To say that we trust Tom Douglas when it comes to Seattle's restaurant scene would be an understatement. We've asked him to recommend everything from his favorite eateries to Seattle's best burgers. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the chef just happened to be crowned the nation's Best Restaurateur at last year's James Beard awards. With 12 restaurants under his belt, including two pretty serious pie shops—not to mention a catering business, a line of specialty foods, and a professional bakery—we figured it was high time to get his take on Seattle's expanding pizza scene.
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"Ballard Pizza Company is the first place I've opened with a 'What do we really want to do for the community?' attitude," he explains, adding, "I wanted a place where people in the Ballard neighborhood could enjoy good pizza made with good ingredients at a good price."
While the major hubs in the Pacific Northwest don't have a pizza tradition, there are plenty of passionate pizza people that have opened up shop in Seattle and Portland. The pizza landscape has changed dramatically in the last seven years, so much so that Portland and Seattle seem to be leading the charge in the pizza renaissance. And despite not having regional styles steeped in history, pizzerias in the Pacific Northwest are putting their own stamp on Neopartisinal pies through local sourcing, creative toppings, and new approaches, all of which perpetuate the evolution of pizza.
Cornuto Pizzeria is the most recent pie-centric addition to Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood: a second-cousin of local microchains Via Tribunali and Caffe Vita. With the high heat of the boutique oven, and the respect given to the ingredients, it's a no-brainer that the pies at Cornuto would be great.
Despite enduring one of the worst dining experiences in recent memory, it's easy for me to recommend Pritty Boys Family Pizzeria. Embrace a quadruple-threat of meats with The Craver, a sausage/pepperoni/Candian bacon/beef bacon wonder that'll leave you smiling, even while the restaurant becomes overrun with hyperactive preschoolers.
Sometimes you wish you could like the food you've been served more than you actually do. This unfortunately was the case for me at a longtime Seattle institute, Filiberto's Cucina Italiana, at least until a little do-it-yourself action with a side dish saved the day.
It's not often I'm given the opportunity to eat pizza at a winery, but after trying the short rib and ramp-topped pie at Novelty Hill/Januik in Woodinville, I'm definitely inspired to peruse other wineries' menus.
Who can resist a hefty Sicilian slice topped with salami, pepperoni, and sausage? It's nothing fancy, just salty, oily meats resting on a thin layer of herbaceous tomato sauce and mozzarella. The meats do everything they're supposed to do: the pepperoni brings the mild spiciness, the salami brings the sodium and grease, and the hunks of sausage bring the characteristic porkiness (sans fennel, unfortunately). Standard stuff, but a perfect cap to a night of drinking (which is what this neighborhood is really for.)
So here's something crazy I have never mentioned on Slice and maybe this counts .... On that Rachael Ray trip, the magazine paid for a crazy-ass plane trip from NYC to PDX to SEA to SFO to LAX to PHX to MCI (that's Kansas City). Instead of going straight home to NYC, though, I decided to have my "return" flight drop me in KC so I could visit my family. The magazine's travel agent was amenable to this. What did she care if my last leg stopped in NYC or KC? As long as I paid my own way back from KC to NYC, that was cool with her. Anyway, here's the deal, though: I didn't go home to NYC.
Like the Midwest pies it's emulating, the crust is thin, tender, and flaky. I usually pass on pizza taken to such excess, but The Ballard Bridge pie won me over from the first bite. It's loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and ground beef tucked under a gooey layer of mozzarella, then topped with black olives and white onions.
Potatoes on pizza: way or no way? At Flying Squirrel Pizza Co. in Seattle, owner Bill Coury spits in the face of carb-counters (figuratively, of course) with his popular #6, a New York–style pie topped with chive oil, Maytag blue cheese, spinach, garlic, mozzarella, and lemon-herb roasted potatoes. Here's how to make this delicious pizza at home.
The news cycled quickly through the Slice ranks: Bill Pustari, owner of venerated New Haven pizzeria Modern Apizza, just opened a concession stand at Seattle's Safeco Field. For a Seattleite like myself, 3,000 miles from Connecticut, the only natural reaction to such an announcement is to emit the high-pitched squeal usually reserved for prepubescent girls upon acquisition of backstage passes at a Justin Bieber concert.
Hear the word pizza and breakfast is rarely the first meal that comes to mind. The combination of tomato sauce, salty cheese, and cured meats just seems to lend itself to a lunch- or dinnertime item, but slap an egg on it, and suddenly it's completely acceptable breakfast material. Since Mioposto Caffe e Pizzeria seems to focus just as heavily on its coffee as its Italian eats, it was smart decision for them to offer something the locals could devour while sipping their lattes on rainy Seattle mornings, and their spicy breakfast pizza fits the bill admirably.
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The best thing about Delancey's fresh clam pizza is an incredible sauce made from the reduced clam-steaming liquid and a little crème fraiche. Slivers of preserved lemons don't hurt either. Here's how to make Brandon Pettit's incredible pizza at home.
Pulcinella is Seattle's fourth VPN-certified pizzeria. And like its three competitors, the pizza served here is almost entirely by-the-book Neapolitan. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as that's what you're looking for.
Some may have found it hyperbolic when I deemed Delancey the best pizzeria in Seattle. What then do they say of the Seattle Weekly's claim that the very recent newcomer to the Emerald City pizza scene, The Independent, "easily makes...the best pizza in town"? I knew I couldn't be the only one to find that statement provocative, especially since the Weekly has never bestowed its "Best Pizza" award upon the transcendent pies at Delancey, so tasting Independent's wares quickly became my #1 priority.
In many cities, perhaps even most cities outside New York or Naples, you will come across a pizzeria that is clearly head-and-shoulders above the rest of the town's competition. This is very much true in Seattle, Washington, where owner/pizzaiolo Brandon Pettit's Delancey serves not only the best pizza in the city, but the best I've eaten in the entire state. By a mile.
When I heard that a joint in West Seattle serves pizza with a cornicione that could give Mozza's a run for its money, I double-timed it to Phoenecia to find out if it tasted as good as it looked. As it turns out, it did.
On the tourist-choked strip of waterfront real estate known as Alki Beach in West Seattle, Pegasus Pizza caters to the drunken masses who just want something to soak up all the Bud Light. There's no better pie on the menu to absorb that alcohol than The Hercules, a pizza whose sheer heft is truly worthy of its namesake.