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10Best Places in Phoenix for Pizza Nirvana



Phoenix may not be New York or Chicago, but this desert metropolis has more than its share of great pizza parlors, including one restaurant whose pies were famously dubbed "the best pizza in America."

Specialty pies can be found at La Grande Orange, a hip pizzeria and cafe in the picturesque Arcadia neighborhood. Hand-crafted pies are made from locally sourced ingredients and a wide selection of gourmet cheeses, meats, and fresh veggies.

The Parlor in central Phoenix has made an appearance on the Food Network's list of the top 50 pizzas in America, and it's not hard to see why. The award-winning wood-fired pizza at this charming cafe features the delectable house blend cheese and gourmet toppings such as figs, goat cheese, and even house made lamb sausage.

If you are craving great ambiance with your pie, head to Cibo, a central Phoenix restaurant housed in a historic bungalow. The romantic lighting and shady outdoor patio are the perfect complement to the artisanal pizza, hand-tossed by Chef Guido Saccone.

And just where in Phoenix can you find the "best pizza in America"? Follow the crowds to Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix, where chef Chris Bianco's celebrated wood-fired, hand-crafted pies draw foodies from across the country.

 


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Base Pizzeria is all about organic ingredients, which is what you'll find topping most of the pizzas at this health-conscious pizza joint in Phoenix's swanky Biltmore neighborhood. Sure, that may not sound entirely promising, but trust us, the pizzas here offer a pleasant, flavorful break from greasy pies overstuffed with cheese. Most of the pizzas on the menu are made on thin, Neapolitan-style crusts and then topped with a nice homemade tomato base that's slightly tangy. For a veggie-forward pizza, try The Mediterranean, which comes topped with mushrooms, artichokes, kalamata olives and just a touch of shaved Parmesan. If you don't mind your pizza with a little kick, try the El Diablo, a pie topped with a fiery soppressata and charred peppers. Base Pizzeria also offers a menu of light appetizers and gourmet salads, and a nice wine list. Oh, and the casually upscale dining room offers some great mountain views, too.

Recommended for Pizza because: Base Pizzeria is the antidote to greasy, unappetizing pizzas. Come here when you're craving freshly made, thin-crust pizza loaded with organic veggies.

Patricia's expert tip: Start with the beet bruschetta with goat cheese, a flavorful spin on the classic starter made with locally grown ingredients.

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Federal Pizza brings midcentury style and flair to the downtown Phoenix dining scene. The restaurant is housed in a restored 50s-era First Federal Bank building. The digs and ambiance are casually upscale and stylish, but the real draw here is the menu, which features gourmet pizza, pastas, sandwiches and salads. All pizzas are 12-inch hand-crafted pies, and the menu offers a beer pairing suggestion for each specialty pizzas. For a sensational veggie pie, try the "At Last," which is topped with roasted corn, broccolini, fresno chiles, goat cheese, basil and lemon zest. Meat-lovers will appreciate the "Big Star," topped with Schreiner's sausage, molanari pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, wood roasted onions, red and yellow papers and the zesty red sauce.

Recommended for Pizza because: Federal Pizza delivers gourmet pizza in a casually upscale restaurant with stylish mid-century ambiance.

Patricia's expert tip: Don't miss the old school wine coolers, which are made in-house.

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La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria is one of Phoenix's most popular grocery, cafe, breakfast bar and pizzeria. The pizzas here are sumptuous and unique, hand-crafted with the freshest ingredients available. Try "The Fallen Angel," made with schreiner's sausage, shaved fennel, roasted peppers, premium cheese and red sauce. Craving a spicy pie? Try "The Rocket Man," featuring spicy red fresno chiles, broccolini, roasted peppers, roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. You can even create your own specialty pizza from the wide selection of fresh veggies, meats and cheeses. "LGO," as it is known to locals, is quite popular, so be prepared for a short wait.

Recommended for Pizza because: La Grande Orange Pizzeria a favorite neighborhood haunt for creative, gourmet pizza.

Patricia's expert tip: Most pizzas can be made vegan. Be prepared for long waits during the lunch and dinner rush.

Read more about La Grande Orange Pizzeria →


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This north Phoenix pizza eatery happens to dish out some of the city's best specialty pizza pies. One of the most popular pies is the Spicy Butcher, which is heavy on meat (sausage and pepperoni), with a spicy kick to boot, courtesy of peperoncino and perfectly zest fra diavlo sauce. For a healthy twist on pizza that doesn't skimp on flavors, try the Power Pie, which is topped with hormone-free grilled chicken, fresh spinach, white mushrooms, low fat mozzarella, almond slivers and baked in a light pizza sauce made with extra virgin olive oil and a whole wheat crust. My Pie is also known for its delicious garlic knots and daily beer specials.

Recommended for Pizza because: My Pie delivers specialty pizzas in a fun, fast-casual setting.

Patricia's expert tip: Don't miss the amazing garlic knots.

