It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
King Street Historic District
Italian racing-themed Neapolitan-style brick-oven pizzas
Monza is an Italian racing-themed restaurant that specializes in gourmet Neapolitan-style brick oven pizzas. Like DeSano, it also has many of its ingredients and equipment imported from Italy, but it also has a focus on sourcing ingredients and flavors from local suppliers as well. Pro tip: try the Vanwall Special made with pesto, mozzarella, shrimp, and seasonal tomatoes.
Casual, New York-style pizzeria ideal for lunch and late night
At 2am, you’ll see a line of not-so-sober college students forming on Market St with people waiting to get one of these giant slices of New York-style pizza to eat as they stumble home. We’re talking super-thin crust, lots of cheese, and lots of grease on slices that require two hands to hold. It's open during the day, too, so you can get a cheap slice whenever the mood strikes.
No-frills neighborhood pizza joint
D’als (as it is lovingly referred to) is a neighborhood favorite, located just south of the crosstown in the heart of Elliotborough Downtown. The menu is filled with unique and creative options for hand-tossed pizzas, calzones, salads, and caljoes (panini sandwich). You can also find its frozen pizzas around town at places like Bull Street Gourmet & Market for a take & bake option. Our favorite: the Chauncinator.
West Ashley & James Island
Traditional and custom pizzas joint perfect for eat-in, delivery, or takeout
If you’re a fan of pizzas with a lot of wacky toppings and flavor combinations, and thicker crust, then Paisano’s is definitely the pizza for you. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Speedy Gonzalez, topped with cheddar cheese, ground beef, jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, and taco seasoning, or the Colbert, with a blue cheese base topped with chicken (grilled or fried), blue cheese crumble, and hot sauce. For a more classic pizza, opt for the Zeus, topped with basil, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
Wood-fired pizzas emphasizing local ingredients
EVO (short for Extra Virgin Oven) is constantly packed with pizza fanatics and die-hard fans of its wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, and baked goods. It's also a bakery, so you can bet that the dough and pizza crust are some of the best you’ll ever have. The best pizza on the menu is the Pork Trifecta (seriously, it’s got a cult following), with red sauce, house-made sausage, pepperoni, bacon, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Upscale pizza spot with creative and seasonal combinations
If you prefer your pizzas on the fancy side, then Crust is where you should go to wet your whistle. Its wood-fired artisan pizzas are made with fresh and local ingredients, and are unlike any other pizza you’ll find in Charleston. Because it sources many of its ingredients locally, it always has a few daily pizza specials, so each trip to Crust can feel like the first time. Our favorite menu standard is the butternut squash pizza with roasted squash, mushrooms, caramelized onion, goat cheese, mozzarella, arugula, and truffle oil.
Simple pizzeria with an old-school diner feel
Located in a pretty desolate part of Dorchester Rd inside a shiny old diner lies the distinctly hidden treasure that is Charleston House of Pizza (aka CHOP). The sauce is a little on the sweeter side, and the pies are loaded with mozzarella & cheddar cheeses. It isn't fancy, and it doesn’t pretend to be. The menu is simple, with only five different specialty pies, including the veggie pizza, which is loaded with peppers, onions, broccoli, olives, and tomatoes that even a carnivore is sure to enjoy.
A mix of classic and creative wood-fired pizzas and Italian fare
Indaco’s wood-fired pizzas are exquisite, with a crust that’s thin, but not too thin, so it’s hearty enough to support the upscale and creative mix of toppings. Favorites include the Brussels sprouts pizza topped with honeycrisp apples, Brussels sprouts, ricotta, dark honey, and pancetta, or the classic Cerignola olives pie with mozzarella, Calabrian chili, basil, parmesan, and olives.
Northern Italian-style pizzas, pastas, and dishes
Located in an unassuming shopping center in Mount Pleasant, La Pizzeria is the definition of a hidden gem. Seriously, if you blink, you might drive right on by. Specializing in Northern Italian-style cuisine, La Pizzeria brings a little taste of Boston’s famed North End to Mount Pleasant. Our favorite is the prosciutto pizza, layered simply with prosciutto, spinach, and Parmigiano cheese.
West Ashley & James Island
Casual pizzeria & brewpub serving deep-dish pies
Famulari’s is a locally owned chain that’s beloved by locals and tourists alike. It’s one of the only places in Charleston that offers a Chicago-style deep dish pizza (for when you have a deep dish appetite), and it really does the Windy City justice. The newest location on James Island is a brewpub, which features a number of Famulari’s house-brewed drafts that pair perfectly with a slice of pizza -- you can also get brunch at the brewpub, with options like fruit-filled calzones, beignets, and deep dish frittatas.
