10. Pizzeria Mozza
> Location: Los Angeles, California
Famed L.A. chef-restaurateur and baker Nancy Silverton (founder of La Brea Bakery) sells some of the best pizza in the West at this adjunct to Mozza, the restaurant she owns with New York’s Joe Bastianich. Among the California-fresh variations are one with squash blossoms, tomatoes, and burrata; another with brussels sprouts, guanciale, red onion, and mozzarella; and a “BLT” with bacon, guanciale, onion cream, roasted tomatoes, arugula, and aïoli. A selection of imaginative, mostly vegetable-based antipasti are also served.
9. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
> Location: Chicago, Illinois
Pizza purists like to say that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza isn’t pizza, it’s a casserole. Be that as it may, the genre’s multitude of fans — both in Chicago and around the country — hail Lou Malnati’s. Founded by deep-dish pioneer Malnati in suburban Chicago in 1971, the enterprise has grown into an empire with 57 Chicagoland locations plus a scattering in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Arizona. The signature is The Lou (spinach cooked with garlic, onions, and basil, together with mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, and three cheeses in a garlic crust). There are also gluten-free variations and even — if you insist — thin-crust pizzas as well.
> Location: Brooklyn, New York
This hip pizza purveyor in Brooklyn’s funky Bushwick neighborhood is famous for its wood-oven Bee Sting pizza, tipped with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, soppressata, chiles, and honey. There are also seven other house specialties, including the Just a Biber (taleggio and peppered goat cheese, asparagus, pickled onions, chives, and dried Turkish urfa biber chiles) and design-your-own options with a choice of about 20 toppings. Some of the vegetal ingredients are grown onsite. (There’s a second Brooklyn location, along with one in Los Angeles and three pizza stands at Urbanspace food courts around Manhattan.)
7. Pizzeria Delfina
> Location: San Francisco, California
“Inspired by the best pizza of New York City and Naples, Italy,” claims this farm-to-pizza-oven San Francisco favorite (there are three other Bay Area locations). Among the more unusual possibilities here are two pies based on pasta preparations — pizza alla Norma (eggplant, smoked mozzarella, ricotta, black olives, and Calabrian chiles) and pizza carbonara (farm eggs, guanciale, pecorino, scallions, and black pepper).
6. Pizzeria Bianco
> Location: Phoenix, Arizona
From its origins in the back of a grocery store in 1988, has grown into an essential destination for pizza-lovers in the West. Pies come from both a wood-fired oven (among them a version with house-smoked mozzarella, wood-roasted onions, and fennel sausage, with optional add-ons including San Daniele prosciutto and Gaeta olives) and a classic New York pizzeria-style deck oven (producing New York-style pizzas, not surprisingly, including one with three cheeses — aged provolone, montasio, and local Rovey Farms sheep’s cheese). Founder Chris Bianco was the first pizzaiolo to win a James Beard Best Chef award. He has a second Phoenix location and three other restaurants.