Rest of the Best 2013: Houston's Top Ten Pizzas
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Piola's carbonara pizza is like bacon and eggs, but in pizza form.
I'm a sucker for an egg-topped pizza, so I was surprised when I ordered the carbonara pizza at Piola and it didn't come with a sunny-side up egg in the center of it. I opened the to-go box just outside the storefront in Midtown, only to find what looked like a cheese pizza with a bit of prosciutto and a nice golden crisp from the open fire in Piola's brick oven. I took a bite, and lo and behold, it tasted like...carbonara. Traditionally, of course, carbonara is a pasta dish composed of eggs, Parmesan, pancetta and some cracked black pepper. But this pizza is carbonara you can eat with nothing but your hands! It's simple, and, contrary to Piola's claims of being authentically Italian, tastes exactly like a slice of pizza you'd grab at an above-average pizza counter in New York City. Fresh, crispy, greasy, delish.
8. Pizza L'Vino
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Pizza L'Vino basically puts Greek salad on top of a pizza without all that healthy lettuce.
Like Pink's, Pizza L'Vino delivers. Unlike Pink's, Pizza L'Vino delivers booze. Were accessibility and availability of wine with my pizza the only criteria for this list, Pizza L'Vino would be higher. But it's not. That said, Pizza L'Vino makes a mean pie. The Greek Islander is arguably the best, because it's one of the few pizzas in town I've found with so many "premium" toppings for a reasonable price. The Greek Islander packs sautéed spinach, tomatoes, onions, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, feta, kalamata olives and Wisconsin mozzarella, all on one round of dough topped with purportedly Greek oregano. It's like a Greek salad on a pizza, and I'm convinced that the melty mozzarella is the single component that all the Greek salads I've ever eaten in my life have been missing.
Photo by Dutch Small. Yes, he photographed his own pizza. Spicy, tender and a tad unexpected -- this Boheme pizza is everything a man should be.
The pizzas at Boheme are not traditional in any sense of the word. They're all served on a Middle Eastern flatbread known as lavash, which is made of flour, water and salt -- no yeast. It's similar to a cracker crust, which some people might pooh-pooh, but you really shouldn't until you try it. Chef Rishi Singh's inventive toppings will have you reimagining all that pizza can be. Of all the wild, Asian-inspired pizzas, though, the Dutchie is the undisputed king. It was invented after a local PR maven and friend of Boheme, Dutch Small, asked his friends what kind of toppings he'd have if he were a pizza. It turns out the answer is sriracha tomato sauce (or sass), pancetta, mozzarella, ricotta, fresh basil and a touch of Turkish Aleppo pepper flakes. Just like its namesake, it's spicy, fresh and distinctive with each bite.