Cane Rosso
Food & Drink

The Best Pizza Places in Houston

Updated On 10/11/2017 at 07:26PM EST
A few years ago, Jay Z once dissed Houston pizza on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, saying “they don’t have pizza there,” all because Beyoncé takes her slice with extra sauce and jalapeños. While we know Brooklyn has its own breed of pizza pride, we have to disagree with Hov: Houston’s pie scene is booming... plus jalapeños on pizza are delicious. Fact. So Jay, next time you visit with Bey, we implore you to try our pizza again. We’ll even give you a head start with the top pizzerias in town right now.
Bollo Woodfired Pizza

Bollo Woodfired Pizza

Upper Kirby

Woodfired pizza and phenomenal apps to boot
Imports like Caputo brand “double zero” flour and an 800-degree wood-burning oven mean every doughy Bollo pie comes out blistered and smoky. Get the pizzas topped with classics like prosciutto di Parma and creamy buffalo mozz (also imported); or go full Lone Star with everything from fresh jalapeños to crazy good Texas Wagyu beef. Before you dig into the pie, it’s best to start with a messful of small plates, including but not limited to black truffle burrata, local beets, plump meatballs, and Gulf shrimp crostini.

Cane Rosso

Cane Rosso

Montrose

Neapolitan-style pies in a dog-friendly location
Don’t knock it ‘cause it’s Dallas born. With two locations, Cane Rosso feels wholly Houston after getting a reboot from local chefs Jonathan Jones (Beaver’s, El Big Bad) and Matt Womack (Prohibition, Broken Barrel) earlier this year. Head to the pup-friendly Montrose locale to enjoy pies with your best bud on the patio. Those pies, by the way, are expertly crafted, certified Neapolitan-style made with fresh dough scorched in an intensely hot wood-burning oven. Locals love on the Joan Marie, kissed with pepperoni, goat cheese, and roasted jalapeño pesto. And new additions from the fiery ghost pepper bucatini to some truly bangin’ brunch items make for a good time. While the Heights locations isn’t dog-friendly, we can confirm it’s equally as delicious.

Coltivare

Coltivare Pizza & Garden

Heights

Wood-fired pies with gluten-free crust available
There’s a reason people don’t mind the no reservations policy at this modern Italian joint, and it’s not because they like achieving a lofty buzz before sitting down to eat (well, maybe a little of that). It’s mainly because everything coming out of the wood-fired oven and urban garden is borderline euphoric, and that includes the rustic, chubby, locally-inspired pies and the seasonally refreshed tinctures from beverage master Morgan Weber. The whole lineup is top notch, so to avoid failing yet another multiple choice test, bring a crew and carbo load with a mix of the good stuff -- we’re talking salumi and tomato pies next to black pepper pasta and ricotta gnocchi alongside made-from-scratch foccacia to sop up your bowls of mussels.

Luna Pizzeria

Upper Kirby (& Heights)

SF-style, build your own pie spot
Now with two whimsical locations, these scorched SF-style pies are perfectly chewy and puffy thanks to fresh sourdough from local bakery Angela's Oven. Counter service keeps things wallet friendly, but you’ll have the impossible task of deciding between adornments like whipped ricotta, shiitake mushrooms, mortadella, and fiery andouille before you reach the front of the line. Or you know, you can just get them all.

Dulce Garcia

Dolce Vita Pizzeria Enoteca

Montrose

Neapolitan-style pies from an imported Italian oven
This Westheimer powerhouse from Chef Marco Wiles was the first to demonstrate the beauty of blistered and blackened wood-fired crusts to Houstonians. Impossibly good flavor combinations like taleggio, pear, and truffle oil or roasted clams and garlic all work to peek throughout the pies’ scorched nooks and crannies. To complement the pizza’s, try the al dente rigatoni studded with pig fat and heavy cream and the vast selection of small plates. The patio space is also the perfect spot to take a date, grab a glass of wine, and eat some pizza.

Luigi's Pizzeria

Midtown

New York-style slices you can eat in hammocks
Foldable New York-style slices may be a novelty in this city, but those very things are the weapons of choice at this old-school pizzeria. The Midtown hideaway has always been a cult favorite, but with the opening of the Axelrad Beer Garden, with which it shares a yard, Luigi’s has become a bona fide institution. Order some moz sticks and a slice or two at the counter, then grab your number, choose a hammock in the beer garden, and sip away until the pizzeria brings your hot, fresh slices right to you.

