Pizza is a universally beloved dish. It’s so versatile, that even the pickiest eaters are sure to find one they like. You don’t have to travel to Italy to enjoy a slice of authentic pizza (though it’s recommended that you do at some point), as many American pizzerias have done their best to stay true to the traditional recipe. These are ten American pizza places that you need to add to your bucket list right now, because you definitely want to do your best to hit each and every one.
10. Mister O-1
Mister O-1 is a trendy pizza place that can be found in Miami, Florida, so keep it in mind if you plan on hitting the beach any time soon. While it has a fantastic salad bar, we recommend putting the diet on hold and treating yourself to some of their amazing pizza, because you won’t be disappointed. They have a huge pizza menu, which is broken down into three sections: Traditional & Special Pizzas, Small Pizzas and Extraordinary Pizzas. The latter category is full of crazy combinations that you definitely won’t find at your local Domino’s. Instead of being circular, some of them are even star-shaped, which just looks too cool to pass on. They’re aptly named, as they do in fact sound extraordinary, so it’s probably a good idea to order something from that category. Although, the other pizzas still sound pretty incredible, so you really can’t go wrong here. And if your pizza meal still hasn’t satisfied your craving, you can order more pizza for dessert! Mister O-1 has only two items on their dessert menu, but that’s all they need. You have the choice between Nutella Pizza and a Nutella and Banana Calzone, which both sound out of this world. This pizzeria also has a ton of vegetarian and vegan options, making it a great choice for everyone!
If you’ve ever dreamed of being Beyoncé (because who hasn’t?), you can get one step closer to achieving that goal by paying a visit to Lucali’s, a swanky pizzeria in Brooklyn. Yeah, this restaurant is so good that even Queen Bey and Jay-Z have payed it a visit. Talk about good publicity. Iacono took quite the leap of faith when he opened Lucali’s in 2006, as he had never made a pizza before in his life. Sounds like he’s a pretty quick learner, because Lucali’s was a success from the get-go. It’s gotten so popular that Iacono has even made an appearance on an episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers. Now that’s celebrity status right there. These pizzas stand out from the crowd because the handmade dough is topped with both low-moisture mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella, making for a particularly creamy dish. Lucali is pretty upscale in comparison to a lot of other well-known pizzerias, so it’s perfect for date nights or celebrations. Remember, it’s BYOB, so don’t forget the wine! Due to its popularity, you might find yourself stuck in line waiting to be seated, but trust us, you’ll be happy you waited.
Unlike many of the restaurants discussed here, Pizzana is relatively new. However, we very strongly believe that it has potential to become a landmark pizzeria, of the likes of the famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New York. Italian chef Daniele Uditi opened this pizzeria in Los Angeles, hoping to bring a taste of Italy to California, while also incorporating elements of the Golden State into the traditional dish. His crusts are made from what has been dubbed “slow dough,” as it is left to ferment for 48 hours after preparation. Other than pizza, the restaurant covers all basic components of an Italian meal, including salad, antipasti, dessert and, of course, wine. Dessert is handled by professional pastry chef, Candace Nelson, while the wine list is curated by connoisseur Amanda Crawford. The team of experts works to make sure that every element of the dining experience is as good as it possibly can be, and they’ve definitely succeeded. Since it’s California, it’s not surprising that all pizzas can be ordered with a gluten-free crust, for the added price of six dollars. You can order your traditional Margherita or Pepperoni pizzas, or you can be more adventurous and try Tartufo, which contains Norcia black truffles, or Diavola, whose ingredients include spicy salami and honey. Whatever your taste, there’s something for everyone at Pizzana.
