Monday, April 12, 2010

20 Best Pizzas in Cincinnati

Update November 2011: Check out the update list of the best pizzerias in Cincy.

The 20 Best Pizzas in Cincinnati: After performing some extensive and excruciating research, I have put together a detailed list that I'm compelled to publish. I believe Cincinnati has a excellent and underrated group of pizzerias, especially if you are willing to drive around a little. The Top 5 stand out especially as great pizzas ('The 5 Great Pizzas of Cincinnati' is what I call them), but everyone listed on this list is good and worth trying. I made my first draft of this list months ago and have knocked off many good pizzas as I've tried more and refined the original list. I am now pretty confident that this is an extensive and accurate list, but if you have recommendations please let me know. I plan to update this list one year from now based on whatever exciting new developments there are in the Cincinnati Pizza Scene. But as of April 2010, these are the 20 best pizza restaurants in Cincinnati:

20. Ramundo's Pizzeria & Deli - New York style pizza you can eat on the street in Mt. Lookout. They also have a 24" pizza eating challenge. ...I view it as a very nice statement about the local pizza scene that this is Cincinnati's #20. Mt. Lookout

19. Buona Vita Pizzeria - Pretty good thin crust pizza. The ingredients were quite good. My only complaint is the crust was a little soggy. The restaurant is very small and the walls are decorated like a family room. Also, I give them points for having Louie Prima playing from an iPod stereo. Bellevue

18. Fratelli's New York Style Pizzeria - Big thin-crust NY style slices. The pizza is pretty straightforward, but good. It seemed cheaply made to me. Also, the garlic knots appetizer are small but very good. West Chester

17. Pasquale's Pizza - The pizza is not bad, but only slightly above Larosa's level. However, they've also got some decent cheap appetizers, including some over-garliced garlic bread and mozzarella sticks. The prices are quite reasonable and it's a cool hole in the wall. Bellevue

16. Sorrento's Pizzeria - A good place to go after a Xavier game. The pizza here tastes better than it looks - It's all thin crust, the sauce wasn't bad, but for me the pepperoni & Italian sausage toppings made the pizza. Norwood

15. Italianette Pizza - Good medium crust pizzas and a nice selection of specialty pies. Silverton

14. Bourbon House & Pizzeria - A genuine Kentucky style pizza place. The pizzas here come up to 18". The ingredients are pretty standard except for the garlic crust, which makes the pizza. Also, the draft beer comes in mason jars. Good pizza and at their prices it's worth a try. Burlington

13. Pizza Tower - The pizzas have a liberal amount of toppings and are pretty good. They have a big and diverse pizza menu. Pizza Tower is a little more expensive than comparable pizzerias but the pizza is good and worth trying. Mason

12. The Works - This is an old firehouse converted into a brick oven pizza place. The pizzas are on nice medium crust and their main virtue is the huge amount of toppings added (Pepperoni stacked six high). The sauce and ingredients are a little boring, but the crust and quantities are great. Loveland

11. Jean Paul's Paridiso - This place has great Artisan pizzas. They are 16" and dense - loaded with cheese & toppings. Everything is homemade by Jean Paul. It's also a bakery & the cannoli we had was very good. There's only two tables inside & bottled drinks. The prices are a little high, but the food is worth it. Anderson

10. Adriatico's Pizza - Good cheap college pizza, and home of the 24 x 18" "Bearcat". It's delivery only though. Clifton

9. Betta's Italian Oven - Good wood-fired pizza. The menu says the pizzas are 10" but they appear to be about 13". Since they're wood fired they have great burnt crust, which makes the pizza. They have great artisan pizzas and good some classic ones. Norwood

8. Trotta's Pizza - They're pick-up and delivery only now, but still have the great pizza I grew up on. It's thick crust pizza with garlic in the crust. They pizzas can be ordered very big, with the largest being called the Lotta Trotta. Also, they have a surprisingly large amount of different ingredients available, and very good hoagies. Everything I've had here is great and at a reasonable price. Western Hills