Piola Houston

Piola

Midtown

Authentic Italian pizzas (with 40+ to choose from)
This Midtown staple boasts the most authentically Italian pizza in town. That’s because the massive chain got its start in Italy before making its way to Houston. You’ll find 40+ pies at this outpost, from the legitimately amazing prosciutto crudo to the heavenly ricotta & spinach. You’ll also find one of the best weekday happy hours and all-you-can-eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month, both of which have absolutely nothing to do with pizza but deserve to be mentioned.

Pizaro's Pizza

Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana

Montrose

Detroit, NY, and Neapolitan-style pies abound here
Ever hear of pepperoni cups? Ever try a Detroit-style pie? How about a Detroit-style pie next to a New York-style one and a Neapolitan pizza? Pizaro’s Montrose location offers the chance to try three pizza styles topped with high-class toppings, from Iberico ham and Bufala mozzarella to anchovies and crimini mushrooms. How could it get any better? Well, it’s casual, counter-service is efficient and they offer daily specials like Tuesday and Wednesday all day happy hour.

Pizzeria Solario

Pizzeria Solario

Upper Kirby

Best for crust lovers
Topped with things like housemade fior di latte, soppressata, and Calabrian chilis before being wood fired at 900+ degrees until bubbling and charred, these red- and white-based regional Italian pies are a force to be reckoned with. But here in this modern mid-rise storefront, it’s truly all about the crust: soft and pillowy on the inside, crunchy and crisp on the outside. Take the pies down with add-ons like fire-roasted polpette, red wine, and gelato. As is tradition.

Romano's Pizza

Montrose

New York-style pies in a no-frills location
Follow the Yankee caps to this zero frills pizzeria, where the service is just as New York-style as the lightly sauced, thin and crisp slices. Don’t expect a ton of small talk, just solidly executed plain, pepperoni, and Italian sausage pies that come out fast and hot. Oh, and chicken parm subs, ricotta-stuffed calzones, and stacks on stacks on stacks of garlic knots. Just don’t ask for chicken parm on your pizza. We tried that once...it didn’t work.

Julie Soefer

Pi Pizza

Washington

Crazy inventive pizzas with unexpected toppings
This late-night pizza truck turned brick-and-mortar goes outside the pizza box with pies that are, well, non-conformist to say the least. Fans of the 420 (the one stacked with all the makings of a Frito pie) will be happy to know it’s a special every Monday. But there are also delicious creations in the regular lineup -- like the Sgt Pepper Redux with blackberries and Houston Dairymaids goat cheese; and the sausage, bacon, egg and cheese-loaded AM/PM that gets some extra flavor from cream gravy. Split a couple of pies alongside pizza fries and some bottled Rum Swizzles and Old Fashioneds.

the wonderful Love Buzz

Love Buzz

Montrose

Funky pies with ‘90s-era games and vibes
Set in an unassuming house on lower Westheimer, the 21-and-up pizza dive offers pies with cheeky names and a cool vibe that drips with ‘90s nostalgia -- think skeeball, air hockey and that terrifying life-sized Ronald McDonald. The venture brings together the powerhouses responsible for offbeat favorites including Moon Tower Inn, Voodoo Queen, and Eatsie Boys for a concept that is truly one of a kind. Go for large pies like the meat lovers Kosher as Christmas, the philly cheesesteak smothered Whizard Sleeve, or the Schnozberries Taste Like Schnozberies, which is stacked with a few grams of shrooms, obviously. Or order up some plain and pepperoni pizza by the slice, with an added side of ranch for your dipping pleasure.

Up Next
Potente
Food & Drink

Houston's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
H ouston’s had a rough year. But that’s not to say we haven’t banded together and shown the world what it means to be #HoustonStrong AND brought home our first World Series title in the process -- shout-out to Altuve! And while we’ve fared through the hardships, there were plenty of phenomenal things happening in background, especially in the culinary world. More specifically, the return of an old favorite, a hot concept from a Top Chef, and one restaurant that will be changing faces every year. Here are the Houston hot spots you’ll want to be eating at going into 2018.
Mauro Luna

Field & Tides

Heights

Gulf Coast fare paired with delicious cocktails and a yard to hang in
This 11th Street newcomer from chef Travis Lenig (formerly of Liberty Kitchen) plays to the tastes of the Third Coast, with both by-land and by-sea offerings in a warm and cozy setting. The space is small, so you may encounter a slight wait on busy nights; but fear not, there’s a yard and cocktails to keep you occupied. When you’re ready, you’ll want to start with a few appetizers -- pimento cheese fritters and sambal-glazed fish collars -- before moving onto the big guns, like confit duck leg with dreamy corn pudding and caramelized scallops over flawless shrimp and crab risotto. Brunch fans will also want to revive themselves with zippy house Bloodys and slow-roasted pork and pancake stacks on weekends.

