It’s time for my annual wrap up of the best pizza I ate this year. Two pies landed on the list from the West Coast… two pies from the East Coast in NYC… and one pie from the great state of Minnesota. Here we go:
5) Cacio E Pepe Pizza
(Mozzarella, Pecorino, Bufala, Ricotta, Black Pepper & Basil)
Brooklyn, New York
If you like cacio e pepe pasta, just imagine it in the form of a pizza. This underrated Neapolitan pizza place happens to be around the corner from my apartment in Park Slope. So I found myself there more often than almost anywhere else in 2019. The stand out pie on the menu is a conglomeration of cheeses, topped off with a generous pinch of black pepper. The post-oven ricotta dollops make for some standout Instagram shots (this pizza might win the award for “Best Dressed Pie” of 2019), but it wouldn’t be on this list if it wasn’t also delicious.
4) This Lamb Is Your Lamb Pizza
(Lamb Sausage, Mozzarella, French Feta, Red Onion, Piquillo Pepper, Mint, Tahini Dressing)
This pizza doesn’t just have a great name, but it’s unique combination of toppings made it stand out from the pack at Young Joni, a happening restaurant in Minneapolis where I was quoted a 2 hour wait at 10PM on a Saturday evening in late August. There were many menu highlights — including some non-pizza items — but this was my favorite pie of the night. No topping overwhelmed the pie, but the perfectly ground lamb almost melts in your mouth (and the cheese actually does). Every bite contained Mediterranean inspired flavors.
3) Nettles Pizza
(Stinging Nettles, Yellow Potatoes, Taleggio & Egg)
Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
If Fred & Carrie from Portlandia were to have visited a local pizza place before their show ended last year, they would have certainly loved the locally sourced pies from this quaint pizzeria. The menu changes often and when I happened to stop by on a cold February evening, I was glad that this Nettles pie was on their menu. Although pizza with eggs and potatoes might typically be reserved for weekend brunch, this hearty pie hit the spot after a couple of beers at neighborhood breweries down the block.
2) Classic Pizza
(Havarti, Tomato Sauce,Scallions, & Herbs)
New York, New York
A new style of pizza graced the New York City pizza scene in 2020, courtesy of Matthew Hyland’s Violet — an East Village joint that opened in the spring and focuses on grilled pies à la Providence, Rhode Island. There’s no better spot than sitting at the counter and watching the chef pound out oiled doughs and top them with an assortment of ingredients. There are many pies I loved at Violet, but the classic is a good introduction to the menu. The scallions add a surprising crush and the sauce tastes like an old Italian grandmother made it from scratch.
1) Burrata Pizza
(Burrata, Charred Ramp, Lemon, & Olive Oil)
La Morra Pizzeria
Los Angeles, California
The best pizza I had this year was from Los Angeles… is a phrase I never thought I’d write on this blog. But La Morra Pizzeria — a mobile pizza operator that serves pies on the back patio at Los Feliz bar Tabula Rasa (in addition to other pop ups and festivals around the Greater Los Angeles area) — created my favorite pizza of 2019. I love burrata and I love ramps and this seasonal spring pie combined those two ingredients in generous quantities (literally an entire ball of burrata adorns the center of this pie. It’s simple. And delicious. It’s the pie I couldn’t stop thinking about for the rest of the year.