The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Pizza Places

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For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

Note: Many entries are excerpted from previous Best of Houston® entries, as many previous award winners have maintained the same standards of quality that garnered them awards in the first place. Go pizza.

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Photo by Mai Pham
10. Coppa Ristorante Italiano

Coppa has been drawing rave reviews for its thin crust pizzas, including the clever ham and eggs pizza above. Each slice contains dusky slices of coppa -- its signature cured pork product -- and a perfectly poached quail egg that douses the pizza with its buttery yolk when punctured. The pizzas are a little pricey, so those on a budget will do well to visit during the daily happy hour that runs until 7 p.m. Pizzas like the the traditional margherita or the fingerling potato with melted leeks and truffle vinaigrette are only $5 at the bar.

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9. Antonio's Flying Pizza

If you find yourself craving a plain, old-fashioned cheese pie, it's time to go to Antonio's Flying Pizza. Antonio Rosa really throws his crusts. Normally, he caters to Houstonians, loading the pies with too much cheese and too much meat. But if you are smart enough to ask for an "extra crispy, light cheese" pizza with just a little garlic or peppers, you will get a sensational pie that will remind you of the ones served at little red-checkered tablecloth joints on the East Coast. The sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, and calzones taste a lot like the East Coast versions, too. That's because Sicilian-born Antonio Rosa is a veteran of the East Coast Italian-American circuit. He owned a pizzeria in Fairfield, Connecticut, and another in Morristown, New Jersey, before moving to Houston and starting Antonio's Flying Pizza in 1971.

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One of Russo's famous 28-inch pizzas.
8. Russo's New York Coal-Fired Pizzeria

At the original Russo's near the intersection of the Northwest Freeway and Highway 6, Anthony Russo re-created the old-fashioned coal-fired pizzeria experience in a suburban strip center. But the superhot oven is only part of what Russo does right. You don't get a pizza crust with this kind of fabulous texture unless you can turn out a high-rising yeasty dough every day. And the only way to keep such a great pizza from getting gloppy is to teach every apprentice pizza maker in the place that you aren't doing your customers any favors when you pile too many toppings on the pie. And then there's the quality of the toppings themselves. Russo's has proven itself since opening that first little pizza joint and now has locations all over the city.

Location Info

Coppa Ristorante Italiano - CLOSED

5555 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Antonio's Flying Pizza

2920 Hillcroft, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Russo's New York Coal-Fired Pizzeria

19817 NW Freeway, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria

16535 SW Freeway ., Sugar Land, TX

Category: Restaurant

Friends Pizzeria - CLOSED

7952 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Luigi's Pizzeria

3700 Almeda, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca

500 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bombay Pizza Co.

914 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana

14028 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pink's Pizza

710 W. Gray St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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82 comments
DMM_88
DMM_88

Does anybody know who has the BIGGEST pizza for a Party?

DMM_88
DMM_88

Who has the BIGGEST pizza for a party?

rose_macaskie
rose_macaskie

The Best Pizza in Houston or ever is Angelo's on Bay Area BLVD.  It is better than any I have ever had.  I have had pizza in NY.  My husband worked at Star Pizza.  Its good, but Angelo's on Bay Area.  Plain Cheese Pizza.  You take one bite and say OMG every time.

JB
JB

I'm really surprised all the ignorant commenters on here have posted all these inner loop, or fancy rich Woodlands places, but hardly one has been to Pizzaro's pizza?  It's excellent and completely VPN certified, and excellent pizza.  It's BYOB and counter service, very kid friendly, and they won't deliver, as many have posted, it ruins the pizza, get it to go if you want to risk it.

Au lait
Au lait

This is the first time I've ever read the "comments"; and the last.  Silly, childish squabbling and name-calling.  I thought this would be a helpful forum for reasoned and respectable opinions about food and restaurants.  Yikes!

Hugo0002
Hugo0002

What about Romano's Pizza on West Gray??

Ken
Ken

Made the trek to Grimaldi's in Sugarland on the notice of a former radio "personality". IT was horrible. Nothing in common with the Brooklyn location that I love. Not even the right shape. A crust that dose not droop is not an assett, it's a reason to stay away. Cardboard doesn't droop either and You don't have to drive to Sugarland. The European style pies at Candeleria's are pretty good.

