Food Guide to Travel: Best City Slices
11th Sep 2012
Who doesn’t love a steaming hot slice of tomatoey, cheesy, delicious pizza? Pizza was brought to the United States by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, and since then Americans’ love affair with this dish has only grown with whole legions of fans devoted to geographically-specific pizza varieties.
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New Haven-style pizza, or “apizza” as it’s known locally, is so good that Frank Sinatra used to send a driver from New York (which itself has no shortage of famous pizzerias) to this Connecticut city whenever he had a pizza craving. New Haven pizza is unlike any other pizza out there—it is brick-oven baked and comes topped with garlic, oregano, tomato sauce, and hard cheeses like pecorino romano (mozzarella is considered a topping—you have to ask for it you want it).
People are sharply divided as to whether Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (Pepe’s) or Sally’s Apizza (Sally’s) serves the best pie, so you’ll just have to try them both to find out for yourself. Be sure to check out the white clam pie—it’s a local favorite that’s made with fresh little neck clams and grated cheese.
A good case for the best place to get authentic Italian pizza anywhere can be made for Miami Beach. While this burg is better known for its party atmosphere, there are several great restaurants here that serve incredibly delicious Italian fare.
Piola on Alton Road serves up genuine thin-crust pizza like no other. Choose the toppings you want or go for a classic Neapolitan. While you’re there, order up a Sgroppino—an Italian cocktail and the house’s specialty drink. Spris is another favorite for thin-crust lovers with pizza that’s made in a wood-burning oven.
Old Forge, PA
This small town in Lackawanna County is the self-proclaimed Pizza Capital of the World. With a population of a little over 8000 people, Old Forge is home to at least 20 different pizza cafés (as they’re called locally), which makes it a serious contender for most pizza per capita.
The town is famous for a pizza style called “white” pizza that is essentially a rectangular, double-crust pizza that’s stuff with a blend of soft cheeses and topped with rosemary and olive oil. There are variants on this theme, of course—“red” pizza starts out with inch-thick dough and is topped with tomato sauce and a blend of American, Provolone, Monterrey Jack, and Scamorza cheeses.
You won’t find pizza in Trenton, but you will find “tomato pies.” What’s a tomato pie you ask? Most pizzas are made with crust first, then tomato sauce, then cheese, then toppings. In Trenton, they like to put their cheese directly on the crust, then toppings, and only then, the tomato sauce.
Two of the best places to go for tomato pie are two restaurants named De Lorenzo—one on Hudson Street and the other on Hamilton Avenue. Which is better? Again, there are strong opinions on either side of this pizza debate—De Lorenzo on Hamilton has crisper crust, while Hudson’s is thinner and smokier in flavor.
Seattle-ites may be better-known for their love of coffee, but that doesn’t mean they can’t put away a pizza when the occasion arises. In fact, foodies looking for A LOT of pizza, can find a little slice of heaven in this city. Local favorite Talarico’s offers up tasty pies for extremely hungry customers—their slices are 14 inches long (for those of you keeping track at home, that’s longer than most people’s forearms) and topped with delicious things like kalamata olives and goat cheese in addition to the standard fare.
If that’s not enough pizza for you, you can always take on the “28-inch” challenge where you and a friend must chow down on an entire 28-inch pie (find a great one at Seattle’s Ballroom Bar) in under an hour. It’s not an easy feat, to say the least.
Detroit pizza is rectangular and more Sicilian in nature than other pizza styles. Its crust is deep-dish thick and slightly chewy in texture. Like Trenton, many Detroit pizzerias like to put the sauce on top. Many of the best-known American pizza chains got their start in this part of Michigan, including Little Caesars and Domino’s.
For a taste of real Detroit pizza, go to Buddy’s Pizza (there are locations all around the city) to try their award-winning “square” pizza. The Green Lantern Lounge serves both deep and flat dish pizza with a variety of usual and unusual toppings.
New York City
How could we create a best-pizza-city list without including the most famous location to get pizza outside of Italy—New York City? NYC is home to a reported 3000 pizzerias, most of which serve up the city’s famous thin crust style favorite.
Lombardi’s Pizza is arguably the most famous—it was opened by an Italian immigrant in 1905, thus earning it the title “America’s First Pizzeria.” The fact that this place has been in business for more than 100 years should tell you something about the pizza—delicious. Be prepared to wait to get in, though, this New York favorite is always full.
The debate over whether New York City- or Chicago-style should hold top honors for most delicious pizza is still raging among pizza lovers, so it’s only natural that Chicago should earn a spot on this list. We’re not playing favorites, though. The Windy City’s deep-crust style pizza is seriously good eating.
If you’re traveling to Chicago for the pizza, check out Lou Malnati’s. It has more than 30 locations in and around the city, but for good reason—their Chicago Classic is the quintessential deep dish that everyone should try. The Art of Pizza on Ashland Avenue has a seriously good stuffed pizza and a wide variety of toppings and is worth a visit.
Where would you travel for the best pizza?
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