Zagat recently named Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach one of the highest-rated pizzeria in the country. We went to see how it stacked up and ended up wondering: Is this new rash of best-of lists hurting or helping the promotion of truly great pizza?
'Reviews' on Serious Eats
The 5th annual Pizza Olympics in Philly was an amazing, overwhelming, gut-busting time. With strong showings by J&J Pizza, Cacia's Pizza Pizzaz, Chickie's and Pete's plain slice, and Paulie's sloppy joe pie, over 10 pizzerias offered up slices to satiate a wide variety of palates.
Ask a Washingtonian for recommendations on where newcomers should eat and more likely than not their list will include 2Amys and Standard. Shining stars of comforting Italian and neighborhood charm, respectively, it's hard to imagine any product of a collaboration of the two teams would be anything less than stellar. And sure enough, when 2Amys founders Peter Pastan and Amy Morgan teamed up with Standard co-owners Tad Curtz and David Rosner to quietly open Etto, they didn't disappoint.
The air sizzled with anticipation leading up to Bestia's opening last November. Time has not tempered the excitement. Any non-6 p.m. or 9:45 p.m. reservation must still be made one month in advance. Since the early days, dinner at Bestia has been splendid. As the kitchen tightens up and recipes get tinkered with, the food—specifically the pizza—gets better and better.
I envision myself on a day where everything goes wrong: where I have PMS and I lose my wallet and I slip and fall and get mud all over my jeans and have a huge fight with my bestie. On this day, 13th Street Gourmet Pizza's dessert pie is exactly what I would want.
Who knew Woodstock, Georgia was a legit pizza destination town? The tiny hamlet is on the extreme edge of what can just barely be called the metro Atlanta area: a full thirty miles from Centennial Olympic Park and admittedly way off the beaten path for most Atlanta pizza fanatics. True, this northwestern 'burb is on serious Slice'rs' radar screens thanks to the world-class pies at Vingenzo's. But about 1,000 feet away, FireStone Wood Fired Pizza & Grill is doing the California-style pie thing with similarly stellar results
What's Italian for "sad?" At Cibo e Beve, I ordered a topping as unique as duck and paid 17 bucks for the privilege, but came away with an impression that was no more memorable than "a rich white pie that mainly tastes like smoke."
A Brooklynite myself, I'll admit to a tinge of favoritism when I declare that there's no better borough for pizza. Or, to be a little more diplomatic, let's say that it's home to the city's greatest concentration of top notch pies. We've got the classics, like Totonno's, Grimaldi's, and Di Fara, along with a slew of (relative) newcomers—Roberta's, Paulie Gee's, and Best Pizza, to name just a few. And, of course, there's Franny's. We finally made it over to their new-and-improved location to check in on their pies.
In March, an odd and unused window on the side of The Churchill took on new life, as the food and cold-pressed juice purveyor, Clover Takeaway, set up shop. Tucked away at the bottom of their menu is the NYC Cheese Pizza Slice, at a tempting $2.00—a steal given the talent and ingredients on hand in The Churchill's kitchen.
We'd already made up our minds to order a chicken roll (that'd be thin-cut strips of fried chicken rolled up in pizza dough, baked, and served with sauce for dipping). But then we heard one of the girls in front of us—the skinniest one, no less—order a "ravioli pizza please."
Uh... what? Surely she means "ravioli, pizza, please," right?.
Nope. She meant ravioli pizza. As in ricotta ravioli baked on top of pizza. As in cheese-stuffed carbs, placed on top of carbs, covered in more cheese, topped with some extra cheese for good measure. Oh, and then baked.
There's hope for gluten-free pizza lovers: Salugo Pizzeria's crispy GF crust is gussied up with high-quality toppings, from spicy sopressata to fresh, sautéed spinach.
Folks in Orlando seem smitten by The Table, Tyler Brassil and Loren Falsone's family-style, fixed-menu concept that is part restaurant, part supper-club. It's a nice space, and the food I tried there was pretty darn good. But the real secret is next door at Pharmacy, their cocktail bar.
Cucina Asellina should be killing it in Atlanta. But sadly, their much-ballyhooed pizzas left my palate underwhelmed, and my wallet overextended.
Is flatbread pizza? The debate is certainly nothing new. But at Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos, the self-styled flatbread makers don't worry too much about labels. Instead, they focus on ingredients. Here's a look at the ten pies that emerged most recently from the 20-ton, 900º masonry oven that hulks along one wall in the open dining room.
Shock, dismay, shame...let's just say it was quite the humbling moment when I realized we had yet to review—let alone try— the pies at Emporio. Not only is the modest, inviting restaurant located mere blocks from Serious Eats HQ, but we really, really like the place. The two Roman-style pizzas I encountered on a recent visit proved revelatory—if not on a city-wide scale, certainly on a how-did-I-not-know-this-was-in-my-neighborhood one.
Oh, what a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, Village Pizzeria was one of LA's top shops. Today, it's barely discussed in pizza circles. But did it change or did we? We returned after a long sabbatical to find out for ourselves.
It was with no small amount of excitement that multiple friends—from die-hard pizza aficionados in New York City to fellow expats who have been living a rather bleak, pizza-less existence—barraged me with the news that Motorino was opening its first international outpost here in Hong Kong. Needless to say, I was eager to see how the famed New York pizzeria was faring in its early weeks abroad.
We set out for Coney Island last weekend for a long overdue taste of Totonno's. The pizzeria has only been open for a matter of weeks, since completing post-Sandy repairs, but they haven't skipped a beat. The pies? Better than ever.
Praise continuously falls upon Olio Pizzeria & Cafe. Its popularity among the masses is shared by the media—it was ranked the 3rd Best Pizzeria in LA by LA Weekly and named a Critic's Choice in the LA Times. Then again, we Slice'rs—who study pizza day in, day out—take such popularity with a grain of salt. In Olio's case, though, the acclaim is entirely deserved.
On paper, Mike Isabella cuts an impressive figure. He's moved around the country, working with the likes of Marcus Samuelsson, Jose Garces, and José Andrés, and made appearances on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. But pizza is a notoriously tricky endeavor, even for the most accomplished of chefs.