Aqui

Montrose

A Top Chef alum brings reenergized Asian food to Houston
Top Chef and JBA winner Paul Qui’s first Houston project arrived to quite a buzz this summer, for good reason. Though the striking roof and high-ceilinged space gives off a bare yet tranquil vibe, the food is anything but, with bold, bright flavors dreamed up by Qui and chef de cuisine Gabriel Medina (a hometown hero known for stints at Kata Robata and Soma Sushi). Travel to Southeast Asia via kamayan or “hand-to-mouth” bites like the Singapore hot chili crab and fried bao. Order yourself a few “perfect bites” -- literally bite-sized puffs, cakes, dumplings, and toasts made for one, and/or bring some friends to share tom yam noodles, grilled octopus adobo, and the star of the evening: a succulent, crispy skin lechón served with Filipino pork liver sauce.

Kimberly Park

Killen's STQ

Galleria

A meats expert adds seafood to the lineup and will make you re-think that steak
Smoke and steak combine at this relaxed space from acclaimed local chef Ronnie Killen, which took over the former Bramble space near the end of 2016. Earlier this year, Killen tapped Graham Laborde (previously of Bernadine’s) as operations chef for all Killen’s restaurants, which added some serious seafood savvy to the barbecue and steak focused kitchen. Book your reservations in advance and gear up for a meal that will no doubt loosen your belt a few notches... but you know, in a classy way. We’re talking pecan-smoked pork belly glistening in habanero-cherry sauce; Creole shrimp over grits cake; the choicest wood-fired rib-eye and NY strip; and the pièce de résistance, a silky/smoky bacon tres leches bread pudding.

Kitchen 713

Washington

A reopened soul food joint is back and better than ever
Once a tiny, bare bones restaurant housed in EaDo, Kitchen 713 closed in 2016 to find new digs (and get a liquor license). At the turn of the year, it emerged bigger, better (it got that license), and somehow, even more satisfying. It’s all about pure, unadulterated soul food, here... though you’ll find way more than just one the city’s best takes on shrimp & grits. Chef and co-owners Ross Coleman and James Haywood take inspiration from around the globe, bringing their take on soul food to the highest level. Dig in to fiery and smoky Caribbean jerk ribs, catfish tikka masala that’s at once light and rich, and a stupendous New York strip. Also, since this is the South, weekend brunch means fried chicken, mac & cheese, and biscuits, obviously.

Julie Soefer Photography

One Fifth Houston

Montrose

For five years, this restaurant will change its concept every year. Go now.
From Underbelly chef-owner and champion of all things Houston, Chris Shepherd, this concept is literally changing up its game once a year for five years. First up was One Fifth Steak, which gained fans aplenty under the careful direction of the incredibly talented chef de cuisine Nick Fine. Now, Shepherd, Fine and Co. have turned their attentions toward love languages and the cuisines that represent them. One Fifth Romance pleases with dishes that can probably make anyone fall in love -- mussels escabeche, duck heart Bolognese, truffle chicken roulade, and orange-anise croquembouche. Just don’t forget to make your reservations now, as the tides will turn once again in August and September.

Ohn Korean Eatery

Chinatown

An Asiatown legend opens the neighborhood’s hottest new spot
Mike Tran has quietly been taking over Asiatown, winning over locals with favorites like Mein, Tiger Den, and the newly revamped Night Market. The same attention has been paid to what just may be his coolest venture, Ohn. This time, a clubby K-Town vibe adds sex appeal, while the kitchen dishes out shareable plates that are downright addicting as hell. Sip late-night soju straight from a watermelon keg and complement it with kimchi fried rice, jeyuk bokkeum (spicy pork stir-fry), sweet and hot twice-fried Korean chicken, and corn cheese -- a cheesy riff on creamed corn that is an absolute must for the table.

