Even the worst pizza in the world can give other foods some stiff competition. But the best pizzas in the world? Well, those are borderline heavenly. Great pizza often comes from the most surprising and unassuming of places. We’ve all had some pretty awesome slices in our days, but if you’re anything like us, you’re ready to dig deeper. It looks like it’s about time to schedule your next vacation, because these pizzas are worth the airfare.
1. Di Fara Pizza (Brooklyn, New York)
You won’t be surprised to hear that our first option is from New York. Being pizza nirvana, New York City has thousands of options just sitting there, waiting for you to munch. Di Fara is one of the finest places to start: Located in Brooklyn, this small establishment is as dripping in character as it is cheese. Each Di Fara pizza is lovingly made to order by owner Domenico de Marco, who has been hard at work there since he emigrated from Italy in 1959. De Marco shows no signs of stopping — be sure to read more of his story on the pizzeria’s website.
Authenticity is one of Di Fara’s high points, and the company has the flavor, texture, and delicate preparation to back it up: crisp crusts, fresh basil (grown on de Marco’s own sill), and sweet tomato sauce get the wood-burning oven treatment. Only hitch? Freshness takes time, so be prepared to wait!
2. Lou Malnati’s (Chicago)
Chicago is world renowned for its deep-dish offerings, and since the 1940s, Lou Malnati’s has served up the best of the best. Another old school favorite, Lou Malnati’s boasts unparalleled historical value. The pizzeria’s success dervies from a rich history and a commitment to high-quality pies, and you can learn just about everything there is to know about it — except the secret recipes, that is – on the pizzeria’s website.
Every pizza at Malnati’s is handmade from scratch using the freshest ingredients. One of the highlights is this pizzeria’s buttery, flaky crust: a Malnati family recipe that has been passed down over the generations. This pizza is a delicious departure from your usual pie: fresh mozzarella is placed directly over the dough, then topped by additional toppings to order, which is in turn topped with tomato sauce (made from the Malnati recipe, of course). Top with cheese and spices, and you’ll be satisfied for days.
3. Al Forno (Providence, Rhode Island)
Al Forno is the birthplace of the grilled pizza in the United States, a claim that is excitedly recounted on the pizzeria’s website. That said, the establishment is well deserving of its laurels. Co-owned by chefs Johanne Killeen and George Germon, the restaurant opened its doors in January 1980. The restaurant has received vast amounts of press for its Italian cuisine, but its pizza is certainly what put it on the map.
This pizza is mind blowing: It offers up a crispy, savory, oil-tinged crust with notes of smokiness. This is topped with fontina cheese, thick dollops of sauce, and shaved scallions, along with your choice of toppings. There’s a reason Providence was (controversially, albeit) ranked Travel + Leisure‘s third-best pizza city in the U.S. — this pizza gives much of Italy a run for its money!
4. Una Pizza Napoletana (San Francisco)
For an unbelievable West Coast spin on this Italian classic, chef Anthony Mangieri serves up his own fresh dough, Italian-imported cheeses, and your choice of fresh toppings made to order. According to Serious Eats, Mangieri’s most recent addition to the menu is the Apollonia (named for his daughter): It features an expertly delicate combination of Italian salami, buffalo mozzarella, garlic, basil, sea salt, black pepper, and a thin layer of beaten egg.
The catch? The nondescript storefront is open only four days a week, from 2 p.m. until … whenever Mangieri runs out of dough. Learn more about the pizza — and the man behind it – on the pizzeria’s website!
5. Galleria Umberto (Boston)
In the market for an imposing slice of Sicilian? Galleria Umberto is the best place in town. Located in Boston’s historically Italian-American North End neighborhood – the city’s oldest residential community – this place does authentic pizza, and it does it right.
The Sicilian-style pizza at Galleria Umberto is thick and hearty, smothered with freshly made sauce and topped generously with hot mozzarella that cascades invitingly off the pan — and, hopefully, right into your mouth. For authentic and fresh Italian slices that won’t break the bank ($1.45 for a slice of plain, says Serious Eats), you have come to the right place. But be warned: This is not pizza for the faint of heart!
You can tell it’s a true neighborhood joint by the lack of an official webpage. But never fear, pizza lovers: You can find the address and contact information on its Google+ page.