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Food & Drink

The Best Pizza Places in Austin

Updated On 10/10/2017 at 06:57PM EST
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Via 313

Rainey Street (& other locations)

Universally beloved Detroit-style deep-dish pies
Many an evening has ended early due to the gluttonous temptation of Via 313. Their Detroit-style pies are four square slices of thick, pillowy crust, given extra crunch thanks to a light caramelization of cheese. Two pieces make a perfect bar snack and three a full meal, but that fourth slice is a one-way, direct ticket to bedtime. For the full experience, go with the double pepperoni Detroiter, but even the arugula-topped Rocket is in strict violation to most diets.

Home Slice

South Congress

NY-style pizza by the pie or slice
The Home Slice employee pilgrimages to New York's most iconic pizza shrines are the stuff of legend, so you know they're not just dollar-slice carpetbaggers. The slices are as big in size as the staff is in personality -- even the Friday 2:30am counter dudes are surprisingly cheerful in the face of belligerent spillover from the Continental Club. They have reason to be with pizza this good, classic margherita, pepperoni with the perfect level of grease, and white pies heaped with balloons of ricotta that give their still-great mozzarella a run for their money. The Sicilian pies are a perfect answer to a case of the Mondays.

Bufalina

Bufalina

East Austin

Refined Neapolitan pizza and an impressive wine list
The wait for a seat may be long, but the pizzas pop out of their post oak-fired oven in 60 seconds flat. The crust of Bufalina's Neapolitan pizza is so delicate you might hurt its feelings just by picking it up -- ask for penance, because you'll want to pick up many, many slices, from classics like margherita and calabrese, to experimental pies like the harissa (cauliflower, green olives, pistachio, herbs) and chorizo & potato (mozz, jalapeño, crema, pickled onion, marjoram). Bonus points for perhaps the most swipe-right-worthy clientele of any pizza joint in town.

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

East Side Pies

East End (& other locations)

Ultra-thin-crust pies piled high with local toppings
East Side Pies might be the most Austin-y pizza shop on this list. A visit to the claustrophobic original Eastside location feels like a step back into the '90s (although it opened in 2006), before interior design consultations were requisites for opening even the tiniest of hole in the walls. The attitude is also decidedly slacker-ish, walking the thin line between a no-fucks-given attitude and thoughtful ingredient sourcing. While the crust is cardboard-thin and doesn't pack the wow-factor of spots like Bufalina or Via 313, the creative sauces (chimichurri! hummus!) and gratuitous toppings of local produce more than make up for a sometimes floppy slice.

Little Deli & Pizzeria

Crestview

Quiet neighborhood spot with NY-style pizza and outdoor seating
It doesn't get much more wholesome than Little Deli. Tucked into a quaint Crestview strip mall that's quizzically on an otherwise residential street, this sandwich shop excels at big, Northeast-style slices cooked in 2-inch stone hearth ovens. There's nothing fancy going on here, just an old-school dough recipe executed to craveable perfection, although Little Deli's got new-fangled diners covered as well with an option for Ancient Grains gluten-free crust.

The Backspace

The Backspace

Dirty Sixth

Cozy space serving Neapolitan pizza and antipasti
With the exception of Hoboken (and a few acceptable chains), the local Downtown pizza game is fairly dismal. Thankfully, Backspace upped the ante in 2010 when it opened behind Parkside, bringing some of the city's first (and still finest) wood-fired Neapolitan pies. Its app game is the most robust on this list, with an impressive selection of shared plates (lamb & pork meatballs, baked ricotta) and antipasti (house-made mozz), but the pizzas are obviously the main draw. The ingredient combinations tend to be minimal, keeping knockouts like fennel sausage and picante salame from withering under piles of unwanted veggies.

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Hoboken Pie

Downtown

No-frills joint serving custom pizzas 'til 2:30am
Hoboken boasts being “proud like the pigeon,” which is a fitting tagline since many of its late-night clientele have been reduced to the level of mindless scavengers. Despite the barebones “dining room” (with Parmesan and pepper shakers chained to the wall, bank pen-style), the Jersey-influenced pies deliver a satisfying experience to both Dirty Sixth zombies and clear-eyed diners alike, thanks to a can't-miss crust and some of the most flavorful cheese and sauce in town.

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Unit-D Pizzeria

Cherrywood

Under-the-radar spot for Neapolitan pies and eclectic apps
For nearly a decade Manor Road has been the breakfast taco epicenter of Austin, but the rest of the eats have finally caught up to the migas. Hiding behind Dai Due, Unit D is the newest addition to the street and makes a strong case for the Manorhood as the premiere culinary block in town. The oven, created by a Naples-based oven maker in the biz for over 100 years, cranks out bubbly crusted pies in winning combinations like the pepperoni primo (tomato, pepperoni, bresaola, lardo ibérico, mozzarella, spicy Calabrian peppers), which are taken to the next level thanks to fresh side garnishes like oregano sprigs and crushed chilis.

