Like Pavlov’s dogs (who drooled at the sound of a dinner bell), we start to salivate when we hear the word pizza. Part of the appeal is the winning formula: dough + marinara + sauce + delicious toppings = happy eaters, but another reason to love the world’s most delectable dish are its endless variations and the controversy over which one rules harder. Whether you love Chicago’s deep dish or NYC’s fold over slice is a matter of hot debate so we say read the following list, book a trip to each city to discover for yourself whether these pies are blue ribbon worthy and let us know what you think. Happy eating!
OK, first things first: We’re of the mindset that there’s no such thing as a bad pizza. If it’s got dough, sauce, and cheese, we’re on board. But that said, there are some pies that really take it to the next level. Here are fifteen of our favorites.
Di Fara Classic Pie at Di Fara (Brooklyn, NY)
It’s $5 a slice, you’ll need to take the Q train to the depths of Brooklyn and you’ll probably wait upwards of an hour and a half. But if you think there’s any pizza anywhere in the world better than Di Fara…fuhgettaboutit.
1424 Ave. J, Brooklyn; 718-258-1367 or difarany.com
Classic Deep Dish at Giordano’s (Chicago, IL)
It wouldn’t be a pizza roundup without some Chicago-style deep dish (aka pizza casserole). At Giordano’s, the pizza actually has two crusts — a thick one at the bottom, and a thin one on top, with more than an inch of cheese and toppings in the middle. It’s not exactly spa cuisine, but it sure does taste good.
Multiple locations in Chicago; 847-292-2600 or giordanos.com
Salumi Pie at Flour & Water (San Francisco, CA)
As the name implies, this San Francisco eatery knows its way around its carbohydrates. The menu changes daily to incorporate fresh ingredients, but you can usually count on the excellent salumi, with San Marzano tomatoes, capocollo pork, provolone, red onions and Taggiasca olives.
2401 Harrison St., San Francisco; 415-826-7000 or flourandwater.com
Margherita Pizza at Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, AZ)
For serious pizza lovers, chef Chris Bianco is somewhat of a cult figure: He basically started the artisanal pizza trend. All of his pies are great, but we recommend keeping it simple, to appreciate his fresh, homegrown ingredients.
Two locations in Phoenix; 602-628-3699 or pizzeriabianco.com
Calamari Pizza at Al Forno (Providence, RI)
Fun fact: Providence has one of the country’s highest concentration of Italian-Americans. It’s also home to Al Forno, which has been drawing food lovers from New York and Boston since it opened in 1980. The wood-grilled pizzas are fan favorites; we love the one topped with fried calamari, chiles, and two kinds of cheese.
577 S. Water St.; 401-273-9760 or alforno.com
White Clam Pizza at Frank Pepe’s (New Haven, CT)
For a small city, New Haven makes some pretty audacious food claims: the first hamburger in America, and the best pizza. We’re not entirely sure about the hamburger, but can say first-hand that the pizza is on point — particularly the legendary white clam pizza at Frank Pepe’s. Crunchy, cheesy, and topped with perfectly briny clams, it’s worth the short detour off 95.
157 Wooster St., New Haven; 203-865-5762 or pepespizzeria.com
Pork Trifecta at EVO Pizzeria (Charleston, SC)
Charleston is definitely a food town….but usually, it’s not the pizza that people are talking about. No one told the guys at EVO, a craft bakery and wood-fired pizzeria. The crown jewel is the Pork Trifecta, with house-made sausage, bacon, and pepperoni. And you’ll want some pimento goat cheese and pickled green tomatoes to start, just so you don’t forget that you’re in the South.
1075 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston; 843-225-1769 or evopizza.com
Pepperoni at Loui’s (Hazel Park, MI)
Before last year, no one outside of Michigan even knew Detroit-style pizza was a thing. Now, it’s all the rage. We like Loui’s for an authentic take on the genre (square, deep dish pizza with toppings layered in reverse, so that the sauce is on top), not to mention some excellent ‘70s décor.
23141 Dequindre Rd.; 248-547-1711 or louispizza.net
Speckenwolf at Roberta’s (Brooklyn, NY)
Hipster darling Roberta’s is beloved by everyone from Beyonce and Jay-Z to the Clintons. But is it worth the hype? We challenge you to have one bite of the Speckenwolf — smoky speck, aged mozzarella, mushrooms, and oregano and an optional egg on top — and tell us that it’s not.
261 Moore St., Brooklyn; 718-417-1118 or robertaspizza.com
Soft Eggs, Smoked Prosciutto, Local Greens, Pecorino Sardo at Serious Pie (Seattle, WA)
Pizza purists might scoff at the fussy toppings at this Seattle pizzeria, owned by local culinary celebrity Tom Douglas. But as the name suggests, they take their pies…well, seriously. That means house cured meats, hand selected cheeses, and doughs processed over three days and baked in an Applewood-fired oven.
Multiple locations in Seattle; 206-838-7388 or seriouspieseattle.com/pike
Bacon, Salame and Fennel Sausage Pie at Pizzeria Mozza (Los Angeles, CA)
In a glitzy, star-studded city like L.A., it’s only appropriate that the best pizzeria is owned by a trio of culinary celebrities: Nancy Silverton (of the famed La Brea Bakery), Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich. We come here for the fancypants pies with toppings like fennel sausage and prosciutto.
Two locations in California; 323-297-0101 or la.pizzeriamozza.com
Apizza Amore at Apizza Scholls (Portland, OR)
Portland is basically like Brooklyn West at this point, so its only natural that they have one of the best new artisanal pizza spots in the country (though the pizza is actually New Haven-style, to get technical). We like the amore — a margherita with perfectly cured pork shoulder on top.
4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland; 503-233-1286 or apizzascholls.com
San Gennaro at Antico Pizza (Atlanta, GA)
Atlanta’s Antico is all about authenticity — San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and perfectly thin Neopolitan-style crust. The star of the show is the San Gennaro, with sweet roasted Cipollini onions, hunks of pork-fennel sausage, and spicy, oil-soaked Calabrian chiles.
1099 Hemphill Ave. NW, Atlanta; 404-724-2333 or centrostorico.it
The Paul’s Boutique at Speedy Romeo (Brooklyn, NY)
In a refurbished garage, Speedy Romeo serving up some of the most inventive pies in the country. We’re fans of the Paul’s Boutique, topped with Katz’s pastrami, Dijon béchamel sauce, smoked red sauerkraut, fontina cheese, thousand island dressing (yep) and an everything bagel crust. Sounds gross, tastes delicious.
Multiple locations in New York; 212-529-6300 or speedyromeo.com
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