HobokenMetsFan
HobokenMetsFan

Ahh Grimaldi's.... I was there on Friday night. (except I was at the one in Hoboken, NJ!) Cheers.

Xmu367
Xmu367

Screw these east coast influenced pizza places and the Texas inspired shit holes. I want Chicago style pizza like Lou Malnati's, the original Uno's or Gino's. Yea, I know Uno's was here ten or fifteen years ago but it was a chain clone with terrible quality control and overall poor management.

Ed
Ed

I have lived in Washington DC, and Boston before moving to Houston 25 years ago.  I cannot believe you failed to include the "original Napoli's Ita ilian Restaurant Pizza" in your list.  It is one of the best ten pizzas I have ever eaten in my life.  They just opened a new store on Richmond Avenue and Chimney Rock.. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Pinks?!?  I had such hope for this list and then you lay that egg.  Let's do guacamole next and have the #1 be BK's California Whopper sauce.

Jesse Rodriguez
Jesse Rodriguez

So many Pink's haters. I find it's the best example of Houston pizza. This isn't New York. Doesn't mean you can't find great New York style pizza. But this is Houston. This is Texas. And a pizza loaded with fresh, delicious, and artisanal ingredients on a great crispy crust says something about this city. We know what's good. Pink's delivery takes forever because it's a busy place. People like their pizza. So go pick it up. The best pizza in the world is gonna get soggy as the steam fills the cardboard box it's stored in for an hour as it makes it way to your door. Don't blame the pizza. Blame yourself.

bibulb
bibulb

I have to second Romano's - there's something about their by-the-slice babyfood cheese pizza that's just addicting. 

I LIKE Pink's - I just wish that it wasn't an all-night affair to get one. 

(I'd ask where Star is, but I'm still holding a grudge against them for their part in closing the Satellite Lounge...)

AtaboyLuther
AtaboyLuther

CiCi's is the benchmark for quality pizza.

Jimmy J.
Jimmy J.

After living in NYC and traveling to Italy it's been extremely difficult not just finding good pizza in Houston, but simply enjoying more common pizza, yet not impossible.  Pink's, however, has provided the ultimate letdown on multiple occasions even with lowered expectations on the 2nd attempt.  It's too doughy, greasy, and the toppings which seemed appealing on a very creative menu were just ordinary.  The best in Houston, really?!? 

Mike N.
Mike N.

Have to agree with what others say about Pinks. Way too expensive for mediocre, soggy pizza.

Piola was good at first, but I too noticed the downward trajectory.

Dolce Vita did something and messed up their crust.

Been to the Russo's on I-10 and Bunker Hill, I saw the oven but the crust wasn't very good.

Bombay is good.

Luigi's is local to me, and I love eating there. Probably my favorite and pretty consistent.

Agree with Albert Nurick re: Star. I've had the misfortune to eat at Star several times, mostly because friends, etc. insisted. Pretty much every time, I get the leaky *ss from eating their pizza, and I generally have a cast iron stomach. Plus I don't see the appeal of the whole wheat crust deep dish "pizza". It's more of a poorly done soggy vegetable soup in an unappetizing mealy bread bowl.

Have to try the others on the list.

Scotter
Scotter

As someone who tossed pizzas near Rockaway's Playland in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York, for several years, I am amazed that Romano's on West Gray is not on this list.  My four sons and I eat pizza out at least once a week and consistently find Romanos, Grimaldis and Russo's Coal Fired (the one at 290 near Hwy 6, not the other locations) to be the ones we enjoy the most.  Of course, pizza is one of the most subjective types of food.  To each their own, but the consistency of quality at all three places over an extended period of time should count for something.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

So glad not to see Star on the list - I've never understood the appeal.  You really need to get out to the Woodlands and try Crust Pizza - I'd love to hear what you think.

thelittlebaker
thelittlebaker

crust pizza co in the woodlands is amazing. brothers and grimaldi's are here as well for those of you on the north side.

Kelli
Kelli

I am thoroughly pissed Brother's was not included on this list.  And Pink's is no way near number 1.

Jack_Around
Jack_Around

Is Piola not cool because it's an international chain? Their Italian/Brazilian hybrids and their white pizzas (sans tomato sauce) like the Lisbona, with salami, gorgonzola, and arugula, are quite good.

