, which was pretty convenient given how crowded, popular, and small the pizzerias we visited are--it was pretty satisfying ignoring the angry glares from the shmucks waiting in line. Unlike Scott’s Pizza Bus Tour that used a school bus, this tour carted us around in a comfortable, clean and very new luxury coach bus which was a nice touch. The bus picked us up and dropped us back off in Union Square which was convenient and everything was timely and well-organized. Just to add another cherry on top, Tony was well-organized, dropping us off in Union Square in a timely manner. We say bravo!

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  • 3
    Pizza Making Class
    Pizza Making Class

    If you want to learn the ins-and-outs behind making crispy, authentic Italian pizza then this is the class you really must take. We first arrived at the address to take the class, but couldn’t figure out where to go! Turns out, 180 Neapolitan Eatery is on the second floor, right above another restaurant. The fact that it is sort of a speakeasy eatery actually adds a lot to it’s charm--it’s the kind of secret hidden NYC gem that you need to know about to get to. No tourist can just walk down the street and stumble into it, it’s a special secret only for the locals. Once we got upstairs, we all sat down around a table where flour and warm water infused with yeast were measured out for us. The class has a limit of 10 people which kept the class from becoming uncomfortably crowded and allowed each of us to get personal attention (which we really needed...making Neapolitan-style goodness is not as easy as it may seem). We were first given a history lesson about everything pizza, then we were taught all about how it is traditionally made. Did you know traditional Neapolitan-style pizza bakes for only 90 seconds? You’ll learn the importance of making your own dough, using only San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce, and using hand-picked basil leaves. The cheese we used was really fantastic and fresh and we learned that it is called fior di latte, a creamy cheese hailing from regions of southern Italy. Then, it’s time to actually start cooking. First you are taught exactly how to make your own dough and specifically what you should and shouldn’t do in the process. The importance of being gentle was stressed: our teacher described the way we should knead our dough as to imagine we were performing baby CPR! After we finished the dough, they gave us containers to take it home with us so that we could use it to make homemade pizza in the future (dough needs eight hours to rise before you can use it). You’re then given already-risen dough and you get down to shaping it into the classic large circle. The chefs showed off their dough-spinning and throwing abilities and it was such a treat to watch! We then added the sauce, cheese, and basil, and had to wait only a little over a minute for our pizza to be ready. The best part was getting to enjoy what we can honestly say is the best pizza we’ve ever eaten--this is the kind of food that tastes infinitely better when you make it yourself. The chefs also provide with you unlimited wine throughout the class which was beyond appreciated--cheers!

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