In the eternal quest for the perfect pizza, one burning question prevails: where on Earth can we find the absolute best slice? Pizza, in all its glorious variations, has become a global sensation, tempting taste buds from the bustling streets of New York City to the quaint pizzerias of Italy’s picturesque villages and beyond. But the debate rages on: is the pinnacle of pizza perfection nestled within the heart of New York’s bustling metropolis, the depths of Chicago’s savory pies, or perhaps hidden away in the very birthplace of this culinary masterpiece – Italy?
What The Internet Has To Say
Undoubtedly, the quest for the perfect pizza is a culinary odyssey marked by a cacophony of opinions and personal preferences. Everyone seems to have a favorite slice, a go-to pizzeria etched into their memory from a special occasion or a childhood tradition. It’s a testament to the subjectivity of taste that what one person adores, another may dismiss. This notion was aptly articulated in a Quora comment I recently stumbled upon: “The best pizza is wherever you ate it on your first date. Or wherever your mum and dad took you for your birthday when you were five. The question is so subjective that it actually doesn’t have an answer.”
As an illustration, the Italian perspective on pizza often contrasts starkly with the American notion of this beloved dish. To many Italians, what we commonly refer to as pizza in the United States barely registers as authentic pizza. However, this doesn’t negate the possibility that these divergent interpretations can’t be equally delicious in their own right. It’s a vivid reminder that cultural variations in culinary preferences can be as rich and diverse as the myriad flavors that adorn a pizza.
Moreover, the global reach of pizza has led to astonishing innovations. Take, for instance, the Thai creation known as Larb Pizza, featuring a bread crust adorned with a topping of raw meat marinated in lime and herbs. While this concoction might prompt raised eyebrows in many quarters, it holds a special place in the hearts and palates of the Thai people. It’s a testament to the endless possibilities and interpretations that this beloved dish can inspire.
In the end, the “best” pizza is a highly personal affair, rooted in individual memories, experiences, and yes, taste buds. Your cherished pizza joint down the block, the age-old Italian pizzeria steeped in tradition, or even a familiar chain pizza can be your pizza nirvana, and that’s perfectly fine. Our personal pizza allegiances are a testament to the diversity of taste and the deeply personal connections we forge with our food. So, as we explore various pizzas across the United States and Italy, let’s bear in mind that while we may celebrate certain slices, the ultimate pizza accolade is subjective and deeply tied to our own unique culinary journeys.
Let The Pizza Wars Begin!
Within the United States, a thriving pizza culture flourishes, boasting a remarkable diversity of over 80,000 small-chain and independent pizza establishments, as reported by Yelp and industry data. Pizzas and their slices find their way into an array of settings, be it gas stations, bustling mall food courts, time-honored slice joints, or elegant white-tablecloth trattorias (which is Italian for restaurant). This iconic dish consistently offers affordability and portability, making it a beloved comfort food, a fact further underscored during the pandemic.
Our quest led us on a nationwide journey in pursuit of the finest pizzas, spanning from iconic New York City slices to the hallowed halls of OG Italian Pizzerias. However, the ultimate determination of who reigns supreme in the realm of pizza excellence? Well, that, my fellow pizza aficionados, is a debate for you to fervently engage in and decide.
The debate over “what is Chicago pizza?” rages on, with the city offering two distinct contenders. While deep-dish pizza, typically associated with a fork and knife, garners significant attention from tourists, it’s tavern-style pizza that many locals claim as the true essence of Chicago pizza. Tavern-style, characterized by its thin and crispy crust, round shape, and square-cut slices, made its debut in the late 1930s, often served alongside drinks in bars. In contrast, deep-dish pizza, born in 1943, features a dough pressed into a pan, generously layered with mozzarella, toppings (often sausage), and a chunky tomato sauce, with longer cooking times.
However, it was in the 1960s and 1970s that deep-dish pizza gained widespread popularity, particularly on the North Side of Chicago. The concept of “pizza in the pan” spread rapidly, making it a prominent contender in the city’s pizza scene. While the debate rages on, both styles have left an indelible mark on the rich tapestry of Chicago’s culinary heritage.
Check out these places in Chicago for pizza!
- Buona Terra at 3608 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60618
- Spacca Napoli Pizzería at 1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640-5312
- Giordano’s Pizzeria at 730 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
To truly savor the New York City pizza experience, it’s all about grabbing a slice and hitting the bustling streets. New Yorkers are known for their multitasking prowess, and sitting down to enjoy pizza often feels like a waste of precious time.
An iconic New York slice is thin at the center with a raised lip on the edge, making it flexible, foldable, and perfectly portable for your on-the-go adventures. Expect a flavorful tomato sauce with hints of herbs, low-moisture mozzarella for mess-free enjoyment, and a bold, salty flavor profile.
While numerous pizza connoisseurs abound, each with their own favorites, the downside of New York is the abundance of great pies, making it impossible to sample them all in a single visit.
- East Village Pizza at 145 1st Ave, New York City, NY 10003-2928
- SottoCasa Pizzería at 227 Lenox Ave, New York City, NY 10027-6542
- Numero 28 Pizzería at 28 Carmine St, New York City, NY 10014-4437
To truly understand pizza, one must embark on a culinary pilgrimage to the heart of its creation: Naples. Here, in the very birthplace of this iconic dish, you’ll encounter an unparalleled pizza experience.
Naples is not only the originator of pizza but also a haven for the freshest Neapolitan ingredients, including the luscious San Marzano tomatoes and the juiciest mozzarella di bufala. The guardians of pizza quality at the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana ensure that every pizza pie is a masterpiece. And if you’ve only heard of the famed Julia Roberts pizza from ‘Eat Pray Love,’ get ready for a delightful surprise. Our list features pizzas that surpass even that iconic creation. Allow us to introduce you to the absolute best pizzas in Naples.
- Pizzería Sandropizzettata at Via Francesco Solimena 72, 80129, Naples Italy
- Re Pazzo at Via Amerigo Vespucci 138 Via Amerigo Vespucci 133, 80142, Naples Italy
- Pizzería Speranzella at Via Speranzella, 84 Angolo via San Mattia, 80132, Naples Italy
Who Takes The Grand Prize For Best Pizza?
In the world of pizza, the quest for the “best” is an ever-evolving journey with countless destinations. Whether it’s the legendary slices of New York, the hearty deep-dish of Chicago, or the authentic Neapolitan creations of Naples, each locale has its own magic to offer. And while our culinary voyage has taken us far and wide, we invite you to embark on a delightful journey of your own right here at Buona Terra.
Our commitment to crafting authentic Italian cuisine and celebrating the artistry of pizza is evident in every mouthwatering bite. Join us and discover that sometimes, the best pizza is the one you’re about to savor. Buona Terra awaits to share the taste of Italy with you, right here in the heart of Chicago. Buon appetito!