Americans consume an average of 22.5 pounds of pizza annually and essentially 90-acres of pizza per day. I mean, isn’t pizza pretty much every ones favorite food? C’mon admit it. Although Hawaii is a pacific island-chain and you’d think we’d stick to a more tropically inspired diet of fish, fresh fruit and locally-grown veggies, we too have our fair share of pizza cravings. No matter where you are in the world, pizza is a perfect post-beach eat, sport-spectator bite, and late-night indulgence. And, here in Hawaii we’ve really upped the ante on the pizza front. Yes, there’s more to us than pineapple and Canadian ham Hawaiian pie. Let’s Eat! Take a bite out of Pizza by the Slice: The Top 5 Pizza Restaurants in Hawaii.
1 J.J. Dolans
J.J. Dolan’s is an Irish pub serving up New York-style pizza located in the hip and happening Chinatown district. Handcrafted pizzas plus hand-poured drinks make this haunt one of Oahu’s best. Co-owner Jay Niebuhr has been crafting pizzas since 1994 and brings an old school, East Coast influence to J.J.’s pie style and taste. And, even though Niebuhr votes Jersey Shore classic, the White Pie as his fave, you’ll also find tons of local island ingredients as pie toppers throughout their extensive menu. Choose from classics like pepperoni, margherita and spinach and garlic. Get meaty with “The Giacomo” with sausage, pepperoni, salami and olives as toppers or opt for “The Scampi Pie” that’s slathered in J.J.’s signature scampi sauce, sprinkled with mushrooms and loaded with bay shrimp. The Quattro Formaggio is idyllic for the cheese enthusiast oozing with havarti, brie, gouda, and fontina. Pizza lovers can also create their own pie. And, if you’re just seeking a quick late-night bite, JJ’s is open til 2 a.m. and even sells cheese and pepperoni by the slice.
Along with being an after-hours club, V-Lounge also might just have the best pizza in town. Wood-fired, Neopolitan-style pizza is served daily starting at 5 p.m. and Chef Alejandro Briceno, a former Nobu Waikiki patisserie chef, manages the oven. Their mission is simple: to keep the craft of the pizzaiolo alive while adhering to the principles of great pizzaiolos of the past; don’t take shortcuts, to make pizza the right way and to be inspired by the noble pies of Naples, Italy. Order the Salsiccia pie with locally made “Kukui Brand” Italian sausage, ricotta, locally grown sweet onions, and chili flakes or try the Aosta that combines fontina cheese, locally grown tomatoes and basil, and local macademia nuts. And the Prima is utter decadence in every bite with Pancetta Di San Daniele, locally grown sweet onions, Hamakua Ali’I oyster mushrooms, thyme, parsley, fresh homemade mozzarella, local egg and truffle as toppings. And, with respect to the Chef’s original pizza creations, no substitutions, subtractions or additions allowed. However, feel free to B.Y.O.P. (Build Your Own Pizza) and craft your very own unique pie creation.
3 Bar 35
Even though this pizza isn’t found in a classic restaurant but at the back of a beer bar, it’s still extraordinary. Order a Valentini pizza out of a cool little order window at Bar 35. Pies are served up on wooden pizza peels and cut into slices perfect for sharing and pairing with one of the bar’s 100+ bottled beers. The crust is thin and crispy and always sprinkled with just the right amount of toppings. The menu here is fun and innovative offering specialty pies like the Gyromatic, made with lamb and beef gyro meat, tzatziki sauce, romaine lettuce, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The Sweet Bangkok combines Chinese sausage, sweet chili sauce, and cilantro. And, the Veggielicious blends fresh zucchini, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and fresh basil with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. No pepperoni here! The toppings at Valentini’s are original, of the utmost quality and unexpected. Now that’s fusion-gourmet.
4 Matteo's Pizzeria
Located in Wailea, Maui, Matteo’s Pizzeria serves up authentic, house-made brick-oven pizzas. All pies are prepared fresh from scratch in-house by Chef Matteo himself along with his talented Italiano trained team. The Quattro Stagione is four sections evenly divided between artichokes, prosciutto, black olives and mushrooms. The Ligurian is a Margherita pizza with shrimp, mascarpone cheese and Genovese pesto. And, the Cowboy is made with roasted chicken, mushrooms, BBQ sauce, and fontina cheese. You can build your own or convert your pie to a calzone by choosing from a variety of cheese, meat, and veggie toppings. Matteo’s also has great Italian appetizers like antipasto, bruschetta, and beef carpaccio along with pastas such as Checca, Bolognese and their signature Lasagna. And, in addition to seriously scrumptious pies, Matteo's has picture perfect views of South Maui as it's located on the Wailea Blue Golf Course overlooking the bay.
5 Boston's North End Pizzeria
With locations all over the island, Boston’s North End Pizza is popular for a reason; they serve up some serious pieces of pie. Local residents Tom Rossi and Mike Bianchi (sounds Italian to me!) opened the first Boston’s Pizza in Hawaii over 14 years ago. The East Coast-style pies use only natural, wholesome ingredients in their exclusive recipes. Boston’s brings Hawaii the biggest (pies and slices are huge) and best tasting pizza at to-go friendly prices. Their pizza has been recognized and voted as the Aloha State’s best pizza numerous times. Choose from classics like cheese, pepperoni, or mushroom. Or, opt for spinach and garlic, the “Big Red” that adds tomato and mushroom to the spinach pie, or the Boston’s Special that’s made with mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, pepperoni and onion. Boston’s also has one of the best vegetarian pies I’ve ever had! Well, I know what I’m having for lunch.