Also, it seems strange to decry the "oversauced, overcheesed" places, extol the virtues of minimalist purveyors, then put Pink's at #1 with the Double Down featuring rosemary chicken, bacon, mozzarella, spinach, tomato, and roasted garlic with alfredo sauce.

scarwarsVI
scarwarsVI

Where's brothers pizza?? Srsly... No props to this great Lil joint, even after finally opening a location in garden oaks? I call bs.

Also, pinks WOULD be my top choice if he went out and bought a real oven. Conveyor pizza is a travesty.

Erin Nies
Erin Nies

I had my first Pink's pizza about a week ago & was very disappointed. It was the greasiest pizza I've ever eaten. I didn't even eat the leftovers, which is something I don't think has ever happened before. I'm willing to give it another shot, but don't have high hopes.

I do love Dolce Vita's pizzas. Never had a bad one, & the eggtoast is divine! Bombay is at the top of my list of places to try.

Corey
Corey

Some of it's tongue in cheek rest assured, the others are just pizza snobs/trolls..

LB
LB

I have been searching and searching for a great Chicago style pizza in Houston and have been unable to find anything that comes close to Lou Malnati's and Giodano's... (Lou Malnati's deep dish is unbeatable). Rather than wasting money at half-ass attempts to make a great deep dish, I buy frozen Lou's and have them shipped to me.

mikerastiello
mikerastiello

Have you been to Chicago Italian Beef in The Heights? The service is terrible, but the food is good. I am pretty sure they have a Chicago "pizza" there.

Laurie
Laurie

I am also a Chicago fan - although we are Giordano's people. The closet I have found in Houston is the Wrigley pizza at Candelari's. It is not nearly as deep as you will get there, but the sauce is on the top and you get that nice cheese layer in the middle. Plus we can feed 4 people from the small.

Tom
Tom

I agree with you Ed... I eat at The Original Napoli on Westheimer @ Gessner in the new Randalls shopping center. The pizza is thin crust NY style and is so fresh and reminds me of Boston days. I cant believe the Press does not follow Orig Napoli...

Corey
Corey

Blame poor understaffed delivery and poor planning on their management. One would think they would staff accordingly; were they to do that they wouldn't need you to make excuses for them..

H_e_x
H_e_x

I was waiting for someone to say "artisanal" in a non-sarcastic way. Might as well put a bird on it.

Smedley
Smedley

Hey... I always liked the Stanky Whore.

mikerastiello
mikerastiello

Go to Brooklyn Pizza in Humble, or Romano's on West Grey. You'll get a true slice from home.

Eric S
Eric S

Thoroughly pissed? Over someone else's list of pizza places. Try not to take these things TOO seriously. 

Don't forget - if someone else doesn't like your favorite, it just means less of a wait for a table on your next visit. 

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Piola's chain-ness doesn't have anything to do -- for me -- with whether it's cool or not. I've just never had good look with its pizzas. For me, the Brazilian pizza at Friends is far, far better and far, far less expensive. I like going to Piola -- it's an adorable space with a great patio -- but I've always had warm wine, underpoured cocktails and below average pizza there.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

I loved Piola when it first opened; now I like it. I do go often, and each time the quality and consistency seem just a little bit lesser than the last. I'm seeing more cheese on their pies now, and the last two times I've actually had droopy crust. I'm not giving up on it, but I'm not sure it ranks with some on this list.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

I used to agree with you about the conveyor, but I've come to realize that a talented kitchen can turn out great pizza from a conveyor oven, no matter how much we mythologize the old-style pizza oven.

To me, it's about the results, not the process

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

I agree with the conveyor comment. Shame that pizza would be cooked just like a Burger King Burger. TA

Mag
Mag

I agree, Brooklyn is really good.  So is Brothers

Laurie
Laurie

I will check it out. If they have actual Chicago Beef I will be doubly pleased.

Jack_Around
Jack_Around

Interesting. It's been a month or two since I've been, guess I'll have to revisit and gauge their trajectory.

RicardoMota
RicardoMota

True. The Vallones use a conveyor belt for all their pizza and some of their other gems.

H-town strEATs
H-town strEATs

That same realization can be applied the other way around too. A fancy kitchen/ oven doesnt always produce good food if the "chef" doesnt know what they are doing.  You have to have both.

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