The World’s 10 Best Cities for Pizza

Want great pizza? You don’t need to travel too far

Flickr/anna.xie
A perfect pizza can take years to perfect.

There may be no food on earth that’s more beloved than pizza. Because honestly, what’s not to like? Bread, sauce, cheese, an unlimited assortment of toppings… it’s really the perfect food. And while it might be easy to think that you can’t get good pizza outside of certain parts of the United States and Italy, in reality there’s a whole world (literally) of great pizza out there. We’ve rounded up the ten best cities on earth to find great pizza, and a lot of them are places you might not expect.

The World’s 10 Best Cities for Pizza (Slideshow)

Pizza, as we all know, has its roots in Italy — ancient Rome, to be exact. It most likely got its start as focaccia (called panis focacius by the ancients), and modern pizza originated in Naples. Tomatoes were considered poisonous by many until the late 1700s, but by the early 1800s Naples’ poor were adding tomato-based sauce to their flat bread, and once tourists to the area caught on to this new invention, they spread the gospel all throughout the world.

The first person to combine the Golden Trio of ingredients — tomato, mozzarella, and basil — remains a bit of a mystery, but it was first popularized by a man named Raffaele Esposito, a baker at a Neapolitan restaurant called Pizzeria de Pietro. Legend has it that when King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy visited the restaurant in 1889, Esposito created a pizza in her honor topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, meant to evoke the colors of the Italian flag (red, white, and green). She loved it, and the name he bestowed on it — pizza Margherita — stuck.

Pizza didn’t really catch on as an international food until the early 1900s, when Italian immigrants began landing at ports far and wide. They began selling their native food, and once the natives tried it… well, just imagine what your response would be if you were to try pizza for the very first time today. Like all other foods, the locals put their own touches on it, and today there are different styles of pizza all over the world.

In order to assemble our ranking of the world’s best cities for pizza, we took a look at major cities throughout the world, especially ones that attracted lots of Italian immigrants, and sized up their pizza scene. We looked at the amount of highly-regarded pizzerias there, whether they’re home to any award-winning pizzaioli, and if they’ve really been able to make pizza their own, either by creating a variation that’s worthy of acclaim in its own right, appropriating the traditional Neapolitan style, or both. Most important was a high concentration of truly great pizzerias; Chris Bianco may be turning out some world-class pies at Pizzeria Bianco, but that’s not enough to singlehandedly put Phoenix in the running. We didn’t include Chicago because — as Jon Stewart put it best — it’s not a pizza, it’s a casserole, and the city’s non-deep dish pizzerias aren’t anything to write home about.

It goes without saying that today we live in a golden age of pizza.

It goes without saying that today we live in a golden age of pizza. Not only are there regional and national variations all across the world, chefs are putting their own spin on it and creating insanely delicious flavor combinations seemingly every day. The traditional Neapolitan style has also reclaimed its foothold, with chefs from all corners of the globe focusing on sourcing the highest-quality ingredients possible in order to make a pizza that even Queen Margherita herself would be proud of (There’s even a committee, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which has set strict rules for what can be called a truly authentic Neapolitan pizza).

We searched far and wide, from South America to the South of France, from the U.S. to Australia, so read on to learn which ten cities are home to the world’s best pizza.

10) Sao Paolo, Brazil

Great pizza, in Brazil? You better believe it. Italians are the largest immigrant group in the city (more than double the Portugese population), and they opened the city’s first pizzerias in the late 1800s. Today, there are almost 9,000 pizzerias in Sao Paolo alone, but we all know that quantity doesn’t equal quality. Thankfully, the quality of most of the pizza here is also quite high; leading pizza spots include Margherita Pizzeria, Casa Bráz, and Camelo. The pizza-eating experience in Sao Paolo is also unlike any in the world: pizza is served rodízio-style, with waiters bringing around many different varieties with toppings ranging from the Portuguesa (topped with mozzarella, ham, onion, hard-boiled eggs, peppers, olives, and oregano) to corn, potato sticks, and even beef stroganoff. For dessert, don’t miss the Nevada-style, topped with banana, cinnamon, and meringue.

9) Melbourne, Australia

If you need convincing that Melbourne is a great pizza town, look no further than Johnny Di Francesco, who runs the city’s 90 Secondi restaurant. Earlier this year, he bested 600 entrants from 35 countries to win the Pizza World Championship in Parma, Italy, and one taste of his Neapolitan-style pizza will most likely have you convinced that it’s the best in the world as well. But one great pizza does not a great pizza town make: Melbourne is chock full of them. Scoozi is one of only three pizzerias in Australia to get the seal of approval from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana; the wood-fired oven at La Svolta turns out thin, crisp pizzas with toppings ranging from the traditional to one topped with pumpkin, pancetta, gorgonzola, and red onion; and at DOC, which has several locations, chef Tony Nicolini is turning out truly exquisite, crisp and chewy pies.

