**Regular Go To**
Kesté, where you can find authentic Neapolitan Pizza cooked in a traditional wood-burning oven, is probably my favorite specialty pizza shop in the city. Considering I lived in Italy for 4 months and have been to Napoli, I know what I’m talking about. The ingredients and toppings that they use here are out of this world, overflowing and bursting in your mouth with freshness and flavor. And the dough is just something else. I honestly have nothing that I can compare it to. It comes straight out of the oven really hot and soft with a slight burntness and just contains a lot of flavor on its own.
Although there is always a wait, I promise you it’s worth it. It’s usually a 15-minute to an hour-long wait depending on how many people you have and when you go, but once you’re inside, you get your pizza at warp speed. When I went with a friend recently we ordered, he went to the bathroom and came back to the pizza already on the table. Plus, in the winter they have an outside heater, and if there is a long enough wait, they usually hand out free samples (who doesn’t love free samples?). Kesté is definitely one of my regular-go-to spots and a great place to show off the pizza that NYC has to offer!
Insalate Fresca: This is a basic salad of arugula, grape tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano with a balsamic dressing. These are the same ingredients you would find on any of Kesté’s pizzas, so it’s fresh and delicious. The salads come on the large side, so make sure that if you order a salad you split it amongst the table.
Salsiccia: This is a great basic pizza with crumbles of Italian sausage. It also comes with tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Though I’ve found that I like the more topping-heavy pizzas at Kesté because that’s what they do best, you can’t go wrong with the sausage if you like a more traditional pizza.
Pizza Del Re: This pizza has fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, prosciutto di parma, truffle spread, and extra virgin olive oil. If you’re going to order any of the mushroom pizzas, this is the route to go, as it has the best combination of flavors (sorry I don’t have a photo). What’s so great about this pizza, and really all of the pizzas at Kesté, is that you really can taste each and every ingredient. You can taste the prosciutto, you can taste the olive oil, you can taste the truffle spread… and it all combines over that perfectly cooked dough to make for a fantastic pizza experience.
Kesté: This is probably my favorite pizza off the regular menu. It comes with tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, gran cru and extra virgin olive oil. Again this is a pizza where you can taste and see all the components. I think what’s particularly special though about this pizza is the arugula with the olive oil covered gran cru (similar in texture and look to parmesan). This cheese just has a great taste to it! Then you add the prosciutto, which is perfectly sliced and just so fresh and flavorful. It’s this heavy-handed mix of fresh toppings that make Kesté a step above other pizzerias.
Burrata Pizza on the Specials Menu (available Thursday through the weekend): Every time I come to Kesté there is a special that usually involves Burrata, an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream giving it an unusual, soft texture. A little bit pricier than the other pizzas, it’s worth it, because I guarantee it’s one of the best pizzas you’ll ever put in your mouth. This specific one pictured came with their amazing prosciutto, basil and tomatoes. My only complaint about this pizza is that between the creamy cheese and the tomatoes the dough underneath will often times get soggy. Nevertheless, you can’t beat the flavor experience, and when I say it’s an experience I mean it. If you’re a fan of cheese and/or white pizzas, this is the route to go. You will thank me!
Kesté: 271 Bleecker Street New York, NY ($$)