Jennifer Caswell

Oxbow 7

Downtown

Elevated bayou food in an unexpected location
Gulf Coast chef Bryan Caswell already had seafood (Reef), barbecue (Jackson Street BBQ), and Tex-Mex (El Real) under his restaurant umbrella. And now, along with his wife, Jennifer, he has a modern concept in Downtown’s Le Meridian -- one that vows to change what you think you know about bayou fare. Refined techniques and touches enhance what the kitchen describes as “elevated bayou cuisine” -- East Texas caviar service with house potato chips, creme fraiche and ghost pepper caviar; crispy duck egg with duck confit and basil oil; and even Caswell’s take on bun rieu, a traditional Vietnamese crab stew that gets poured tableside. Aside from elevated small plates, the restaurant also plays to the hotel crowd with double cheeseburgers and build-your-own breakfasts.

Potente

Potente

Downtown

The only Italian steakhouse you’ll need to know in Houston
With a piping hot location across from Minute Maid Park, this highly-anticipated concept from Astros owner Jim Crane hit a grand slam (!) when it nabbed chef Danny Trace (of Brennan’s fame) to helm the kitchen this spring. Potente oozes sophistication, with a dark and luxe interior that evokes a modern villa, top-notch service and superb wines, and high-end Italian steakhouse fare that pays respect to local ingredients. Dine on a beautiful branzino hit with burgundy grapes and romanesco; impossibly silky burrata caprese, dressed up with things like confit cherry tomato and smoked sea salt; and cacio e pepe upped with black truffles shaved tableside.

Mark C Austin

Riel

Montrose

Southern food from a Canadian chef and a constantly changing menu
All hail Manitoba-born chef Ryan Lachaine (Underbelly, Reef), who fires off worldly dishes straight from Riel’s showstopping open kitchen. Said dishes offer some familiar tastes from our French Canadian neighbors, like the artful Montreal smoked meat and rye, and sticky toffee pudding with foie gras torchon. That said, the ever-changing menu is just as likely to feature influences from Houston’s culinary melting pot, from Vietnamese fried oysters and Gulf redfish karaage (with its tail intact), to a beautiful corn gnocchi dusted with cilantro, lime, and cotija fondue.

Jenn Duncan Photography

Theodore Rex

Warehouse District

Simple but spectacular plates with a menu that will change due to chef’s “boredom”
In a shock felt around the city, 2017 brought the closure of our beloved Oxheart, a year after chef Justin Yu won James Beard’s Best Chef Southwest for his highly revered veggie-centric tasting menu. But it wasn’t always Yu’s plans to be confined by tastings, so he shut down his spot inside the historic Erie City Iron Works building and re-birthed it entirely. With a new, playful look, new chef de cuisine (Jason White) and new a la carte menu, Theodore Rex sets the tone for a new kind of dining -- one that mesmerizes with simple plates of pan con tomate and farm potatoes dripped in chicken in the same way as it does with mains like collards-steamed grouper and Texas wagyu with fermented radish. Note: The menu will change often due to “availability, quality, and boredom,” so come expecting the unexpected.

Xochi

Xochi

Downtown

A hometown hero is dishing out Oaxacan cuisine after winning his first James Beard award
With a James Beard Award under his belt, chef Hugo Ortega is storming out of the gates. That’s thanks in part to the deserving chef’s latest concept, the sleek Oaxacan paradise set on the ground level of the gorgeous Marriott Marquis (the one with the Texas-shaped lazy river). Equally as gorgeous are Xochi’s impeccably composed plates -- a showstopping labyrinth of moles, from the deep and earthy to the smooth and mellow; house-made masa preparations showcasing endless varieties of corn and topped off with wood-roasted octopus, roasted pork rib, and chorizo ismeño, and impossibly good homemade chocolate desserts from Hugo’s pastry chef (and brother), Ruben. Drinks come from the masterful Sean Beck, who’s built a thoughtful library of agave-focused cocktails and interesting wines to pair with it all.

Morris Malakoff

Yauatcha

Galleria

Upscale dim sum that’ll have you prying your friends off the couch every Sunday
It’s fitting that this Michelin-starred London import is housed in the Galleria’s luxury "jewel box" building. Every plate coming out of the kitchen is a gem, both in a breathtaking, aesthetic way and a more figurative “give me that now!” way. This is not your typical Chinese dim sum teahouse -- Yauatcha offers a more contemporary tasting experience, and although that comes with an uptick in price, we’re guessing you’ll find shelling out the extra cash totally acceptable. Bring friends and sip tea while ogling over the restaurant’s delicate and artful preparations, from crispy duck rolls and scallop shui mai with tobiko caviar, to seasonal chocolates and patisserie.

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