Second Bar + Kitchen

Downtown

Chewy specialty pizzas in an ultra-hip restaurant setting
Second Bar + Kitchen often catches flack for being “too Downtown,” but we can see past the martini-drinking solo businessmen and awkward date conversations in the echo chamber-like dining room to see the true beauty of the eatery: consistency. And the food critic-approved pizza is no exception -- the Black + Bleu is a testament to balance with its funky black truffle and blue cheese, salty pork belly, and sweet caramelized dates on a thin-yet-dense crust.

Cultivate PR

Cane Rosso

Southwest Austin

Date spot with wood-fired pies and great cocktails
Dallas-based Cane Rosso follows strict Italian standards for its authentic Neapolitan pizzas and its fresh dough is made daily, San Marzano tomatoes are hand-crushed and mozzarella is pulled fresh in-house daily. The pizza is fired in a custom, wood-fired at 900 degrees for 90 seconds resulting in a delicate charred crust. And thank baby Jesus, Cane Rosso serves actual cocktails, in this case Italian-inspired drinks with familiar liqueurs like Campari and Aperol that are a welcome sight in our beer-and-wine-only pizzeria landscape.

Pieous

Southwest Austin

Neapolitan-style pizza and house-made pastrami
If you haven’t had the pleasure of scarfing half of a Pieous pie after a long afternoon sampling spirits and beers off of Fitzhugh Road, you haven’t lived. The wood-fired, thick sourdough crust leans Neapolitan, and the house-smoked pastrami (which you can add to your pizza) are what make Pieous a destination for those of us who reside in Austin proper. You can’t go wrong with any choice, but we love the fiery House on Fire (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salame calabrese, spicy onions, Calabrian peppers, and chili flakes).

Up Next
Mattie's | Nick Simonite
Food & Drink

Austin's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T here were plenty of restaurant openings in Austin this year, but the best ones all had a few things in common: comforting, un-gimmicky foods, served in chic surroundings, by (unsurprisingly) the top culinary talent in the city. They may not be the places with 4-dollar-sign price points, or the ones with two-hour weekend waits, but each of the restaurants below quickly earned top spots on Austin’s “You’ve gotta eat here” board. Whether you start with pimento and peacocks on the patio of a historic Victorian home, or by submitting your naughtiest behavior into a confessional box after an order of fries and soft serve, you’ll enjoy eating your way through Austin’s best new restaurants of 2017.
Thomas Allison / Thrillist

Bonhomie

Burnet Avenue

Casual-yet-refined French/American diner with classic cocktails
Chosen as one of Thrillist's Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017, this French bistro/American diner mashup features the tinge of Asian flavors you’d expect from chef Philip Speer, former director of culinary operations at Uchi. Don’t expect to find any pretension here -- Bonhomie is approachable, casual, comforting, and yes, affordable! The double-meat burger is oozing with Dijonnaise and cheese, the pommes rosti are crispy potato birds’ nests with toppings like roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, and spinach (our favorite), and the croque monsieur and French onion soup are so over-the-top-rich that you practically have to share them. There are no literally no wrong choices, except not dining here -- or drinking here, thanks to the full bar and fantastic cocktail list.

Robert Lerma

Holy Roller

Downtown

Comfort food, cocktails, and kitsch from pastry chef Callie Speer
Callie Speer, former pastry chef of Swift’s Attic and Geraldine’s, opened punk rock diner Holy Roller as a labor of love, alongside an all-star team of women including beverage director Jen Keyser. The menu is full of comfort food, and each Texas classic is stamped with Callie Speer’s signature whimsy, like the addictive Trash Fries (gravy, sunny-side egg, sour cream, corn, lime, and cotija cheese) and the migas kolache (stuffed with queso, crispy potatoes, and jalapeño). Better still, Holy Roller caters to Austin’s brunch-obsessed masses by serving it all day on Sundays, including the Sunday School menu of pastries and tasty cocktails based off the Seven Deadly Sins. Drop a confession note in the box by the bathroom, and it might just get chosen as inspiration for Holy Roller’s next special cocktail.

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

East Austin

Mash-up of a Texas smokehouse and a Japanese gastropub
Describing Kemuri Tatsu-ya to the uninitiated gets convoluted: a Japanese izakaya in a former Eastside BBQ joint, with Texas influences and a killer Japanese whisky selection? Sure. The menu starts with bites like the uber-popular, Gouda-and-brisket-stuffed Hot Pocketz, and ends with ramen served with a thick dipping broth and fiery jalapeños, but not without a few twists and turns along the way. The “odd bits” menu offers tiny dishes of the (very) funky squid marinated in its own guts, as well as sweet and sour marinated jellyfish, while the yakitori offerings range from familiar chicken meatballs to challenging chicken hearts. And don’t even get us started on the cocktail program; arguably one of the best in Austin, the menu features fun, shareable portions served in kitschy vessels (like the Matcha Pain Killer, served in a cat-shaped cup). Think of Kemuri Tatsu-ya as a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience; stay in your comfort zone or get weird, it’s all up to you. Whatever you do, though, order a crisp Orion lager: it gives your go-to light beer a run for its money.

