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11 Best Pizza Spots in Metro Phoenix

4 Stagioni -- artichoke, mushroom, prosciutto cotto, tomato and mozzarella
4 Stagioni -- artichoke, mushroom, prosciutto cotto, tomato and mozzarella
Courtesy of Noca

As a restaurant town, Phoenix still gets a bum rap: too many chains, too few ethnic, no restaurant-rich urban core, and no famous equivalent to Philly's cheesesteak or Chicago's hot dog to call our own. But there's one thing we do have in abundance, and it's great pizza. Seriously, we are a first-rate pizza town.

See also: -- Federal Pizza: Empire-Building on Central Avenue -- 8 Favorite Fresh-Baked Bread Experiences at Metro Phoenix Restaurants -- 15 Metro Phoenix Restaurants to Visit During Spring Training 2013

We can thank James Beard award-winner Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco for that, the guy who showed us that pizza could be other-worldly when made with premium, locally sourced ingredients and great care. Here are 11 pizza places turning out artisanal or damn-close-to-artisanal pies.

Manzo at The Parlor
Manzo at The Parlor
Buchanan

The Parlor

Aric Mei (son of Nello's pizza scion Dan Mei) transformed a midcentury beauty parlor into a sleek, retro pizza parlor, hiring Jared Porter, who brings loads of pie-making experience from LGO, to crank them out. Knowing that he wanted pizzas with enough structure to hold up to his creative toppings and enough stability to be consistent (essential when you're cranking out 500 pizzas per day), Porter started with the Nello's recipe and went from there, creating hand-stretched, chewy and slightly bread-y pies, blistered from the wood-burning oven. Although you can build your own pizzas here, why bother when you can have one of Porter's wildly creative specialty pies which rotate by season? At the moment (and this will change by March 6), he's featuring the phenomenal Manzo, topped with braised short rib, white bean puree, broccoli rabe, and horseradish crema (8-inch, $10; 12-inch, $14). Florid? You bet. Best eaten with a knife and fork, this thing is like a rustic Italian supper on a pizza plate. Look for a seafood pizza and a hunter's-style pizza involving rabbit sausage in the days to come.

Artichoke-truffle pizza at Andreoli
Artichoke-truffle pizza at Andreoli
Buchanan

Andreoli Italian Grocer

At his cozy Italian market-cum-restaurant, Giovanni Scorzo makes pizza on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights, and his regulars keep his calendar in their heads, showing up promptly at 6:15 for Scorzo's superb pies. Fired in 90 seconds, they emerge from his fancy Italian-imported oven soft and pillowy around the edges. Insiders don't mind splurging on two of his specialties -- a rich, swoon-worthy artichoke and black truffle combo, drizzled with truffle oil that you'll smell before it ever hits the table ($27) and a luscious lobster pizza, topped with garlic, tomato, oregano and a smidge of mozzarella ($27). Affordable and equally delicious traditional pizzas (Scorzo usually offers six or seven choices priced between $15-$17) are also available.



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