101 BEST PIZZAS IN AMERICA
by Arthur Bovino
August 6, 2015
This is our fourth annual attempt to seek out America’s best pizza, and our third 101 (our first list covered a mere 35 — what were we thinking?). You know the expression, “It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it”? Well, we love pizza, but we make this list as hard on ourselves as we can. It’s one of The Daily Meal’s most compulsively tracked rankings. Why? Because Americans love pizza. It’s a truly democratic food, an inexorable part of American life, something everyone knows (or thinks they know). People take pizza very seriously. So we do too.
Have you had a stranger tweet that he wants to take you on a pizza tour of Queens, drive you around in a truck for a classic Flushing slice, then pull out a med kit filled with fresh basil, oregano, and Parmigiano-Reggiano to “Dom DeMarco” it up? Have you ever collected a year’s worth of pizza suggestions drenched in love and vitriol from hundreds and hundreds of readers? Tried to locate and make sense of every single national and local media list of America’s best pizzas to ensure you haven’t missed a pie? Arranged and rearranged travel schedules in an attempt to personally sample the purported best pizzas in as many American cities as possible? We’ve ridden in that truck. We've done all that, and more, since compiling last year’s 101.
No list is perfect. And we have to remind ourselves at least once a year that other people are allowed to write about pizza, even when they’re wrong (especially when they’re wrong) — even when, as TripAdvisor did this year (two years after naming San Diego America's Top 10 Cities For Pizza... San Diego?), they name Brooklyn’s Juliana's (No. 41 on our list last year) the best pizza in America (tasty for sure, but really?) and round out the top three with places in St. Augustine, Florida, and Anchorage, Alaska. No such thing as bad press, right? (OK, we’ll say it: Some people really should have their pizza-writing licenses revoked.)
So unlike many arbitrary lists, rankings diversified for the purpose of geographical engagement, and “expert” listicles chosen by a handful of New York’s food writers, we approached our rankings methodically and comprehensively, starting with our own definition of the perfect pizza.
#34 Pizzeria Delfina, San Francisco, Calif. (Salsiccia Pizza: House-made fennel sausage, tomato, bell pepper, onion, mozzarella)
San Francisco’s Mission has changed over the past decade, but Mission visionaries and Pizzeria Delfina owners Craig and Anne Stoll haven’t lost a step even as they’ve expanded. The menu is inspired by Craig’s memories of the New York-style pies from his youth and pizza from Naples’ best pizzerias. The menu features eight "Neapolitan-inspired" thin-crust pies and two daily-changing specials. You’ll be intrigued by options like the Panna (tomato sauce, cream, basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano), and look out! A cherrystone clam pie with tomato, oregano, and hot peppers. But your first move should be the Salsiccia: house-made fennel sausage, tomato, bell pepper, onion, and mozzarella.