Click here for the world's 8 top cities for pizza. 

Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.


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90 Comments

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<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4" title="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4</a>

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Since you do not list Chicago you have lost all credibility.

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Agree. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4" title="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4</a>

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In my opinion and only my opinion, the best pizza is Naples Italy. The ingredients are unbelievable. Number 2 is NYC and the best in NYC is Fiore's Pizza on Bleecker Street. Number 3 is New Heaven and the best there is Pepe's. I also love the pizza in Sorrento, Italy. The best there is Pizza de Franco. Basically the same as Naples. Everything else is 4th.

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I have had pizza in most of the cities mentioned, but New Haven is #1.

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I have had pizza in most of the cities you list, but New Haven is # 1, without question.

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I have had pizza in most of the cities you list, but New Haven is # 1, without question.

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I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost I unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is ******** W w w. saveBlast,C0M ********

I checked with the BBB and was told that it is all legit. How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know I do know that I bought my son an ipad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Low gift

cards for $48Why would I even think about shopping anyþlace else?

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I have had Pizza all over the USA but NOTHING can ever top a place that is no longer around called Rosanas in Newburyport Ma. I can still taste it. There is another place at Salisbury Beach, Ma and Seabrook Beach NH called Tripoli's that comes close and still going strong. Both Boston and New York are next. Chicago? sory no dice.

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Chicago thick-crust or deep dish pizza, Edwardo's or Lou Malnati's, is the only pizza. May I suggest the spinach and sausage?

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are you kidding me? I've been all over the world and lived in NYC and spent summers in Italy- the best Pizza by far is in the small seaside town of Bluffton SC at a little pizzeria named Moon Mi Pizza- I'd buy a flight there from Chicago just to have dinner. I'm not kidding!

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are you kidding me? I've been all over the world and lived in NYC and spent summers in Italy- the best Pizza by far is in the small seaside town of Bluffton SC at a little pizzeria named Moon Mi Pizza- I'd buy a flight there from Chicago just to have dinner. I'm not kidding!

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Best pizza ever can be found at Dominick's in Oxnard, CA, a family run restaurant for many years (grandkids of the original owners still running it!) Anything you might want just for the asking on your very own pizza, and they're now making good gluten-free crusts so i can once again eat there.

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TERRIBLE LIST!!!! Without Philadelphia and Chicago the list has no validity......................................

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CHICAGO!

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Don't let Michelle Obama see this article. She will outlaw Pizza everywhere and give us all a lecture at taxpayer expense on how bad Pizza is while Barack Obama smokes "pot" and scarfs down a few McDonald's burgers and a Starbucks sweet latte with whipping cream..

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Chicago has the best pizza!!!!!

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you obviously have never been to Chicago because that's where the best pizza can be found. Thin crust or deep dish, there's no place better, period.

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It's obvious the person who wrote this is from New York. That's why Chicago is missing from the list, and that's why you can't trust anything on the internet. The pizza in New York is nowhere as good as Chicago.

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Thick OR thin crust......Chicago Pizza IS Pizza.......New York is OK.....everywhere else is like cardboard with ketchup....

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Absolutely crazy that Chicago is not on this list!

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Your list, complete with pictures shos that pizza taste is very subjective. Not a single pizza pictured has enough sauce to make any list of mine. I am probably one of the few who has had pizza in every city on your list, and find your list more amusing than useful.

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I disagree with your findings. How dare you side with Jon Stewart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you weren't born & raised in Chicago you have no right to judge pizza.

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I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost I unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is ******** W w w. saveBlast,C0M ********

I checked with the BBB and was told that it is all legit. How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know I do know that I bought my son an ipad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Low gift

cards for $48Why would I even think about shopping anyþlace else?

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Excuse me, but has anyone tried Pizza in Providence, Rhode Island in the Federal Hill Area, also know as Little Italy. Now that is amazing Pizza and some of the best Italian restaurants and markets in the US.

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There are more than pan pizzas in Chicago. My local pizza is exelent & the toppings are not skimppy like NYC....

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Chicago, stupids.

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Chicago, stupids.

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Chicago where is that?

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New York will always be number 1 because of the WATER the best in the world for the doug.

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