If you want to spark debate in Portland, forget politics, coffee or beer, just bring up pizza. Ok, any of those topics get our blood going. But pizza? This particular controversy hit a peak in September of last year when The Oregonian posted a piece declaring Portland America’s greatest pizza city
according to International Pizza Consultant, Anthony Falco. Even most Portlanders, as passionate as we are about pizza, took pause. What about New York? Or New Haven? Could we really be the best?
Well, here’s five spots that have definitely put us in the running.
This spot has long reigned supreme as Portland’s best pizzeria. If for some reason you haven’t been yet, go. The menu is simple. Thin, crispy East Coast-style pies. The toppings are minimal, high-quality and perfectly balanced. The vibe is here is laid back, complete with another Portland favorite—pinball games.
Pro Tip: To maximize tasting here, order split pies. Half Apizza Margherita and half Apizza Amore (with Capicola) was a recent favorite for the pizza purists at our table.
When it comes to crust, nothing beats Ken’s in our book. It makes perfect sense considering its origin as Monday pizza nights at Ken Forkish’s Artisan Bakery
. It’s the perfect combination of crispy and chewy and begs to mop up any leftover sauce. The tangy sauce stands deliciously on its own on the Margherita and serves as the perfect base for the other pies.
Pro Tip: Show up 15-20 minutes before opening to skip the worse lines and snag a table at the first seating.
Here it’s all about seasonal produce. From foraged mushrooms to edible flowers, the toppings are fresh, beautiful and often a bit surprising. On a recent visit, our favorite pie featured yellow mushrooms and a touch of horseradish in the sauce. As if that wasn’t enough, Lovely’s also has home-made ice cream. Expect to wait a bit longer for a table here as guests almost always order dessert.
Families line up before opening so the first table setting has lots of kids and your pizza will have to wait a bit for the wood oven. Arrive a bit later, around 6:30 and enjoy a drink at Interurban
next door while you wait.
Funky and friendly, this tiny spot serves up slices or whole pies. Scottie Rivera, a Brooklyn native, has done stints at several of Portland’s top pizzerias including Baby Doll Pizza
, East Glisan Pizza Lounge
and Handsome Pizza
. Now in his own spot, he combines all he’s learned into delicious and reasonably priced, pies.
Check out their Pay It Forward
program. Buy one slice and pay for two so someone who really needs it can enjoy some warm pie.
New on the scene and technically not pizza, this hot spot serves up Pinsa—"the ancestor of pizza.” Similar to a flatbread, this Roman-style deliciousness is made with soy, rice and wheat flour. It’s light and airy and crispy on the bottom. It usually does not have sauce but features mouth-watering toppings like burrata, sausage, and seasonal vegetables.
Pro Tip: They take reservations!
So there you have it, five of the must-try pizza spots in town. But we know, there are tons more! Sometimes the best pizza joint is the one you can walk to from your place or the one that’s next door to your favorite bar. We’d love to hear, what are your favorite pizzerias?