7. ZZ's Pizzeria - ZZ's recently reopened. I've found the homemade crust a little soggy, but besides that everything about the pizza was great. They have a great selection of artisan pizzas. Also, ZZ's have a cool layout - It's in an angular corner building, and the restaurant is pretty nice inside. You have to park on the street, but it's easy to get a spot on Gilbert. Walnut Hills

6. Via Vite - This is a upscale Italian restaurant rather than a pizza place, but has some of the best artisan pizzas in Cincinnati. They're personal size and you can tell the Pietosos allow only very high quality materials. It's great pizza and this is simply the place to be seen eating pizza with the who's who of Cincinnati. Downtown

5. Newport Pizza Company - NPC serves excellent thin crust pizzas. The artisan pizzas here are very good, but the straight Perfect Pepperoni is the best. Also, there's a nice selection of cheap appetizers and good beer. Newport

4. Noce's Pizzeria - Great New York style pizza with a nice variety of different toppings. Also, the garlic knots are the best in the city and also the cannoli is pretty good. It's a hole in the wall pizza place, but cheap, and probably the best New York style pizza in Cincinnati. Westwood

3. Mac's Pizza Pub - This is a bar, but it definitely has the best pizza of any bar that I've been to: High quality sauce, cheese, & crust. All pizzas are made with medium hand-tossed crust. Overall, Mac's makes some of the best pizza in Cincinnati with good prices and quick service (lot's of refills). Clifton

2. Pomodori's Pizzeria - They have a big menu and everything I tried was good. They have both wood-fired oven and traditional pizza, both of which are excellent. The crust and sauce are great. Also, they have a wide variety of ingredients, which are all fresh. At the relative prices, the traditional pizza is a better deal, but both are worth trying. Clifton

1. Dewey's Pizza - The best pizza in Cincinnati. It's a small chain, but Dewey's is excellent in every way. I think the key though is the quality of their hand-tossed crust. They have a wide variety of pizzas all of which are good - Both their goat cheese (Edgar Allen Poe) and straight pepperoni pizzas are great. Oakley

"The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order -- not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. ...We also have completely practical lists -- the shopping list, the will, the menu -- that are also cultural achievements in their own right. ...At first, we think that a list is primitive and typical of very early cultures, which had no exact concept of the universe and were therefore limited to listing the characteristics they could name. But, in cultural history, the list has prevailed over and over again. It is by no means merely an expression of primitive cultures. A very clear image of the universe existed in the Middle Ages, and there were lists. A new worldview based on astronomy predominated in the Renaissance and the Baroque era. And there were lists. And the list is certainly prevalent in the postmodern age. It has an irresistible magic ...We like lists because we don't want to die" - Umberto Eco


  1. You just gave me a whole lot of places to try! Thanks! Next time around, I think Buena Vita will (or should be) higher up. I've eaten there many times, and never had a soggy pizza, plus they are moving to a new location a block from their old one. It should be a pretty nice setup. They are one of my very favorites! But then again, so is Dewey's.

    1. I agree. I've been back to Buena Vita and was very impressed. Maybe I was just there at a bad time originally.

  2. Can't really call Noce's even NYish. They don't have fresh basil and can't make a Margherita pizza, something even bad NY pizza places can do

    1. Good points, but I guess I would call them NewYork-ish. It's difficult to find a perfect example in Cincy (and certainly not a NY style coal-fired pizzeria). I think the best example on NY style in Cincy now is Raniero's by NKY. They're listed on my updated list But, I'm not sure they even have a Margherita.

  3. Since you wrote this blog, a new dine-in Adriatico's on McMillan has opened.

    Cool, I'll have to try some of these places. I personally would rate Pomodori's ahead of Deweys... imo you can't beat wood fired. I went to ZZ's years ago and will have to try it again. And I won't rest until I've eventually tried every place on this list! I would have put Pizza Tower slightly closer to no. 1; their "herb and garlic" specialty pizza is to die for.

    1. Yes, I've been to the new Adriatico's - It's pretty nice. You can't go wrong with any of these 20 places, but I did update the list last year with new places:

      I'm due to update again for 2013, since they're some more good new places that have opened.

  4. Sorrento ---
    fresh pizza........ Mama has been there since 1956......


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