7. Pizzeria Vetri
No trip to Philadelphia will ever be complete without a visit to Pizzeria Vetri. The restaurant was opened by award-winning chef, Marc Vetri in 2013 and strives to create authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Consider that mission successful, because their pizzas are light, crisp and savoury. The chefs spend three days making the dough from scratch, using whole grain flour that keeps the crust flavourful. Their wood-fired oven will cook your pizza in three minutes, meaning that you won’t have to wait long between ordering and being served. There are many interesting and mouth-wateringly delicious pizzas on their menu, including the Melanzana, which is composed of eggplant, crushed san Marzano tomatoes, stracciatella and oregano, and the Gamberetto, whose recipe consists of rock shrimp, salsa verde, scallions and parmigiano. They also have a series of extra ingredients that you can add to any pizza, including prosciutto, mushrooms, egg, olives, onions, sausage, pepperoni, anchovies and peppers. Seriously, so many amazing pizzas, not nearly enough time. They also make some of the most aesthetically pleasing pies out there. They simultaneously look too good to eat and make your mouth water. In addition to many cocktails and beers, Pizzeria Vetri also has wine on tap, which, combined with some pizza, makes for the perfect Friday (or Tuesday, we’re not judging) night.
If you’re not Italian, you might not be familiar with the concept of fried pizza, or montanara, but odds are it’s probably something that you now really want to try. The best place to go to do so (other than Naples) is Forcella in Brooklyn. Traditionally, montanara was made by women in Naples, who would flash-fry the dough and simply top it with cooked tomato sauce and either Parmesan or Romano cheese. In modern Naples, it’s a popular street food. Of course, like most anything else, the dish has evolved since arriving in America. At this restaurant, making this Neapolitan delicacy essentially involves the same steps as making regular pizza, except the dough is deep-fried beforehand. Forcella also has a few different varieties of toppings available. In addition to fried pizzas, they also have a wide variety of traditional Neapolitan pies that sound just as incredible. You can also hire them to cater special events, which is a sure-fire way to keep people talking for years to come about how your party had the best food. There are so many pizzerias in New York City that choosing which ones to visit can be tricky (you can only eat so much pizza on one trip), but this is definitely one you want to be sure you get to at some point!
5. Buddy’s Pizza
If you’re in the mood for a pizza that’s a little bit different, but still out of this world delicious, Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit is the place to be. They specialize in Detroit style pizza, which takes inspiration from the Sicilian pies, meaning that it’s square and has a thick crust. It’s perfect for those days when you’re craving all of the carbs. It also makes for a bit of a change, since most of the other really good pizzerias specialize in Neapolitan pies. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s nice to shake things up every once in a while! Buddy’s makes their pizzas relatively small, which means that there won’t be any fighting over who gets the edge slices, because that’s all there is! Their specialty is meat toppings, so it’s the perfect restaurant for all you carnivores out there, but of course you can also get vegetables if you’re so inclined. As an added bonus, despite being some of the best pizza in all of America, Buddy’s is pretty cheap, meaning you get a whole lot of bang for your buck. An interesting tidbit of trivia about this restaurant is that it didn’t exactly start off as a legitimate business. Buddy’s was originally a speakeasy, opened in the early 1930’s, at the tail end of Prohibition, and only becoming a legal tavern in 1944. In order to boost business after struggling through the war years, they added pizza to the menu in 1946. It seems safe to say that that was a sound business decision, as the deep-dish recipe is thriving and beloved to this day.
4. Casey’s Pizza Truck
There’s street food, and then there’s street food.Casey’s Pizza Truck in San Francisco may look like any other run of the mill food truck, but it’s not to be underestimated, as it’s home to some of the best pizza you’ll ever taste. Once a laundry truck, the vehicle was renovated by food truck mastermind, Casey Crynes, who installed a gas-fueled oven. This, coupled with the fact that he spend two years perfecting his recipe, exemplifies his dedication to his craft. And wow, did the hard work ever pay off. It was the perfect place to drop by for anyone in a hurry, as the pizza takes only four minutes to cook. Casey ensures that all his pizzas are made with organic flour and makes an effort to use only local products. In crafting their delicious Neapolitan pies, they take inspiration from other renowned restaurants, including Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana (which, spoiler alert, just might make an appearance on this list). Unfortunately, the food truck is being put into retirement, as Casey’s now has a permanent location, which, we’re happy to report, seems to be thriving. However, you might be happy to hear that the truck can still be rented for special occasions, since, while the restaurant has a great atmosphere and the same awesome pizza, it can’t quite replace the charm of the food truck.
