There's nothing better than a pizza after days of stuffing yourself with Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers. You're in luck, because Chow Bella spent the past year scouring the Valley to find the best pizzerias.
Here's a list worth saving for when you need a great pizza, no matter where you are in metro Phoenix.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, Central Phoenix: Federal Pizza
Who to bring on board when you're planning a lively new pizza joint? If you're restaurateurs Craig DeMarco and Lauren Bailey (Postino, Windsor, Joyride Taco House, as well as Federal Pizza), it's Valley master baker MJ Coe. Featuring a light and crispy outer crust with a thick, puffy edge, a slightly chewy interior, and a harmonious flavor balance of toppings, the best of Coe's 12 pizza creations might be the Casanova, a robust mix of flavors and textures courtesy of prosciutto, dates, ricotta, arugula, and Pecorino cheese. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, Downtown Phoenix: Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana
Earlier this year, this longtime favorite in Scottsdale opened a second location in the former home of Sens Asian Tapas and Sake Bar, further strengthening downtown as a true destination for authentic gourmet pizza. Pomo's secret to success is its adherence to pizza-making guidelines set forth by the Italian trade organization Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, North Valley: Spinato's Pizza
Spinato's, the family-owned local of chain of pizzerias, has been flipping dough in the Valley just shy of 40 years, amassing a loyal following of fans along the way. And with good reason. Its excellent old-school Chicago-style pies are delicately crunchy, dutifully slathered with a sweet housemade sauce, and cut into squares. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, Scottsdale: Lamp Wood Oven Pizzeria
Lamp chef-owner Matt Pilato doesn't quite adhere to the strict Neapolitan pizza standard he learned at the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli Academy in San Francisco, but when the pizza's this good, who cares? Combining Neapolitan techniques with his own style, Pilato features nearly 20 varieties of red and white artisan 12-inch pies served up in a restaurant that's as casually refined as the neighborhood. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, Southeast Valley: Big Boy's Pizza
At Big Boy's Pizza, husband-and-wife team Dennis and Vickie Heath like their pizzas big. How big? Along with the standard 14-, 16-, and 18-inch pies, this friendly Mesa joint features a 28-inch monster nearly the size of a kiddy pool. Then there are the three-buck slices, which are more like pizzas shaped like a slice and served with their own pizza cutter. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, South Phoenix: Amano Pizza Bistro
Everyone in South Phoenix knows Amano Bistro. It's that fun little spot with the bright yellow and red walls that used to be a realty office. South Mountain-area residents Eric and Kathy Bower have owned it for almost a decade, turning out excellent pies with crispy and chewy crusts you don't mind sharing, on the condition that you order more than one. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, Tempe: Venezia's New York Style Pizzeria
The best un-kept secret at Venezia's (besides the hero sandwiches) for the area's large population of cash-strapped college kids and underemployed recent grads is its very good handcrafted pizzas. The Montanile family, which opened the joint in 1995, serves up handcrafted pies with thin, crispy crusts, tangy homemade marinara, and 100 percent mozzarella cheese. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Pizza, West Valley: La Piazza Al Forno
If soft-centered, real-deal Neopolitan pizzas are your thing, then La Piazza Al Forno in downtown Glendale (complete with a stamp of approval from the Italian trade group Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana) is your place. And by the looks of the line out the door on Friday and Saturday nights, just about everyone else's in town, too. Read more here.
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