Top 5 and 10 pizza places

Top 10 Pizza                                                  Top 5 “Me” Pizza

1.)    Aurelios                                                                       1.) Giordano’s

2.)    Frank Pepe’s                                                               2.) Peaquod’s

3.)    Otto Enoteco                                                              3.) Lou Malnati’s       

4.)    Vito and nicks                                                             4.) Art of Pizza

5.)    Difara’s                                                                       5.) Burts Place

6.)    Punch

7.)    Pat’s Pizza

8.)    Coal Fire

9.)    Spaca Napoli

10.) Grimaldi’s    



This rating idea came about when someone suggested I do a top 10 list of celebrity women I found attractive.  I would rather rank my favorite places because I can’t pull off a top 10 list like the great Steve Dahl can.  With that said rating pizza is a difficult task.  I am a firm believer that there is the best pizza and your favorite pizza, your favorite may not be the best.  That prick Steve Dolinsky (on air food personality) once told me that your favorite pizza is usually the pizza you grew up with, and it’s the only thing he’s ever said I agree with.  A favorite place is a taste and environment that is branded into your past, present and future.  You won’t know why eating that pizza makes you tremble with excitement but it does.  Something about going in with your dad and waiting for the carryout, that smell, those noxious and satisfying odors were better than inhaling whipit’s or airplane glue.  Getting that pizza when you are back at your parent’s house can turn a dysfunctional family into the Cleavers.  My pizza roots stem from growing up on Aurelio’s and Giordano’s, overindulging in both led to the planted seeds for an obsessive compulsive flavor chubster.  It’s a typical case of nurture vs. nature.  4 years ago this passion and obsession forced me on an expedition as a lone pizza journeyman.  I would pump chefs, friends, and family for info on the best places, take to go menu’s banded to my neighbor’s doors, and keep a log/ uber nerd journal on flavors and ratings.  I would try out a new leads and mid bite would wonder if the tipster was on crack when they ate this pizza.  But I learned that it was likely a case of it tied to a distant food memory that made it there favorite.  I know people will look at my 2 favorite places and dismiss them the same way.  Palates also vary; it’s why I can carefully slave over a dish and have the diner shrug there shoulders and deem it just ok.  It took me a while to not take offense with these acts and question my tastes and skills.  Some people are not passionate about food and have the golden arches as there go to stop.  Applebee’s is a back up when the drive through line is too long.   I have cooked for these people and had a horrible experience with one.  These people are usually more passionate about themselves than anything else.  I would just as soon serve them dog food to see if they could even tell the difference.


            All kidding and narcissists aside I am a serial pizza eater.  I have devised a 10

point scale to rate and analyze pizza.  It’s a 1-10 scale with 10 marking the perfect pie. 

0-      domino’s pizza, empty calories, an insult to pizza every where


4- Typical imitation pizza has all the looks but none of the taste


5- May pass as acceptable when drunk or hungover, when that pizza urge happens and that local shop is the only one open at 4 am


6- Is ok but lacks flavor, quality ingredients, texture, not the worst pizza, is pleasantly mediocre.  In a pinch this will work


7- Has decent flavor and texture, it may be fresh and tasty but is lacking that edge that

separates good from great and is a case where better ingredients and technique would improve it. A swift kick in the ass to nudge it over the above average experience would help.


8- A destination pizza, one that you’ll drive to get and recommend to your foodie pizza snobs. The flavors and texture is spot on having slightly better ingredients and perfecting technique would make it the perfect meal.  Borderline perfect just needing a little help


9- One to request for your last meal before the guillotine.  It’s not very often you come across one of these so cherish it.  A pizza you want to climb to the top of a mountain and shout about.  It won’t be easy to restrain from inserting the name of one of these places into any conversation that focuses on pizza or food.  The pizza is the main attraction; the décor is an afterthought but usually charming.  I will likely remember eating these places like I will the birth of future children.  I remember the exact time my first Frank Pepe’s white clam pie arrived at the table.


10-? Is anything ever perfect in life?  Thomas Keller said that perfection is unachievable; once you think you’ve found it other problems will surface.  Besides, perfect is a fickle statement.  The 9+ rated places approach perfection; I have not had a repeat 10 pizza.  The perfect pizza is fleeting; everything has to be just right, mood, time, company, food, charm of the underage waitress, and proper amount of gin and tonics.  Like the perfect eating contest, I can’t ever predict when all of these factors will fall into place.  Some meals/ contests/ everything is in place for perfection.  These perfect experiences are what drive me to continue searching and competing.





  1. Posted December 10, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I need that fucking Lardo pizza man. Next time we are in NY we are going back to Otto’s.

  2. UL
    Posted December 11, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I am a thin crust only pizza lover. Totally agree with Vito and Nicks, and Aurelio’s is always consistent. Now I’m going to have to try and check out your other picks. How about posting some adresses?

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