Primo Pizzas Of Long Island

Any way you slice it, Long Island is home to some of the best pizza on the planet—some might say even better than the pies from the hallowed pizza grounds of the five boroughs.

The latter part of that statement is seen as sacrilege by some, but with easily hundreds of pizzerias lined up from west to east, Long Island is firmly folded into all that is cheesy, crusty and saucy.

Long Island Weekly recently set out to rank the best slices from the top pizza joints in Nassau and Suffolk in search of the ultimate victor of the pizza wars. No brick or coal cooking vessels, no wood-fired or artisan pies—only pizza pulled from blazing hot giant, silver ovens. Round, square, with toppings or without—these are the Island’s zeniths of pizza.

Definitively naming one pizzeria as the supreme ruler over all others on the island is a foolish endeavor, and one that would undoubtedly lead to a revolt among pizza partisans. Instead, here is a list of the Island’s best, in no particular order. I await your angry emails to the contrary of my list.

Best Overall Pizza

Ancona Pizzeria & Heroes, 200 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream

This no-frills, old-school place is a throwback pizza joint—one of the few storefronts on Rockaway Avenue to remain unchanged in 30 or so years. All the elements of a great pizza are here: sturdy, crisp crust, cheese that “pulls” and flavorful sauce with a perfected balance of sweet and salty. The Sicilian is a standout, with spot-on ratio of pillowy dough to crusty underside. As for its pepperoni pizza, Ancona uses small pepperoni, which curls when blasted with heat—this creates that wonderful mini-pool of oil where flavor makes its home.

Best Cheese Slice

Little Vincent’s, 329 New York Ave., Huntington

This small shop comes to life at night, with the crew pumping out Neapolitan pies for the bar crawlers and nighthawks. But any time of the day is perfect for a classic slice at Little Vincent’s, especially when you ask them for cold cheese—a mound of cold, shredded mozzarella piled onto a piping hot slice. The cold cheese adds a textural element, along with cheesy goodness while cooling down the slice for quicker intake.

Best Grandma Slice

La Focaccia, 64 Broadhollow Rd., Melville

Thinner and denser than Sicilian with greater emphasis on a bottom crust crisped with olive oil, the grandma slice, allegedly, is a Long Island invention. So there are many places in both counties with amazing variations, including the venerable Umberto’s in New Hyde Park—but edging out that mainstay is La Focaccia in Melville. A robust garlicky flavor doesn’t overpower the sauce, but instead adds to each bite, while cheese and crust come together with the olive oil crunch.

Best Marinara Slice

Raimo’s Pizzeria, 380 Woodbury Rd., Hicksville

Sauce must shine anytime you take cheese out of the pizza equation. At Raimo’s, situated at the pizza crossroads where South Oyster Bay Road intersects Woodbury and Old Country roads, the chunky, yet smooth, sweet, yet savory, sauce takes center stage on the marinara slice. And the thick crust is perfect for scooping up any sauce that might fall by the wayside.

Best Specialty Slice—Onion

Mamma Gina’s, 61 2nd St, Mineola

Specialty pizza encompasses any slices served with nontraditional toppings—this includes familiar fare like baked ziti, and more out-of-the-pizza-box variations like taco. While Villa Monte in Old Bethpage has perhaps the most specialty slices at any given moment, the best take up residence at Mamma Gina’s in Mineola and Phil’s in Massapequa. First, Mamma’s Gina’s onion slice features a grandma-style thin crust, topped with white onions in a deceptively simple, yet flavorful combination of cheese and onions. The cooking process renders the onions sweet and soft, without sacrificing overall bite.

Best Specialty Slice—Drunk Sicilian

Phil’s Pizza, 820 Hicksville Rd., Massapequa

Phil’s Drunk Sicilian slice plays with the use of vodka sauce, along with fresh mozzarella and basil on crisp, olive oil-laden thick crust. It’s an uncomplicated twist, but the vodka sauce brings a creaminess not often tasted on such slices. The extra crispy edges of Phil’s Drunken Sicilian are the best part, as the toasty dough crumbles to the tooth.

Best Buffalo Chicken Slice, Best White Slice

Bella Vista, 154 Manetto Hill Rd., Plainview

The lone entry on our list to nab two honors, Bella Vista’s small storefront boasts a creamy white slice loaded with ricotta—it’s so filling you almost can’t bare to eat another slice, almost. Ignore your body’s warnings and also order the buffalo chicken slice. A “new” classic (if such a term can exist) has exploded in popularity on the island, with nearby La Piazza also offering a great version. But Bella Vista wins out with a buffalo slice packed with chunks of chicken, along with optional blue cheese on the side.

Honorable Mentions

  • La Piazza, with locations in Plainview, Commack and Melville – an upscale pizzeria
  • Richie’s Pizza of Deer Park – specialty pies made with passion
  • Gino’s of Great Neck – neighborhood pizzeria
  • Joe’s of Bay Shore – gourmet pizza and other Italian staples
  • Pizza Supreme, Garden City – home of the square pizza
  • V.I. Pizza, Floral Park – Sicilian pies are a customer favorite
  • La Scala, Commack – family-run fixture of the community
  • Cugini Pizzeria and Restaurant, Mineola – authentic Italian cuisine
  • Cinelli’s Pizza, Franklin Square – Cinelli family hails from Monte San Giovanni, Campano, Italy
  • Ciro’s Pizza, Smithtown – the owner’s motto is “you are only as good as the last pie you make.”
  • Giovanni’s Pizza & Pasta, Commack – roots reach back to Menfi, Sicily 
  • Tony’s, Brentwood – stalwart Italian joint with specialty pies
  • Frantoni’s, with locations in Williston Park and East Meadow – family-owned since 1988
  • Pietro’s Pizza, East Meadow – famous for its sesame seed crust

Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. We know you’ve got ’em!


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Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

6 COMMENTS

  1. What about J & S pizza in Valley Stream or King Umbertos in Franklin Square. Especially with J& S you are missing out! Only square pizza made there.

  2. OK, so what it seems like we have here is a writer that does not know anything about authentic Italian pizza. By authentic I mean pizza made the way it was supposed to be, in a coal oven. Based on the list above, I think he could have also thrown in Papa John’s (on Willis Avenue) or DiGiorno (in every supermarket). There is a reason why TripAdvisor voted Juliana’s (in Brooklyn) the best pizza in the country based on the reviews. Real pizza connoisseurs know the difference between fresh mozzarella and the artery-clogging grease served up in places like Little Vincent’s. That garbage is only good at 2AM when no other food is available and you are basically sitting at picnic tables made in 1970. Somebody else mentioned Salvatore’s. Now that is real pizza from a direct descendant of Patsy Grimaldi, who is still alive and kicking and owns Juliana’s. The best on Long Island is Massa’s, served up by Patsy’s nephew in Huntington. So if you can’t make it into Brooklyn for Juliana’s and you are too far from Salvatore’s in Port Wash, take a ride over to Huntington.

  3. I know Brooklyn is on Long Island….
    But since it’s not in Nassau or Suffolk County, many people don’t consider it on Long Island.
    I’m not defending them, I’m not even affiliated with anyone who wrote or published the article.
    I’m just someone whom spent most of my life in Valley Stream (Nassau County bordering Queens whom became tired of being told I live in Queens)
    Now as a teacher out in Western Suffolk County, my new mission seems to be to explain to everyone that Long Island is an Island that includes Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, and Brooklyn. If you don’t drive on a bridge or through a tunnel underground… You’re still on Long Island,
    Sorry for the rant…. Thanks “for listening”.

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