Kesté Pizza & Vino

Bleecker Street has long been a veritable boxing ring of pizza contenders, with reigning champs like John’s, Joe’s Famous and Bleecker Street Pizza all within wafting distance of one another. Though it’s been both mooned over and critiqued ad nauseam, spirited arguments for and against the Neapolitan pizza at newcomer Kesté still seem to break out wherever and whenever the hot Frisbee-size pies arrive. Critics at the cramped pizzeria lament the lack of crunchy crust (the authentic Naples style) and the chirpy NYU table-turning environment. But supporters deliver two knockout punches that stop the fight: Kesté has the friendliest pizza staff in NYC; and those toppings—all imported—are simply sublime, not to mention regulated by the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, an organization committed to preserving the Naples tradition. All arguments for local sourcing cease when the smoked buffalo mozzarella (flash frozen in Campagna), zesty sauce, and tender salumi collide in your mouth. Kesté (“this is it” in Italian), may or may not be NYC’s best pizza, but it’s certainly worth a shot before you place your bet on a favorite heavyweight.

sweet seats

The front window table is your best shot for a little elbow room.

chew on this

Though the salads, appetizers, desserts and wine look interesting, nothing comes close to the pizzas. If you’re really hungry, order another pizza for the same price as a carafe or a salad. Go early on weekday evenings to avoid rowdy late-night chowhounds.


lunch: Mon.-Sun. 12 PM-3:30 PM
dinner: Mon.-Sat 5 PM-11 PM; Sun. 5 PM-10 PM
no reservations

price range

$9 (marinara) to $19 (pizza del re)