Top chefs and legendary bakers are among the new breed of pizzaiolo who are just as fanatical about the temperature of their ovens as they are about the provenance of their ingredients. Here, F&W names the best places for pizza around the country from these new guard spots—including a Bay Area pizzeria that uses locally-milled flour—to century old East Coast institutions.
Pizzeria Vetri (Philadelphia)
At this pizza spot by Marc Vetri, one of the country’s best Italian chefs, the Neapolitan pies come with thick, chewy crusts and toppings like prosciutto crudo and roasted fennel. The rotolo, not to be missed, are pink, fatty slices of house-made mortadella and ricotta wrapped in pizza dough, topped with Sicilian pistachio pesto.
A16 Rockridge (Oakland, CA)
Chef Rocky Maselli runs the kitchen here as well as at the A16 flagship in San Francisco. What separates the Oakland spot from the original is the massive Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven—which cook pizzas in 90 seconds—and a few different pies such as the Montanara Rockridge (lightly fried pizza dough topped with smoky tomato sauce, burrata and basil).
Milo & Olive (Santa Monica, CA)
Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan’s burgeoning food empire includes this bakery cum pizzeria featuring Nathan’s excellent breads and whole–grain pie dough, which are topped with seasonal—and often unconventional—combinations like braised bacon with peach, Fontina and thyme.
A4 Pizza (Somerville, MA)
At Best New Chef 2000 Michael Leviton’s A4, the food menus are simply and clearly delineated into two categories: Pizza and Not Pizza. The stellar wood-fired pies of the former come with addictively charred, blistered sourdough crusts made with a 12-year-old starter.
Pig Ate My Pizza (Robbinsdale, MN)
This pizza spot in a suburb just outside Minneapolis pulls off its funky, unorthodox pies with brio. Crusts include thin and deep-dish brioche, and toppings range from pulled pork shoulder to potato chips.
Del Popolo (San Francisco)
Jon Darsky, a former pizzaiolo at San Francisco’s excellent Flour & Water, has repurposed a 20-foot shipping container to create his impressive mobile pizza restaurant. The setup includes a handmade wood-burning oven from Naples that’s protected with massive air bags during transit.
Don Antonio by Starita (New York City and Buckhead, GA)
Roberto Caporuscio, of New York’s Kesté, has partnered with his mentor, Antonio Starita, a third-generation Italian pizzaiolo. Their midtown pizzeria serves 50 different pies—including fried montanara.
Bar Toma (Chicago)
Chef Tony Mantuano lets his dough rise for 48 hours, which he says makes it lighter. Unusual toppings include lemon and pistachios.
800 Degrees (Los Angeles)
From the folks behind Umami Burger: fast artisanal pizza. Each pie is made to order and cooks in 60 seconds.
Nicoletta (New York City)
New York pizzerias love to tout their Italian bonafides, but chef Michael White’s new restaurant references a far less famous pizza destination: Wisconsin. White worked at Domenico’s in Beloit as a teenager and says the pies at Nicoletta resemble the crisp-crusted versions he ate there. “There’s no need to fold over the slice, like you do with floppy New York–style pizza,” says White. Even the mozzarella is from Wisconsin. “We’re all trying to capture those childhood tastes, right? I’m chasing the pizza of my youth.”
More from Food & Wine: