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Top 10 Best Pizza Cities in the U.S.

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
The perfect slice is worth a flight; and, hey, knowing the passionate opinions of pizza aficionados, perhaps a fight as well! Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Pizza Cities in the U.S. For this list, we’re looking at American cities that have proven themselves to foster master pie-makers.

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Top 10 Best Pizza Cities in the U.S.

The perfect slice is worth a flight; and, hey, knowing the passionate opinions of pizza aficionados, perhaps a fight as well! Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Pizza Cities in the U.S. For this list, we’re looking at American cities that have proven themselves to foster master pie-makers.

#10: Seattle, Washington

Though not the first city that comes to mind for iconic slices, this West Coast city has slowly but surely been perfecting its game thanks to a pizza renaissance that kicked off at the turn off the new millenium. Once a city with decent to good-but-not-great pizza, Seattle’s new generation of slicemakers have put it on the map. There is now an abundance of classic, thin crust wood-fired pizzas waiting to make your tastebuds dance with delight. Distinct from most other cities on our list today, Seattle is also big on Greek-style pizza, which is baked in a shallow pan.

#9: Portland, Maine

Jetting over to the other side of the country, the “other” Portland is the doing the New England region and America’s East coast proud with their pies. An under-the-radar foodie destination that earned the distinction of being named Bon Appetit Magazine’s “Restaurant City of the Year” in 2018, Portland has shown the world that it’s got more to offer than fresh seafood. Wood-fired pizzas now abound, and the focus is on a quality crust (as it should be). Nonetheless, in keeping with New England tastes, the toppings can get pretty wild. Such is level of Portland’s pizza prowess that Food & Wine named it “America's Next Great Pizza City” in 2018.

#8: Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital might be best known for politics, but talk to a serious pizza lover and they’d much rather wax poetic about the pizzas being made there than legislation. Any city that hosts an annual Pizzafest clearly takes their pie culture very seriously. Once considered a culinary wasteland, Washington, D.C. has, in recent years, seen its restaurant scene evolve and mature, in no small part thanks to a refining of their pizza game. Nowadays, the debate over the best pizzas in the city rages red hot, much like the wood-burning ovens that help give these slices of heaven that perfect charr. In Washington, D.C., Neapolitan-style reigns supreme, though other types are also well-represented.

#7: Los Angeles, California

Though Los Angeles may not rank as highly with pizza as it does for some other classic dishes, there’s no doubt that the City of Angels knows how to make a pie. A truly international city with a food culture to match, Los Angeles is like a global buffet of dishes done well. As such, many travelers overlook the city’s pizza scene in favor of more obvious cuisines, but that’s a major misstep in your trip planning. A new generation of pizzaïolos are forcing foodies to finally take notice by delivering pizza that blurs the line between Neapolitan and the ever-popular New York style (more on that later). Take a bite next time you’re in town, your mouth will thank you.

#6: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia pizza scene is a crowded one. For completists looking to find the best slice for themselves, this can make it an overwhelming destination, but when you do your research ahead of time and cut through the imitators… well, you’re actually still left with a whole lot of pizza joints to visit. Philly continues to be overshadowed by some of America’s more famous pizza cities, but it’s nipping at their heels. The new generation of piemakers are mastering the Neapolitan style while others continue to serve up the city’s more emblematic square slices and cheesesteak pizzas; a handful of restaurants are even pushing boldly into totally uncharted territory. It’s an eclectic pizza city, and each variety is worth a try.

#5: San Francisco, California

Much like L.A., San Francisco is a foodie’s delight, offering some of the very best versions of dishes from all around the world you’ve ever tried. Though both Los Angeles and San Francisco are often lumped together as “California-style pizza”, there’s far more nuance to the pies coming out of both cities than that. In San Francisco, everything feels very deliberate and well-planned, from the tech startups to the city’s waste management program; the pizza is no different. The pizzaïolos of San Fran have each picked their style and mastered it, from Neapolitan and NYC style, to deep dish and yes, California-style. Local institution Tony's Pizza Napoletana actually specializes in doing a wide variety of regional styles, from Sicilian to St. Louis.

#4: Las Vegas, Nevada

We know, we know. This is a bit of a curveball. Better known to the masses for its casinos and massive buffets, Las Vegas has long seen its pizza offerings overshadowed by the shiny lights of the Strip. But Las Vegas is now a serious contender. Here, local chains have somehow managed to nail the formula for easily replicated pizza in a variety of styles, with remarkably solid results. Of course, chains alone haven’t earned Vegas such a high spot. Master pizzaïolos from all around the world have opened up shop in town, meaning that travelers and residents can now take their pick of Neapolitan, Roman, Californian, deep dish and Brooklyn style pizzas - all expertly executed.

#3: Boston, Massachusetts

Bostonians rejoice, you’ve made it onto the podium. Beloved by some but overlooked by many, Boston pizza is far more than the franchise by that name would have the world believe. In 2018, TripAdvisor revealed that the single highest rated pizza place in America (according to user reviews), was Boston’s own Regina Pizza. Local pizzaïolos have been putting the work in for years, and it’s finally paying off; the Boston pizza scene is finally getting its due. Boston pizza places are dishing up some of the best Sicilian pan and rustic Neapolitan pizza you’ve ever tasted. Of course, their pizza counters have also perfected the greasy late night slice.

#2: Chicago, Illinois

This city’s unique take on pizza might be divisive, but we’ve kept an open-mind while making this list, acknowledging that there’s no such thing as one true style of pizza. And so long as you dive into a Chicago deep dish pizza with a similarly open mind (and stomach), you’re sure to walk away from the experience very satisfied. Chicago’s iconic deep dish pizzas take a very literal approach to the concept of a pizza pie, boasting a high-edged crust, chunky sauce and plenty of cheese. The thing is though, Chicago doesn’t exclusively produce deep dish pizza. Some actually call it’s reputation a distraction. Locals will tell you to try their incredible tavern-style thin crust pizza, which the city should equally be famous for.

#1: New York City, New York

Honestly, after doing our research on Chicago’s real pizza scene, picking our winner was very difficult. In the end however, NYC came out on top. The reason? The sheer volume of quality pizza. Brooklyn pizza is legendary, so much so that it’s almost a pizza city in its own right. Be that as it may, Brooklyn is part of New York City, and so NYC maintains its status as America’s pizza mecca. Of course, the city also nails the Neapolitan and Sicilian styles, but hand-tossed pies cut into huge slices, baked to perfection and dripping with stretchy cheese, New York pizza is what dreams are made of. Whether you get a whole artisanal pie or a single slice, it’s a taste of heaven.


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