For a while there, I felt defeated and discouraged in my attempts to find exceptional pizza in New Orleans. Of course we’ve had our share of pizza parlors for quite some time, but not all measured up or even came close to the frontrunners in great pizza cities like New York and Chicago. But that’s all changed in recent years. New Orleans officially has refined their pizza making abilities, causing many skeptics – including yours truly – to quickly change their tune. In observance of this national pizza month, here are our picks for the top five pizza places right now in New Orleans.
1. Domenica – Reports say that the executive chef of Domenica spent time in Italy training how to make authentic, old world pizza from the pros. That experience can be physically detected when tasting the perfect thin crust, rich tomato sauce and top quality cheeses and toppings at John Besh’s upscale casual Italian café. Domenica could quite possibly have the best Happy Hour in town, offering half price pizzas, wine by the glass, well cocktails and beer every day from 3-6 p.m. You can even order online to pick up a pizza to take home.
2. Pizza Delicious – At first, I was drawn to the mystery bordering on novelty of this Bywater pizza speakeasy of sorts. In their early stages, Pizza Delicious cautioned its patrons to call way ahead to place an order for their Brooklyn style pies to ensure enough time for their vigilante baking team to produce the high volume of requests. Although they are still only open two days a week with a revolving online menu, they are working on plans to function as a fulltime operation possibly in a different location. For now, order delivery to the Marigny and Bywater on Thursdays or pick up from their kitchen on Sundays. The food really does live up to their name.
3. Nino’s – This little pizza joint in the Riverbend area of Uptown could easily be found in any neighborhood of the five New York boroughs. It could be because of the fact that the affable owner Nino Bongiorno made pizza while living in New York after moving there from his native Sicily, or that his thin-crust no-frills pizza slices, garlic knots and lasagna are displayed inside the small cafe, beckoning all who enter. Another Nino’s specialty is the Philly cheese steak which some locals swear by.
4. Slice – Sometimes you just want a slice. Well, the aptly titled Slice on St. Charles Avenue can make that happen for you while many other pizza restaurants in New Orleans cannot. The beauty of Slice, besides their extensive menu of pizza and non-pizza items, is their vast selection of toppings and the option to get a slice of any topping combination, including from their specialty pies.
5. Midway – Midway is the new kid on the block who is quickly earning its chops. Located on the ever-growing Freret Street, Midway which just opened last month makes a delicious Chicago style pizza, distinguishing it from many of its contemporaries, including the ones on this list. Enjoy their signature pizzas and drinks in a friendly and hip atmosphere.