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PIZZA

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When someone says “they have the best pizza”, the “best” is always very subjective. There are so many different styles of pizza from all over the world. There is traditional thin, crispy New York slice to the softer brick oven Napoletana, to the gourmet pizzas of today which include sweet and savory toppings like Buffalo chicken, apples, walnuts, even blue cheese in place of mozzarella.  We won’t even talk about the Chicago style deep dish pizza. It is good, but for us in the NYC Metro area, that is more of a focaccia lasagna.

Rather than list this in categories, I am simply listing what I would want to have in this particular order. #1 being the best, and the last one on the list being my least favorite of all those I have had.  Sure, I will take an eggplant parm pizza over Papa John’s any day, and this is how the list is composed.  Both might not be pizza to me, but which one would I rather eat?

This is a personal ranking of all the pizza that I have ever eaten all over the world.  My rating system is fairly simple.  I taste a pizza, if I like it more than any other pizza I’ve ever had, it goes to the top of the list.  If it is the worst slice of pizza I’ve ever had, it goes to the bottom of the list.  Here is the list in order from my personal favorite to those I probably won’t ever try again.  “The best” is completely subjective.  If you don’t like Neapolitana style pizza, you most likely are not going to like my top choices.  If you are more of an “American” traditional pizza person, read the notes next to it. There are some places that are starting to call the traditional American style slice “old school” or “old world” or even “old fashioned”. This is nonsense. It’s not. It is just a fancy way to call it something its not to sell more of it or make it sound more appetizing. It’s either Traditional, Specialty, or Neapolitan.