3. Al Forno
When you hear “Rhode Island” amazing Italian cuisine probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but maybe it should be. Al Forno was opened in Providence, Rhode Island in 1980, by chefs Johanne Killeen and George Germon, who quickly earned quite the reputation in the food business, thanks to their several innovative creations. While they’ve concocted many stellar entrees, they wouldn’t be on this list if their pizza didn’t steal the show. They say don’t mess with perfection, but that’s exactly what Killeen and Germon did, and it more than paid off. Two words: grilled pizza. You heard that right. Instead of cooking their pizzas in a traditional wood or coal burning oven, the chefs and Al Forno cook their pies on the grill. The result is a crisp, but chewy crust that is unlike any other, complete with grill marks. They have four signature recipes: Margherita, Calamari, Mushroom Duxelles and Pepperoni, and we recommend you visit the restaurant at least four times, because you definitely want to try them all. And, while we’re mainly talking about pizzas here, we can’t not mention the dessert menu. It’s extraordinary. Poached cranberry cobbler? Warm chocolate-filled crepes with crème anglaise? Admit it, your mouth is watering at the very thought. If that’s not enough to convince you that Al Forno is an absolute gem that is not to be missed out on, nothing else we can say will help.
2. Bleecker Street Pizza
The Big Apple is known for being home to some of America’s best pizza, so needless to say, there’s a lot of competition for title of “Best Pizzeria in New York City.” Many critics, magazines and foodies have debated the subject long and hard, and one restaurant that always seems to come up is Bleecker Street Pizza, which can be found on Seventh Avenue South. The pizzeria is opened until the small hours of the morning, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, when it doesn’t close until five o’clock in the morning. This makes it the ideal place for lunch, dinner or post-partying snacks. While they also serve appetizers, salads and calzones, its’ their thin-crust pizzas that truly steal the show. They also have two gluten-free options, with a guarantee of no cross-contamination, meaning that you can enjoy Bleecker Street Pizza’s delicious pies even if you have that particular dietary restriction! If you ever find yourself organising a large event in the New York City area, this restaurant also offers catering services, which not only include pizza, but pastas, salads and drinks as well. The food comes so highly recommended, that you’re sure to wow even the toughest of crowds. A final perk of Bleecker Street Pizza is that it panders to those of us who hate making phone calls by allowing you to place your order online. It truly is worthy of the moniker “Best Pizzeria in New York City.”
1. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
This New Haven pizzeria started as a bakery in 1925. Its original owner and founder, Frank Pepe, immigrated to America from Maiori, a town on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, in 1909 at age 16. In 1937, the bakery was transformed into a pizzeria, which today is owned and run by Frank Pepe’s grandson, Gary Bimonte. Over the years, they’ve expanded from one restaurant to eight, but, while the business has grown and changed, the recipes have stayed pretty consistent over the years. The sauce is made the same way it was 90 years ago, when the restaurant first opened, and the sausage recipe was perfected 45 years ago. The menu includes the staple items, such as the Margherita pizza, as well as novelty items, like their famous White Clam pizza, which consists of fresh clams, grated cheese, olive oil, fresh garlic and oregano, and their Original Tomato Pie, which is topped with only crushed tomatoes, grated cheese and olive oil. You also have the option of creating your own pizza, with several different kinds of meats, veggies and cheeses to choose from. Famous for their delicious, charred crusts, Frank Pepe’s coal-fired pizzas are regarded by many as the best in the country, making it unsurprising that there are often lines of people waiting to get into the pizzeria. But it’s absolutely worth the wait. This restaurant is so highly regarded, and has been such an inspiration to so many other pizzerias that, if you only visit one of the restaurants discussed in this list, you should definitely make it this one.