Who makes the best pizza in town? That’s not a question I can settle once and for all. For one thing, there are over 200 restaurants that serve pizza in Seattle, according to Yelp. And I can’t claim to have eaten at more than a few dozen of them. But more importantly, there are at least five or six distinct styles of pizza here. Everyone has their favorite, which might say something more about where people came from or the style they’re most familiar with than which one is objectively best.
But if you’re like me, you’re always looking out for new places to try, hoping to find that perfect pie. Here’s just a small slice of the Seattle pizza scene.
- For Neapolitan-style pizza, which typically has a soft, thin dough and is baked in a wood-fired oven that produces charred spots on the crust, you can’t go wrong with Delancey in Ballard. Their dough is made with Washington-grown wheat, and they use locally raised meats including Zoe’s pepperoni and bacon. Via Tribunali, with locations in Queen Anne and Capitol Hill, is another top contender. Take a ferry over to Bainbridge to try one of the finest versions, at Bruciato, which uses ingredients imported from Italy and a three-day fermentation process. And I’d still like to try Guerrilla Pizza Kitchen, which is popping up this week at Fair Isle Brewery in Ballard and Fast Penny Spirits in Queen Anne.
- Jon Stewart famously referred to Chicago deep dish pizza as a casserole, but transplants from the Midwest may take comfort in its deep, thick crust that’s typically baked in an iron skillet and topped with uncooked tomatoes. The best version in town is probably at Windy City Pie in Phinney Ridge, but I’d also like to try West of Chicago Pizza Company in West Seattle.
- Detroit-style pizza is similar to deep dish in the thickness of its crust, but is baked in a square pan that makes the pie resemble a foccacia with toppings. Sunny Hill in Sunset Hill sells Detroit-style square pizzas, with or without pepperoni, as well as round pies. I’ve also heard good things about Moto in West Seattle.
- The New York-style thin-crust, foldable slice used to be the prevailing style, but you can still find it at places such as Big Mario’s in lower Queen Anne, Pagliacci, with locations all over the city, and Northlake Tavern in the University District, which was my go-to spot when I first moved to Seattle. Dantini Pizza, a popup that sells pies weekly in Capitol Hill, is high on my list of places to try.
- Tavern-style pizza has a thin, crispy crust that some disparage as a flatbread with toppings, and is usually cut into small squares. A similar style, St. Louis pizza, is a version of tavern-style pie that uses Provel, a mix of provolone, cheddar, and Swiss cheese. You can find it at Petoskey’s in Fremont, which bills itself as a Midwest sports bar and calls its pizza “Minnesota-style.” (It’s filling a niche once held by the late, great Zayda Buddy’s.)
With all of these options, is there a distinctive Seattle style? I believe there is, characterized by locally sourced ingredients and often naturally fermented dough. Cornelly on Capitol Hill has gotten some rave reviews for its sourdough-based, naturally leavened pies, with both classic and experimental toppings. Flying Squirrel in Maple Leaf and Georgetown uses Salumi meats as well as ingredients like figs, asparagus, and strawberries in its seasonal specials. And I’m eager to try Romeo, which pops up on Mondays at Homer in Beacon Hill and makes use of naturally fermented local grain and seasonal vegetables.
Do you have a favorite style of pizza, or is there one that you can’t stand? I’ve only mentioned a few of the top spots in Seattle, and I’ve probably left out the best place in your neighborhood. Add a comment below and let me know!
What I Ate (on Sunday): Detroit-style pizza with pepperoni, mozzarella, and parmesan