Amanda Freitag's Favorite New Jersey Pizza Places - Exclusive

Close-up of Amanda Freitag smiling
Close-up of Amanda Freitag smiling - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty
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Some may call it the most hated state in the country, but we'd argue that New Jersey is one of the best. From Atlantic City's six-story elephant to the Pulaski Skyway, the Garden State is home to many iconic places. And let's not forget its stellar food scene, either.

New Jersey boasts some of the finest restaurants, with a wide array of global fare to chow down on. Whether you're looking for authentic yakitori or freshly baked bagels that are good enough to cause a feud with neighboring New Yorkers, you'll find it all in New Jersey. Considering that parts of New Jersey can lay claim to being the most Italian places in the U.S., it's no surprise that New Jersey also contains some of the best Italian restaurants. Of course, this means the state produces some top-notch pizza, too.

The jury's still out on which state has the city with the best pizza pie. However, many would propose New Jersey as a solid East Coast contender. Just ask celebrated "Chopped" judge Amanda Freitag -- after all, the native New Jerseyan knows a thing or two about her home state's pizzerias. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Freitag detailed her favorite places to get pizza in New Jersey. Her list contains everything from bar pies at a neighborhood joint to award-winning artisanal creations at a nationally acclaimed Jersey City restaurant, so you won't want to miss her pizza picks on your next trip to the Garden State.

Read more: The Best Steakhouse In Every State

Freitag's Picks For The Best Pizza In New Jersey

Razza pizza on a platter
Razza pizza on a platter - razzanj / Instagram

We can't give New Jersey pizza a nod without mentioning Razza Pizza Artigianale, the Jersey City establishment often called the best pizza place in the state, if not the country. Like fellow Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, Amanda Freitag is a big fan of this critically acclaimed eatery. "Of course, I love Razza. [Chef Dan Richer] does such a good pizza," Freitag told Mashed.

When it comes to old family favorites, the chef turns her attention north of Jersey City. "Out by my mom in Cedar Grove, we always get pizza from Esposito's, because that's our place." In addition to its classic pizzas, Esposito's offers a plethora of Italian specialties, from greens and beans to tripe with tomato sauce.

Although Razza and Esposito's are two of her top picks, the "Chopped" veteran holds a special place in her heart for Star Tavern, a historic haunt in Orange, New Jersey. "Star Tavern makes the best bar pie, really. You can look it up. It's sort of a cult classic. And when I have a craving for that kind of pizza, that's where I go," she said. The New Jersey neighborhood pizzeria has been around for 75 years and counting, but it's worth noting that its policies are fairly old school. "They don't even deliver. So you have to go there," said Freitag. Still, the bustling tavern's crispy thin-crust pizza is a regional delicacy, served plain or piled high with toppings.

Read the original article on Mashed