Oven-baked pizzas with custom crust seasonings
Fiore’s in Johns Island offers a number of specialty toppings for its oven-baked pizzas and grinders. But its true claim to fame is the free (and tasty) crust seasonings. Those of you who usually discard the crust for being tasteless should prepare to have your world turned upside-down. Choose from butter, garlic herb, Cajun, cheese, ranch, or sesame, and start treating your crust with the respect it deserves.
Hand-tossed, carry-out-only pizza joint
For a place that only does carry-out pizzas, Luke’s puts a lot of effort into making a quality pie. Owner Luke Davis worked at EVO and Monza before he struck out on his own, and while the shop might be small (the space is only 450sqft, hence carry-out only), the handmade pizzas are big on flavor. You can build your own using one of the handcrafted bases like crushed tomato or creamy ricotta, or try one of the weekly specials advertised on Facebook. Be sure to stop by early, though, as the place closes once it sells out of dough!
Neighborhood spot with wood-fired pizzas and a fully stocked bar
A long day of shopping tends to work up an appetite, and Community Pizza House, which serves creative combinations to satisfy any craving, is conveniently located within the Tanger shopping center in North Charleston. Favorites include the potato & bacon (with roasted garlic oil, smoked provolone, fingerling potato, applewood smoked bacon, sweet onion, and a farm egg), and the chicken & pesto (fresh basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, roasted natural chicken breast, sweet & sour peppers, whipped ricotta, grated Parmesan). And, since pizza tastes best with beer, CPH has a healthy draft and bottles list, full of local and national favorites.
The perfect breakfast pizza Eclectic European-inspired fare, raw bar, pizzas, pastas, and brunch
Obstinate Daughter is known for its fantastic brunch and French, Italian, and Spanish-influenced offerings, but it also had the brilliant idea to serve pizza for breakfast (fact: If you add an egg to anything, it automatically makes it breakfast food). One of our favorites (at breakfast or otherwise) is the Old Danger topped with pancetta, mozzarella, white sauce, farm egg, scallion, black pepper, and Parmesan. It kind of tastes like spaghetti carbonara on pizza.
Wood-fired pizzas and fresh seafood
Sister restaurant to local favorites Langdon’s and Opal, Wood & Grain premiered in the Shelmore Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant earlier this year to a fully packed dining room, and hasn’t slowed down since then. With only eight pizzas on the menu, the offerings are simple but packed with flavor; chef Patrick Owens has a flair for marrying atmosphere and taste, and his pies are just as beautiful to look at as they are to eat. We recommend the Salsiccia pizza, which comes topped with tomato, fennel sausage, garlicky greens, and ricotta.
Wood-fired pizzas served from a food truck
One of the newest ventures to hit the Charleston culinary scene is the Dough Boyz food truck, which was quick to establish its pies as some of the greatest in the Holy City. When one of its chefs studied at ALMA in Italy and under Mario Batali, you expect great things, and Dough Boyz definitely does not disappoint; you can find them slinging pies at pop-ups at various bars and restaurants in Charleston, including Bar Mash, Elliotborough Mini Bar, and Cooper River Brewing. The menu varies but has been known to features wild creations -- like a paella pizza with house-made chorizo, clams, mussels, shrimp, and saffron aioli -- alongside more traditional offerings, like margherita.
Casual kitchen making Neapolitan-style pies
The team at GlowFisch Hospitality had already successfully cracked the code to burgers and sandwiches in Charleston at their other popular restaurants, Five Loaves and Sesame Burger, so they decided to take their talent to the pizza oven. Ember combines “Neapolitan style pizza and California inspiration” at their Belle Hall restaurant, offering a number of wood-fired options, like sandwiches, veggies, and (of course) pizza. Be sure to save room for dessert when you visit Ember, because the Nutella S’mores Pizza (with toasted marshmallows, almonds, caramel sauce, and powdered sugar) is no joke.
Laid-back Italian restaurant doing pizza and handmade pasta
Any concept that took over the old Butcher & Bee space was likely to face some harsh criticism, but Juliet has premiered with the rare and coveted 5-star status on Yelp. The pizzas are hand-tossed, with just the perfect amount of Neapolitan-style char on the crust. Each of the eight pies is perfectly crafted, like a piece of art -- our favorite is the Prosciutto & Arugula, which is topped with burrata for a harmonious balance of textures and flavors.
Super-casual slice joint and bar
If you’ve ever been in the mood for a slice of pizza as long as your torso, Benny Palmetto’s is the place to satisfy such a craving. The New York-style slices here are a whopping 14-inches long (longer than some human babies), and require two paper plates side-by-side in order to fit. In addition to its massive slices, Benny Palmetto’s also offers whole 28-inch pies for when you need to feed a small army, with all the usual toppings. Pair that with $1 PBRs all day, every day, and you’ve found pizza paradise.