Pizza So Good It Will Make You Book a Plane Ticket
Brazil's Pizzeria Braz (Photo: André Ferraz/Flickr)
It’s the mere nature of the pizzaphile to argue for his or her favorite pie, and the leading contenders in the “Which city really does have the best pizza?” sweepstakes have always been the same: New York! Chicago! Naples! But what if we were to tell you they’re all wrong? What if the pizza-eating world dethroned Brooklyn and Naples and handed the Pizza King crown to a new, deserving but overlooked pie-maker? You see, the best pizza we’ve had comes from the most unexpected of places — from massive, sprawling cities to small, anonymous townships — and these are the real cities (and pizza purveyors) for whom we should be arguing:
Related: Is This New York City’s Best Pizza?
São Paulo: Pizzeria Braz
Inside Fasano, a posh, low-lit Italian bistro inside its eponymous hotel, a Naples-born sommelier comes over to pour us some Chianti. I ask him about the pizza in Naples, and he shrugs, tells me it’s OK, but says that nothing compares to São Paulo. He tells me São Paulo makes the best pizza in the world, and he’s right. As a city, it’s an abrasive maze of ugly sky-high buildings and traffic jams. But damned if they don’t make one of the best margheritas we’ve ever had. Our favorite slice came from Pizzeria Braz in Campinas, where we went on a recent weekday and walked through a cavernous, cherry wood dining room and grabbed a seat in the verdant garden space. We ordered a few Chopps beers and a gorgeous pie with a slightly burnt crust, burrata cheese (both salty and milky), and topped with cherry tomatoes and a hint of basil. Yes, it may just be one of the most heavenly things we’ve ever tasted.
Phoenix, Ariz.: Pizzeria Bianco
Pizzeria Bianco (Photo: Nick Bastian/Flickr)
The concept of Americanized pie was popularized by Chris Bianco in 1994, when he opened Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. His red brick flagship remains the city’s most popular restaurant, with consistent wait times maxing out at two hours (while you wait, grab a drink next door at Bar Bianco, a cute historic house-turned-bar). It also has the most consistently inspired and inspiring pies in the country. Pizzeria Bianco offers the traditions of old Italy, the simplicity and ingredient focus of modern California cooking, and the unmistakable stamp of Chris Bianco’s delicate, soft, and slightly charred masterpiece. This kind of pizza is the “no toppings necessary” kind. Just a simple pie made by a modern master.