There are few foods in the world that transcend age, location, and class as pizza seems to do. No matter what country I've been in, after about or week or so I start craving a pizza, and I've easily been able to find a local pizza place without fail. They're all incredibly different and each has their own distinct personality. This got me thinking about how most everyone loves a good pizza, and had me yearning to discover all the great pizza in the culinary melting pot that is Dallas.
With literally hundreds of pizza restaurants in Dallas to choose from, chances are you'll never have a chance to try them all. Which is why I've pared down the list to an elite Top Five of Dallas Pizza.
You're probably asking yourself, "What does this girl know about good pizza', right? Well, it's a good thing you asked, because, as one of the pickiest-eating children ever created, pizza is one of the only foods I liked as a child. When other kids carried sandwiches in their lunch-boxes, or, heaven forbid, ate in the school cafeteria, I carried pepperoni, cheese, and crackers, and made mini pizzas of my own. And so began my longest relationship ever: my love for pizza.
The most basic ingredients in a pizza (crust and sauce) are the first things I used to compile this list. I sampled, among other different selections, a basic margherita pizza at each of these places to most fairly compare and contrast the good and the best.
That being said, there are vast differences between different kinds of pizzas. You're probably familiar with NY style versus Chicago style, but in Dallas there are also a few Napoletana style joints with a dog in this fight. In case you aren't familiar, Pizza Napoletana (or Neapolitan) is typically made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. In order to meet the standards of the Associazone Vera Pizza Napoletana, the dough must consist of wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer's yeast, salt, and water. It must then be kneaded by hand or by low-speed mixer. Then it is hand formed and baked for 60-90 seconds at 905 degrees Fahrenheit in a stone oven with an oak-wood fire. Who knew a pizza could have so many rules, right?
Enough chit-chat, let's get on with the countdown.
5. Fireside Pies: I'm not even going to lie to you. The first time I ate at Fireside, I ate so much I got sick. But that was my own fault, as self-control is not something I excel at, especially when impeccable food is involved. The only thing to blame Fireside for was making that pizza so darned lovable. One of my favorite pizzas I've eaten is their Hatch chile pepper pie, which only comes around once a year during Hatch chile season. However, every single other item I've eaten at Fireside, I have found to be flavorful and addictive. The Triple Roni, which I'll admit might be heavy on the grease-age, is topped with truffle oil and seems to be quite popular. From the plethora of toppings to the crackling warm crust, I knew from first bite that Fireside would be on my Dallas Top 5 right away.
4. Dough: When asked their best pizza, I was recommended their Margherita and the Preston Hollow.
Tangy tomato sauce, fresh, melt-in-my-mouth mozzarella, and fresh
basil melted harmoniously atop the fresh Neapolitan crust. The fresh ingredients in Neapolitan pizza make me not feel quite as guilty about eating that whole thing in one sitting. The Preston Hollow pizza is topped with crumbled sausage, pepper, and caramelized onions. Talk about strong flavors, this one threw my breath for a loop, but maybe if I had a toothbrush with me it would have been better. ;)
Also, I probably should mention that the San Antonio location was featured on one of my favorite shows, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and it seems, they know they're good and are dang proud of it. Don't get me wrong, the pizza is stellar, the dough perfectly crisp, the sauce sparklingly filled with flavor- a worthy recipient of in the Top 5 pizzas in Dallas.
3. Coal Vines: This one is a tad bit tough for me to explain. The individual parts of the whole pizza didn't wow me, but the combination of them all creates a stellar pizza. Sauce is used sparingly, thankfully, because it was a bit too tomato-ey for my palate. The crust, though amazing when piping hot and fresh, lost its allure after the first couple of slices. But somehow, the sauce, the crust, and the hearty toppings come crashing together for a to-die-for collision of tastiness. Always a huge fan of spices, I love that they topped their regular pie (seen here, reheated) with oregano. There are very few foods I will eat reheated, but pizza is the best, and I'll say hands down that Coal Vines pizza tastes the best reheated, even though the crust loses its allure. Coal Vines cooks their pizza in a coal fired oven at about 700 degrees. I like this style less than the Neapolitan ones cooked at a higher temp, it feels that it burns in more flavor in the other type ovens as well. While they claim NY style pizza, it seems the crust is a little crunchy and the pizza not greasy enough to be called that. Another menu highlight at Coal Vines is their White Pizza - with mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and oregano. This pizza is on a level all its own. If you're not in the mood for normal pizza, definitely give their White Pizza a try.
2. Grimaldi's: Is it NY style? I'm really not sure, it feels sort of New York-y but has traits of a mixture of styles. So I don't know what to call it, besides fabulous. Think thin, floppy crust, and more toppings than you can count on all your fingers and toes. While you may have to wait a while for your pie, it will be hot, bubbly, and fresh from the oven, and just begging you to sink those pearly whites into it. The red sauce is slightly spicy, which is so much more exciting than all those ketchup flavored ones around town. The only negative thing I have to mention is that their prices are pretty stinkin' high. I've ordered the same exact pizza at Coal Vines, Cane Rosso, and others for about 8 dollars cheaper, so I'm not sure how they get away with it, but I'll say sometimes it's worth the splurge for a date night.
1. Okay guys, I just couldn't do it. There are more than 5 staggering pizzas in Dallas. Therefore my quest for top pizzas ends with 2 places in the number one spot. That's right, a tie. These two places both knocked my socks off and rightfully shall share the privilege of being declared the best pizza in Dallas.
So, in no particular order:
Cane Rosso: I was skeptical after I heard all the hype, after all, I'm the girl who refuses to watch Star Wars, Harry Potter, Twilight, or anything else that is overly hyped. But I folded on this one, for the sake of you readers. And man, was it ever worth it. Of course I had to try their "Delia" pizza (what a rockin' name, btw), topped with fresh mozzarella, roasted grape tomatoes, arugula, and spicy bacon marmalade. It lived up to it's name. What a spectacular fireworks show of contrasting flavors! Their crust has a perfect consistency, their toppings taste like they came from the farm in the back yard, and the sauces are perfect complements to them all. This hype is well-deserved. Cane Rosso's Neapolitan pizza is sure to continue satisfying Dallas residents' tummies for years to come. I might just hafta watch Star Wars now, the hubby will be thrilled!
Olivella's: I didn't happen upon this little gem until near the end of my research, and I am so incredibly happy I found it. I would've hate to have missed Dallas co-titleholder for best pizza. Let me start by raving about their Truffle pizza, seen to the right. This was the most intense, perfect pairing of ingredients I've seen in ages. Truffle oil, mozzarella, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes created a heavenly experience some people only dream about. The place is small, tucked away near SMU. But the pizzas are larger than life. You can watch them prepare it as you prepare your taste buds for a euphoric occasion.
Well, friends, there you have it. Delia's rundown on the best pizza in Dallas. Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts and/or any places I might have skipped. Peace, love, and mozzarella.