100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 10, Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana

Pizaros 002.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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Photo by Mai Pham
Bill Hutchinson, right, and his son Matt man the oven at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana.
The simple fact of the matter is that Pizaro's is the best pizza place in Houston at the moment. It doesn't offer beer or wine; it gives you plastic utensils and paper plates; the sole source of ambience in the restaurant comes from the giant pizza oven; and the wait is often interminable -- especially on weekend evenings. But it's still the best pizza place we've got going right now, and it's all thanks to owner Bill Hutchinson.

Hutchinson and his wife Gloria have the coveted Verace Pizza Napoletana certification for their pies, which come in one size only -- 12 inches -- and are made with authentic "00" Italian pizza flour and San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy. The result is a magnificently authentic Napoletana-style pizza the likes of which you can't find anywhere else in town. The Hutchinsons even make their own mozzarella for the pizzas and caprese salads daily.

Napoletana-style pizzas are, by definition, fairly simple things. They're not loaded down with the heavy weight of excess toppings, and the main pleasure in eating one comes more from the rugged char on the crust than anything else. That's why it's advisable to order as straightforward a pie as possible, the better to let Hutchinson's skill and his exquisite ingredients shine through.

My personal favorite at the moment is the prosciutto and arugula pizza, with the ingredients mostly piled in the center of the pie and topped with Parmesan flakes like a beautiful salad. You're already eating the pizza with your hands (ideally), so don't be afraid to dig into that little salad mound and spread the love around. I like to drag the spindly arugula leaves into arrangements on each slice, then drape a slice or two of prosciutto on top. The combination of arugula and prosciutto acts as pepper and salt, balancing out the gooey mozzarella underneath and providing a wonderful spark of flavor to each bite -- flavor that never overpowers the simple sauce, cheese and crust underneath.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe
No. 41: Pollo con mole at El Gallo de Jalisco
No. 40: Fried avocado taco at H-Town StrEATs
No. 39: Rigatoni in bolognese sauce at Paulie's
No. 38: Chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven
No. 37: Sashimi at Dadami
No. 36: Half-pound burger at benjy's
No. 35: Fried chicken at Haven
No. 34: Whole-fried speckled trout at Liberty Kitchen
No. 33: Moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro
No. 32: Pancakes at Fountain View Cafe
No. 31: Pineapple with chile en polvo at Canino's
No. 30: Fried chicken at Barbecue Inn
No. 29: Dirty Burque at Green Seed Vegan
No. 28: Egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria
No. 27: Brisket and turkey at CorkScrew BBQ
No. 26: Menudo at La Mexicana
No. 25: Shrimp and grits at Shade
No. 24: Kinilaw at Reef
No. 23: Lamb at El Hidalguense
No. 22: Gumbo at Danton's
No. 21: Chicken-fried water buffalo at The Hay Merchant
No. 20: Roasted cauliflower at Roost
No. 19: Truffled egg toast at Dolce Vita
No. 18: 63-degree egg at Brasserie 19
No. 17: Drunken foie gras at Philippe
No. 16: Beet salad at Triniti
No. 15: Yogi thali at Pondicheri
No. 14: Bialy and lox at The Hot Bagel Shop
No. 13: Ribs at Gatlin's
No. 12: Venison carpaccio at Thanh Phuong
No. 11: Camarones henesy en hamaca at Arturo Boada Cuisine



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Location Info

Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana

14028 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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11 comments
JKempner
JKempner

Tried it with my son this weekend after reading this post. Will be back for more; it the right focus, namely pizza, pizza, pizza. Good to see focus these days

jekylvinwhisk
jekylvinwhisk

Good stuff, very good people, but wouldn't quite elevate it so highly. Posters around the room claim 'less is more' and yet they have a lot of pies that are actually 'more' compared to some other places. for instance, how can a Napolitana place totally overlook anchovies? also, just a simple pizza of garlic and marinara. or capers and oregano. the oven is good, the direction is good, but it's not yet the best pizza joint by a few yards at least

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

Funny, this is the first pie we tried from there and I wasn't wild about it. (The escarole salad, though? YES.) Then the fire occurred and we haven't had time to go back. I'm looking forward to trying a few others.

Don't get me wrong, this was good. I just wasn't crazy about it.

Stolib
Stolib

@EatingOurWords 1/2 that pie pictured is crust. Gotta spread the wealth around the entire pie.

TheBurgerGuys
TheBurgerGuys

@EatingOurWords @pizarospizza yep it's the ish

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

 @conebaby What fire? I think you're talking about Dolce Vita.

salynch
salynch

@TheBurgerGuys @EatingOurWords If @pizarospizza opens a location anywhere near #BGDT, I'm gonna have siezures.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

 @timblack2 Holy moly. I'm gud at reeding.

 

Yeah, similar pie at DV, the only one we had. Pizaros has been on the list for AWHILE but we've been gone most of the summer. Thanks for the head's up. (Arugula/prosciutto still not my favorite pizza combo. A favorite salad combo though. I'm weird, in addition to having sketchy reading skillz.)

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

 @conebaby You're welcome. Enjoy! (and also, this is just an opinion, but the regular house made mozarella is better on that pie than the buffalo mozarella)

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

 @timblack2 Mom is in town, might be a good chance to try it. Thanks for the tip!

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

 @conebaby All good. personally I would just stick with the Margherita here. And a small Caesar salad. And bring your own wine...no cork fee!Great little joint.

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