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Fired Pie, as the name suggests, dishes out wood-fired pizza with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and good value. The stylish fast casual restaurant (with several locations in Phoenix and a new location in Tucson) offers specialty pies like the popular "Steak and Blue," which is topped with thin-sliced steak, mushrooms, peppers, onions and gorgonzola cheese. The Pesto Chicken, featuring the house pesto, is herb-infused and delicious. The restaurant also offers a build-your-own-pie option for adventurous pizza lovers. This is the place to go when you're craving delicious, freshly made pizza without a long wait. The restaurant's fast-casual set-up is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

Recommended for Pizza because: For great pizza in a hurry, try Fired Pie, where you can get your freshly prepared pizza in a matter of minutes.

Patricia's expert tip: If you're a fan of thin crust pizzas, Fired Pie is a sure bet.

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The Parlor is central Phoenix's hip, homegrown pizzeria. Pizza simply doesn't get more gourmet than this. Try the Fig & Capicollo pie, made with red wine poached figs, fig jam, capicollo, dolce verde gorgonzola, arugula and lemon. The Duck Parlor Pizza features roasted duck, parsnip puree, butternut squash, broccolini, horseradish and preserved citrus. Looking for something slightly more traditional? Try the Pepperoni, made with pavone pepperoni, house-made mozzarella and torn basil, fresh from the garden. The Parlor is certainly a great place to find gourmet pizza, but the restaurant also serves a bevy of other treats, including pasta, salads and great hand-crafted cocktails.

Recommended for Pizza because: The Parlor offers gourmet pizza, as well as hand-crafted cocktails, salads and pasta dishes.

Patricia's expert tip: Try one of The Parlor's refreshing, hand-crafted cocktails.

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Nook


Nook evokes images of a cozy place to sit back and relax with a hearty plate of comfort food. Fortunately, that's exactly what you'll find at this Arcadia eatery, tucked away in the Gas Light shopping center. The menu has everything from light cafe fare to hearty Mediterranean dinners. For starters, try the excellent poutine house fries, served with beef gravy and mozzarella curd. The restaurant also serves a variety of unique bruschettas, including a short rib variety featuring a mushroom duxelle and port demi reduction. Dinner entrees include a savory filet, savory halibut tacos, and a creamy pasta crepe. Gourmet pizzas, excellent desserts, and a winning wine menu make this the perfect destination for a special occasion dinner or date night.

Recommended for Pizza because: When you're looking for a casually upscale destination for great pizza, Nook fits the bill.

Patricia's expert tip: Don't miss the chocolate salami dessert.

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Cibo


This Central Phoenix urban pizzeria is situated in a restored 1913 bungalow, making it the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, authentic stained glass windows and a working fireplace means that you'll have much to admire while you nosh on your salad, antipasti, made-from-scratch pasta or artisanal pizza. Each pizza is made-to-order and hand-tossed by Chef Guido Saccone, native of Sicily, and then topped with a delicious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Don't miss the new "stuzzichini" happy hour menu, served Mondays through Fridays from 3 to 6 pm. It features small bite specialties like arancini, Arborio rice deep-fried with a center of mozzarella.

Recommended for Pizza because: Cibo offers delicious, artisanal pizza in a homey, romantic setting in central Phoenix.

Patricia's expert tip: For a gourmet delight, try the Procida, topped wih mozzarella, prosciutto crudo, Asian pears, chopped arugula, goat cheese and black pepper.

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Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana
Photo courtesy of Pomo Scottsdale


Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana is one of a handful of Arizona certified "Verace Pizza Napoletana" from the VPN association based in Napoli, Italy. The pizzeria prides itself on creating authentic pizza creations using the same methods that have been practiced in southern Italy for hundreds of years. The kitchen uses the slow levitation method to make the homemade dough from scratch. All natural ingredients and a blast-cooking process in the restaurants wood burning oven means all flavors are locked in and the dough remains slightly moist. This makes the pizza crust soft, chewy and digestible, a hallmark of authentic Napoletana pizza.

Recommended for Pizza because: Pomo Pizzeria is the place to go when you're craving authentic Neapolitan pizzas made with imported Italian ingredients and traditional cooking techniques from southern Italy.

Patricia's expert tip: Not in a pizza mood? Pomo dishes out great pasta dishes, too.

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Pizzeria Bianco


Chris Bianco's celebrated pizza evokes memories of Naples. A wood-fired brick oven and a passion for quality make Bianco's traditional Neapolitan pizza crust a work of art. The restaurant was famously short-listed by New York critics as one of the best pizza destinations in the country. Each and every one of the masterpieces served is made from scratch with the finest ingredients. The only drawback? You may have to wait for a great pizza, because the place is no secret. Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more. The good news is that Bianco and company recently opened up a second location at the Town & Country Shopping Center.

Recommended for Pizza because: Pizzeria Bianco is one of the country's most highly rated pizzerias. The wood-fired pizzas feature freshly harvested herbs and homemade mozzarella.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the Rosa pizza, featuring Arizona-grown pistachios.

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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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