Pizza — it can be perfect comfort food, or a truly gourmet creation, limited only by the ingredients and imagination of the maker. Or sometimes, it can be both. We offer you our Top 5 picks for who makes the most pleasing pie around town, some legendary, others perhaps well-kept secrets around town. Regardless, don’t leave Phoenix without trying them all. That’s “amore!”
1 Pizzeria Bianco
This place is famous for its long wait, thanks to it's cozy quarters in historic Downtown Phoenix and artisan pizzas that are so delicious they're legendary. The pet project of James Beard Award winner and pizza maker extraordinaire Chris Bianco, the restaurant has been in business now for more than 15 years, thanks to the staff's careful attention to detail and high standards. And though Bianco himself is no longer a regular in the kitchen, he remains the Valley's "Prince of Pizza." Everything is good here, but we like the Sonny Boy, topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami and Gaeta olives best.
623 E. Adams Street, Phoenix AZ 85004 602.258.8300 web
2 Oregano's Pizza Bistro
Oregano's has all the atmosphere of a good family-run restaurant, not to mention a great sense of humor; the servers here wear T-shirts with fun phrases like "Menu Can Trust." The pizzas they're best known for are the deep dish, Chicago-style ones, since the founding family has a history in the Windy City, but you can also order thin crust, if that's more your style. There are also the stuffed pizzas, which are out-of-this-world, make-your-eyes-roll-into-the-back-of-your-head good. They have more than 40 different toppings you can choose from in order to make your own delicious combo, or choose one of their already designed specialty pizzas. Trust us, you have not lived until you've tried their Rosemary Chicken Potato Pizza.
3 Rare Earth Pizza and Wine Bar
Enjoy the view here in addition to the pizzas. Located on the second story of a shopping area situated between Troon Mountain and Pinnacle Peak, the pizza and wine bar offers wonderful outside dining on their terrace patio. Their pizzas are thin-crust, and the menu offers a good mix of classics and out-of-the-box combos. The Four Cheese Pizza is not to be underestimated, with mozzarella, fontina, goat cheese, bleu cheese, tomatoes, pine nuts and basil, and neither is the Glen's Frittata, made with prosciutto, mushrooms, onions and pepperoncini, centered with a scrambled egg and baked to absolute perfection.
28190 N. Alma School Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85262 480.513.6252 web
4 Grimaldi's Pizzeria
Grimaldi's Pizzeria began in New York City but also has locations in Texas, Florida, Las Vegas, and six locations throughout the Phoenix area and Tucson. Serving brick oven-fired pizzas in the good old-fashioned, Italian-American, straight-from-Brooklyn style, the Grimaldi's family claims to have more than 100 years' experience making well-crafted pizzas. We love visiting the Old Town Scottsdale location and watching the chefs behind the counter make the dough by hand and then toss it around like madmen. They use anthracite-burning ovens, because the material is said to burn cleaner than coal without sacrificing any of the flavor. And get this: They have a chemist recreate the exact mineral content and composition of New York water for each of their out-of-state locations so that "New York water" can be pumped in, ensuring the pizzas are as authentically New York-style as possible. Now that's dedication to the pizza-making cause.
5 Spinato's Pizzeria
The family-owned and operated Spinato's has four locations in the Valley, and every one of them serves amazing thin and thick crust pizza. None are too inventive, they mainly stick with what we all know works, but their ingredients are as fresh as can be and every pie comes out cooked perfectly. The Mamma Spinato's Signature Fresh Spinach Pizza is a popular one to try, but we're hooked on the Spicy Italian, made with meatballs, pepperoni and lots and lots of onions. The latter may not be the best choice for a first date, but it sure will get your taste buds fired up.