Nicolai McCrary

Soursop

South Congress

Pan-Asian fusion served on the patio of a craft brewery
Soursop, the pan-Asian trailer serving bar food on the patio of St. Elmo Brewing Co. is a standout in the neighborhood, the food truck landscape, and Austin in general for a few reasons: inventive flavor profiles, the fact that St. Elmo’s beers magically pair with everything on the menu, and the culinary team’s (possibly tongue-in-cheek?) shrine to Guy Fieri. Menu offerings occasionally change, but our favorites don’t appear to be going anywhere -- namely the Water-Burger (a refreshing burger made with ground chuck and brisket, caramelized onion ranch, lettuce, marinated cucumber, garlic pepper, and toasted rice powder), and the huge, sticky sambal wings (jumbo whole wings, Thai chili, palm sugar, fish sauce, coconut vinegar, peanut, mint).

Charles Reagan

Native Hostel

East Austin

Upscale hostel and bar serving modern diner classics
Hip digs and a kitchen with generous hours add up to Austin’s newest hotspot for sleeping, eating, drinking, and checking out live music and DJs. The kitchen has everything an Austin guest (or resident) could want, comforting diner food, brunch and lots of vegetarian options. With picks like the fried chicken sandwich (pickle brined chicken, dill pickles, pickled peppers, mayo) and the meatless chilaquiles (veggie chorizo, corn tortilla chips, pickled peppers, tomato, avocado, queso and sunny-side-up egg), this is the sort of food that late dinners and (ahem, challenging) breakfasts require. Pro tip: Native serves brunch until 3pm on weekends.

El Chipirón

South Lamar

Spanish tapas and cocktails found on first floor of residential building
A new kid on the block, El Chipirón earns its stripes with Spanish tapas and pintxos in a modern Euro setting alongside a lovely cocktail menu with an emphasis on gin and tonics (like The Tejano, which involves lots of smoke and herbs). The menu is decked out with meat and cheese boards, small plates, and a couple of large options like the juicy lomo de vaca (44 Farms strip steak, Padrón pepper, LaFou demi-glace, tomato, potato); standouts include the squid ink (colored and flavored) black rice with squid, mussels and scallops and tabla de ibéricos loaded with Spanish chorizo, Iberian ham, salchichón, and accoutrements.

Laura Hajar

Pitchfork Pretty

East Cesar Chavez

Stylish eatery taking a chef-forward approach to modern Southern fare
Helmed by executive chef Max Snyder, Pitchfork Pretty appeared seemingly out of nowhere -- before anyone realized what happened, East Cesar Chavez was home to a design-forward, A-frame building with a mix of chef-y small plates and hearty fried chicken, and cocktails that satisfy both the cucumber margarita and whiskey crowds. The concept is hard to pin down but easy to fall in love with. Critics are rightly swooning over the pickled quail egg on crispy leeks -- a perfect bite consumed like you would an oyster -- and the gluten-free, chickpea flour-breaded fried chicken brined in a habanero vinegar.

bao'd up

Bao'd Up

Mueller

Fast casual joint for steamed buns and bubble tea
Bao’d Up, Mueller’s new steamed-bun-dedicated restaurant from chef Ting Li, is making waves with its bite-size offerings made with the sticky, steamed bread in multiple forms: baozi, mantou, gua bao, and bao fries. We like the simple BBQ pork bao and Szechuan fries topped with spicy mayo, sesame, and green onion, and no trip to Bao’d Up is complete without a build-your-own bubble drink; the matcha and taro are favorites.

Nick Simonite

Mattie's

Bouldin Creek

Elevated Southern cuisine served among live oaks and peacocks
The former Green Pastures (which now refers solely to the event space), Mattie’s is the revamped new concept from Austin developer Greg Porter and La Corsha Hospitality -- which operates Second Bar + Kitchen and Boiler Nine. With its marble countertops, exquisite light fixtures, copper hardware, and textured wallpaper that begs to be touched, the new skin applied to the home’s old bones is incredibly gorgeous to behold. The menu is also just as impressive, whether you’re having dinner in one of the many dining rooms or on the lawn alongside the resident peacocks. Southern dishes sprinkled with French and Asian influence as well as untouched classics like pimento cheese and fried chicken eggs Benedict sparkle at Mattie’s... just as much as the dreamy surroundings.

Taras Zaluzhny
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Courtesy of Hank's
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Updated On 07/17/2018 at 03:19PM EST