** Updated October 7, 2021 **

    1. Amore Mio (Aruba) While all are good, my favorite is Diablo
    2. Razza (Jersey City NJ) Probably the best in NJ.
    3. Kesté Pizza & Vino (Manhattan NY) The best outside of Italy, according to my cousin from Sicily.
    4. Aquila Forno (Little Falls NJ) a very small place, but really really great brick oven pizza.
    5. Arturo’s (Maplewood NJ) Same owner as Razza, so you know its one of the best.
    6. Dough Pizzeria (Caldwell NJ) They have seasonal pizzas based on availability of produce
    7. Tony D’s (Caldwell NJ) Grandma’s is best of its kind, but also the Pizza’lina for a thinner crust
    8. Pizza Terminal (Verona NJ) The Sicilian, Bronx & Brooklyn slice all remind me of my mother’s.
    9. Angeloni’s (Caldwell NJ) Thinny Thin is the only one you can eat and only eat half but still be filling.
    10. King Umberto (Elmont NY) My first experience with the “Grandma” over 20 years ago.
    11. Sette Wood Fire Pizza (Totowa NJ)
    12. Woodstack (Pine Brook NJ)
    13. Bella Gente (Verona NJ)
    14. Casa Tua (Aruba) Gypsy pizza with chorizo and black olives.
    15. Mama Lena’s (Perth Amboy NJ) Grandma’s is a really great slice, the crust underneath is fantastic, almost like my mother’s. Cheese is typical.
    16. Ralph’s (Nutley NJ) Nutley’s first and oldest pizzeria since 1961
    17. Pizzaland $1 slice as of 9/9/17, thin, crisp, delicious, also a landmark as it appears in The Sopranos series.
    18. Pizza Town USA (Garfield NJ) Traditional slice, thin, delicious
    19. Francesca Pizza & Pasta (Elmwood Park NJ)
    20. Squared (Elmwood Park NJ)
    21. Calabria (Livingston NJ) Calabria Crunchy Thin is the pizza to get, but Angeloni’s does it better in the same class for the same price.
    22. Godfather Pizza (East Hanover NJ)
    23. Village Trattoria (South Orange NJ) go for the Grandma’s
    24. Starlite Pizzeria (West Orange NJ)
    25. Star Tavern (Orange NJ) Consistently voted one of the best in NJ.
    26. Coal House (Point Pleasant NJ)
    27. San Matteo (Manhattan NY)
    28. Double Zero (Fairfield NJ)
    29. Nauna’s (Montclair NJ)
    30. Leone’s (Montclair NJ)
    31. Soho Pizza & Grill (Montclair NJ) Romano is the pie to get.
    32. Bucco’s Pizza & Pasta (Rochelle Park NJ)
    33. La Pizza (Roseland NJ)
    34. Angelo’s (Parsippany NJ) thin crust, crispy, light, wonderful.
    35. Colombo’s (Lincoln Park NJ)
    36. Linwood Pizza (Garfield NJ) Strip mall pizza, nothing bad, but better off getting the plain pie for $11 than to pay $2.50 for a single slice.
    37. Baldwin Pizzeria (Parsippany NJ) big slice, $2, great crisp crunch, great sauce, really good!
    38. Pizza 46 (Totowa NJ)
    39. Panevino Brick Oven (Livingston NJ), restaurant, not a pizzeria.
    40. Sicilian Oven (Ft. Lauderdale FL) if you like a lot of pepperoni where it is flame broiled until crispy, this is a place to go.
    41. Handcrafted (Monsey NY) Kosher, but don’t let that stop you if you aren’t. This is really great pizza.
    42. Gencarelli’s (Pine Brook NJ) great traditional pizza.
    43. Ralph’s (Nutley NJ) “Double baked”, crisp, thin crust, love the well-melted cheese till it browns.
    44. Vitamia & Sons (Lodi NJ) This is more like old school “tomato pie” but they do sprinkle cheese on top
    45. Cousin’s (Bloomfield NJ) $2 Thin crispy crust, place does not look like much but it was actually pretty good.
    46. Frank Anthony’s (Verona NJ)
    47. RigaTony’s (Little Falls NJ) interesting spices, good.
    48. Pizza Calabrese (Joao Pessoa, Brazil)
    49. Lodi Pizza (Lodi NJ)
    50. Frank & Son (Parsippany NJ) good pizza, a nice even layer of crust/sauce/cheese
    51. Hollywood Pizzeria (Fairfield NJ)
    52. Anthony Franco’s (Parsippany NJ)
    53. Pazzo Pizza (Calandra’s, Fairfield NJ)
    54. Delizia Pizza Kitchen (Boonton NJ)
    55. Pizza & Sandwich Barn (Caldwell NJ) Good traditional pizza, this place has been here for decades.
    56. DaVinci (Upper Montclair NJ)
    57. Verona Pizzeria (Verona NJ)
    58. Forte’s (Caldwell NJ) The Grandpa has aged mozzarella, the Grandma fresh, I prefer the Grandpa. My last visit dropped their square pan Margherita down 30 slots.
    59. 7 Stars (Hoboken NJ) Very big double slices
    60. Bruno’s (Clifton NJ)  Their Sicilian is voted one of the best, not for me, but with trying.
    61. Sun Ray (Little Falls NJ) Nothing special, typical, but not bad at $2 per slice.
    62. Roost (Greenville SC)
    63. Franco’s Grandma (West Caldwell NJ) old standby since the 1980s who managed to keep up with the times.
    64. Ah Pizz (Denville & Montclair NJ) really good pizza.
    65. Fiamma (Montclair NJ) Wayyyy too salty to even be enjoyable, shame, the crust is great.
    66. Parsippany’s Best (Parsippany NJ) Nice variety of gourmet or specialty pizza slices
    67. Gencarelli’s (Newark NJ) super thin crust and for $1 per slice, there is no way to go wrong.
    68. Ciao Bella (Wayne NJ, West Belt Mall, super thin, good, but sauce is barely painted on)
    69. Frank’s Trattoria (West Caldwell NJ) basic pizzeria pizza. Not horrible, not noteworthy.
    70. Giuseppe (Cedar Grove NJ) Typical pizzeria, but it does the job.
    71. Mr Dino’s (Montclair NJ)
    72. Primo Bar (Short Hills Mall NJ)
    73. Borino’s (Verona NJ)
    74. Totowa Pizza (Totowa NJ) Good sauce, but too “bready” and I suspect the use garlic powder.
    75. Cedar Grill (Caldwell NJ) too much dough, too much cheese, little sauce, crust not cooked well.
    76. Slices Pizza (formerly Elins, Elizabeth NJ) – not the worst, but reminded me of what I got in high school.
    77. Coco Bambu (Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil)
    78. Capri (Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil)
    79. Villa Capri II (Sparta NJ)
    80. Puzo’s Pizzeria (Fairfield NJ) too chewy, too much cheese, odd tasting sauce, too thick/doughy crust.
    81. Pizzeria Bel Giardino (Cranford NJ) Grandma slice $4 is too thick, too bready, not crispy, and way too much garlic.
    82. Market Place (Manhattan NY) for $1 per slice, you really can’t go wrong. Not the best, but better than most.
    83. Giuseppe’s Pizza (Pennsylvania) typical pizzeria pizza, nothing special, but it hit the spot while on the road
    84. Marcello’s (Tuckahoe NY) name could be mistaken, but does not much matter, poor quality cheese, dough thin but not cooked well, tasteless white crust.
    85. Corrado’s (Fairfield NJ) too thick, too much cheese, cafeteria quality.  I love the store but not their pizza.
    86. Tony’s (Little Falls NJ)
    87. Rusiello’s (West Caldwell NJ) Some of their pizzas are not bad, but avoid the Sicilian at all costs, it is basically wonder bread with melted mozzarella.
    88. Papa’s Tomato Pies (Robbinsville NJ) Voted one of the best in NJ, I just don’t get it, nothing compared to pizza in North Jersey
    89. Soprano’s (Totowa NJ) not very good.
    90. Junior’s Pizza & Falafels (Boonton NJ) The name says it all, its just a place to grab food.
    91. Robert’s (Montclair NJ)
    92. Paone (Perth Amboy NJ) – very large double slice. Tangy sauce, ok, nothing special, typical boardwalk pizza
    93. Salugo Bistro & Pizzeria (Verona NJ) Once a favorite, but once they changed owners, quality dived.
    94. Linwood Pizza (Garfield NJ)
    95. Sorella’s (Whitehouse NJ)
    96. Linwood Pizza (Totowa NJ)
    97. La Famiglia (Caldwell NJ)
    98. Avenue Bistro (Verona NJ)
    99. Mandara’s (West Caldwell NJ) While their regular slice is pretty good, the specialty Positano was simply a regular pizza with mushrooms, the tomatoes were fresh, but this was not thin crust, and very salty.
    100. Domino’s (Chain)
    101. Pizza Hut (Chain)
    102. Blaze (Chain)
    103. Papa John’s (Chain)
    104. Bencotto (Boston MA)

Gone but not forgotten (or better off forgotten):

  • Gennaro’s Cucina (West Caldwell NJ) CLOSED, now Mandara’s
  • Grimaldi’s (Verona NJ)
  • Sonny’s (Caldwell NJ) Several owners, last one went bankrupt.
  • Sonny’s (West Caldwell NJ) short lived.
  • Genc’s (Caldwell NJ) $5 pizza with cheap ingredients popular with school kids, but no one else.
  • Corleone (Aruba) They copied artwork from The Godfather but no worries, they are now closed.
  • Mancinni’s Coal Oven Pizza (Montclair, NJ) Excellent crust, used to be a favorite but has changed hands. 1/10/20 I noticed they were closed at 1pm on a Friday and/or might have been a sandwich shop in transition.

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