Where can you find the best pizza in the world? As per the latest Readers’ Choice Awards announced by travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, here are the top cities that house the best of the lot…
Contrary to popular belief, Chicago is not a one-pizza town. The great defender of deep dish embraces styles thick and thin. Some locals love the city’s more traditional stuffed or pan pizza, while others chomp down on Neapolitan, coal-oven, or the South Side’s cracker-crisp, thinner-than-thin tavern-style pies. Craving the classic deep dish? Go to Pizano’s, which has been serving pizzas since 1943. For a thinner, more gourmet style, pull up to a table at Spacca Napoli.
Real pizza in Rome can mean puffy, chewy, focaccia-like squares of pizza al taglio (‘by the cut’) sold at shop counters or slim, ultra-crisp rounds of pizza Romana baked to order. Time is as decisive a factor as texture: for al taglio, you wait seconds; Romana, minutes. For a true taste of the city, try a few slices with different toppings at Pizzarium, and then, for some chic ambiance, go to Emma, where the thin-crust pizza goes down just right with a glass (or two, or three) of vino.
New York City, US
The iconic shape of New York pizza is the triangle—the crisp, cheesy slice dripping grease (the good kind)—from the tip of its folded crease. The world-famous New York style was invented by Neapolitan immigrants who adapted the pizza from back home. Now, it’s obsessed artisanal millennials who reinterpret old-school ways. Don’t miss Roberta’s in the up-and-coming Bushwick neighbourhood of Brooklyn, or Prince Street Pizza in Manhattan’s Nolita area.
Orlando, Florida, US
The sunny pizzascape in metropolitan Orlando is ruled by the hometown pizza styles of ‘New York Italians’ and ‘Italian Italians’. Via Napoli and Prato bring the taste of Naples (Italy, not Florida) to EPCOT and Winter Park, respectively. But it’s Pizzeria Del-Dio that serves up slices of both New York-Sicilian and New York-Neapolitan on demand.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza as we know it, or don’t: the true Neapolitan crust, blistered in wood-fired oven, is softer and floppier than what most of the world knows and loves. Its puffy, leopard-spotted, light-as-a-cloud rim hugs layers of sweet local tomatoes and divinely melty mozzarella. There’s no shortage of places to sit down and dive in, but 50 Kalo and Pizzaria La Notizia are not to be missed.
New Haven, Connecticut, US
Pizza, you say? No, in New Haven they call it apizza (‘ah-beetz’), as per the dialect of resourceful Neapolitan immigrants such as Frank Pepe of Pepe’s Pizzeria and Salvatore Consiglio of Sally’s Apizza, who invented the thin, crisp New Haven style. The classic version, with crushed tomatoes and grated Romano cheese, is charred in a coal-fired oven—although New Haven’s white clam pie is legendary.
If pizza tastes better in Venice, it could just be the romance of the Floating City taking effect. But a new generation of artisanal bakers employing the best raw materials and dough-making techniques are turning out craft pizza worth a long lunch…and a glass of wine. Take a ride over to Grigoris for the pizza and the artisan beer selection, or dive into a pie at Tre Leoni.
In an era when artisanal and hipster pizzerias are all the rage, the old-school joints still rule up north in Edmonton. You know it from the names—Tony’s Pizza Palace, Packrat Louie, Rose Bowl—and of course, the toppings, like meatballs, shrimp, pineapple, and BBQ chicken. In a pinch? The variety of pies at Famosa, a Canadian chain, is not so much soup-to-nuts as white-sauce-to-peanuts (and surprisingly tasty).
The Neapolitan pizza renaissance has conquered Florence, from the fabled Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo to the Largo Pietro Annigoni. But even as traditional Naples-style pizza with a soft core builds a hardcore following, habitués of neighbourhood haunts like Yellow Bar don’t dare give up their tables, or their crisper pizza, without a fight.
Palermo’s ubiquitous sfincione is the thick, bready, rectangular pan pizza that likely inspired Chicago deep dish and New York Sicilian styles. Pizza in Palermo also comes round or square, stuffed-crust or puffy crust, no-fuss or artisanal. The slow leavening, ancient grains and Slow Food meats associated with gourmet pizza up north are now a Sicilian thing, too. Where to go? Dine al fresco at Perciasacchi, or head to Tondo for an equally impressive pie.