Like most American’s, I LOVE good pizza—not the deep-dish Chicago style or the New York pie, but a good gourmet fufu-type pizza with thin crust. I like my pizza unique and non-traditional. So, here is my top-10 list of the best gourmet pizzerias…in no particular order…
1) Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, AZ) – This place will make every single top-10 pizza list; and, for good reason. It’s amazingly good pizza in the most simple and traditional Italian style. The dough and Chris Bianco’s special blend of cheeses are heavenly. I used to work in downtown Phoenix and would often visit Pizzeria Bianco, but once they earned international fame, the wait just wasn’t worth it anymore. If however you don’t mind waiting an hour or two for spectacular pizza, you simple must indulge. Note: Mr. Bianco is unwilling to compromise the integrity of his pizza, so there’s no takeout allowed. PizzeriaBianco.com; 602-258-8300
2) Lombardo’s (Vancouver, B.C.) – For a city that celebrates its culinary prowess, Vancouver seems to lack any decent pizza places, that is however except for Lombardo’s. The beautiful wood-fired oven turns out classic Napoli crusts that will excite the taste busts. Note: You go to Lombardo’s for the pizza, not the service or atmosphere, which leaves just a bit to be desired. 604 251-2240
3) Metro Pizza (Las Vegas, NV) – While the menu at this gourmet pizzeria has many of your standard pizza toppings, most are worthy of the “gourmet” title…from grilled gulf shrimp to BBQ chicken, there’s something for everybody. You’ll also enjoy the atmosphere and friendly wait staff. MetroPizza.com; 702-736-1955
4) Spago (Beverly Hills, CA) – These days I think a lot of critics forget about the innovator of the “Gourmet Pizza…” Wolfgang Puck. Even after all these years, Spago is still an L.A. hotspot. If you’re lucky enough to snag dinner reservations, you won’t be disappointed. Spago; 310-385-0880
5) La Grande Orange Pizzeria (Phoenix, AZ) – This place has some of the best pizza crust I’ve ever had…I don’t know how to describe it other than, d’lish! The pizzas at La Grande Orange are fairly simple with limited ingredients, but absolutely full of flavor. The roasted corn pizza topped with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and basil is one of my favorites. LaGrandeOrangePizzeria.com; 602- 840-7777
6) Serious Pie (Seattle, WA) - Seattle is a city with a flair for culinary delight, and with many great pizza joints to choose from, Serious Pie nudges out the competition as they take “gourmet pizza” to a new level. Cozy and dark, this upscale pizzeria offers sophisticated toppings with a nice selection of wines to complement any pie. Rectangle in shape, these individual pizzas are crispy on the outside and mouthwatering on the inside. SeriousPie.com; 206-838-7388
7) Artichoke Basille’s Pizzeria (New York City) – I would be remiss and perhaps stoned (with rocks) if I didn’t mention at least one NY or Chicago pizzeria on this list…Artichoke Basille’s is an absolute worthy inclusion. Unlike many of the other top pizza joints on this list, the pies at Artichoke’s are large and you can order just a slice…which is more reminiscent of a true NY pizzeria. As their namesake implies, the “artichoke” pie is their most popular, with the crab pizza a close second. Recent articles in the NY Times and other popular publications have increased the hype surrounding Artichoke Basille, so be prepared for a line. ArtichokePizza.com; 212- 228-2004
8. Pizza Antica (Santa Monica, CA) – Pizza Antica gives the term “gourmet pizza,” all new meaning. How about…black mission fig, gorgonzola, fontina and proscuitto de parma? Can you say, “Yum!” I have to tell you, fig on a pizza may sound odd, but it works! PizzaAntica.com; 310-394-4080
9) Pizzeria Dolce Vita (Houston, TX) – When in Texas and thinking of food, Italian or “gourmet pizza” is probably not the first thing to come to mind. Pizzeria Dolce Vita however will put all your preconceived notions to rest, this place does gourmet pizza as well as anyone. With unique topping ingredients that include; pears, arugula, truffle oil, butternut squash, robiola and leeks…this place epitomizes eclectic and “gourmet.” PizzeriaDolceVita; 713-520-8222
10) Pizzeria Basta (Boulder, CO) – Sometimes the simpler things are, the better…this is certainly the case at Pizzeria Basta in Boulder, Colorado. When you use the best ingredients available, prepared by skilled chefs…the result can be masterful. The pizza at Pizzeria Basta is true southern Italian style—very basic, but big on flavor and texture. PizzeriaBasta.com; 303-997-8775
One of the common themes with all of the wonderful pizzeria’s listed here is that they cook their pizza using a wood-burning oven at extreme heat, 700-900 degrees. In addition, they all use high quality, fresh ingredients. The video below from Pizzeria Basta beautifully illustrates how good pizza is prepared.
I realize there are countless wonderful gourmet pizza places around the country and the world, so please leave your comments and suggestions of other outstanding pizzerias and I may include them below as runner-ups.