Portland's gone through a bit of a pizza renaissance recently, which means that whatever you're looking for -- from classic wood-fired pies, to hip-hop fueled pizza pop-ups -- Stumptown's got a 'za option for you. It also means picking PDX's best pizza is almost impossible, unless some sweet men's lifestyle site went and did it for you. Oh, wait...
The 11 best pizzas in Portland, ranked
11. Old Town Pizza
What you're getting: A pint of Cent's & Centsibility and the House Special -- a combination of three meats and veggies they've been making since 1974.
In addition to turning out gold medal winning beers on the reg -- and delivering said beers all over the city by bike -- this old-school spot slings pies (and slices after 9pm) with a fluffy, almost sourdough-like, crust that they get by constantly making fresh dough, ensuring the yeast is still alive when it’s baked. Oh, and they do it all in a building that's supposedly haunted.
What you're getting: A slice of whatever looks good
Despite the decor barely changing in the last 30 years, the city's first slice spot is still going strong, mostly because the pizza hasn't changed either: it's still thin, gloriously gooey, and topped with high-quality but hardly exotic ingredients (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, etc.), plus it's incredibly consistent.
What you're getting: John Stamos vs. the entire Comanche nation, which comes with Alfredo, bacon, artichokes & parsley
It's hard to decide what's best about this brick-clad pie spot: the fact that delivery runs from 11am to at least 3am (4am Thursday through Saturday!); their sense of humor (they have a GeoCities-style website dominate by floating slices); or their whimsically named pies, including a Middle Eastern one named after Brigitte Nielsen, which presumably has a lot of Flavor (Flav).
Baby Doll Pizza
What you're getting: The bacon, mushroom, date, garlic & walnut
Posted-up on a stretch of Stark St that's more popular for its dive bars than quality pizza, BD still manages to turn out a sweet slice with bubbly cheese and a thin, but foldable, crust that's chewy, but not bready.
What are you getting: Whatever they're making
It's not a restaurant. It’s a chef’s celebration of his favorite food via an ever changing, one-day-a-week pop-up. You can go and eat delicious, if a little fancy, pizza while hip-hop blares and general goofiness abounds. We’ve mentioned it before, and if you haven't been there yet, it's time to go spend some of your cash (rules everything around me) on whatever 'za they're cooking up.
What you're getting: The Vongole Bianco w/ clams, Mama Lil’s peppers, oregano, garlic, smoked provolone, mozzarella & gremolata
Neapolitan pizza from six-time James Beard Award finalist Cathy Whims sounds fussy, but there’s nothing overwrought about the rustic combinations she dreams up to complement her beautiful crust. Just don’t expect to get it sliced. That’s not how they do it in Naples.
What you're getting: Zoe's soppressata w/ fresh mozzarella & chili flake
Much like Nostrana, Firehouse is a full-service Italian restaurant that also happens to specialize in Neapolitan pizza. The difference is that it’s tucked away in the nether region of Northeast Portland, but don't worry, the trek will make what might be the city's best brick-oven-baked pies taste even better.
4. Life of Pie
What you're getting: CHOP spicy salami w/ Mama Lil's peppers, goat cheese & honey
A relative newcomer to the wood-fired pizza craze that has gripped Portland, Life of Pie has quickly become a mainstay thanks to a crust that is perfectly charred, but still chewy, and always topped with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Or maybe because of their seven hour happy hour.
What you're getting: The Fennel Sausage, with braising greens & rosemary
This quirky Mississippi pizzeria serves chewy, slightly charred wonders topped with seasonal ingredients ranging from sweet corn to squash... plus normal stuff like salami and sausage. Luckily, at 12in apiece, you and a crew can crush several in a sitting. As long as you leave room for their homemade ice cream.
What your'e getting: The Soppressata with spicy basil
KAP's thin-in-the-middle, thick-on-the-outside masterpieces are topped with high-end meats (like soppressata, prosciutto, fennel sausage, etc.), tangy sauces, and the freshest cheeses imaginable. Thanks to their ultra-hot oven they are finished in about two minutes, which means after dinner you can rush home and proudly tell your girlfriend you aren't the only one.
What you're getting: The Sausage & Mama
Probably PDX's most popular pizza -- just look at that line! -- Apizza's got a lot of rules, including a limit on toppings and a policy that say if they run out of dough, you're SOL. But really, they could tell you to do anything they wanted and you'd obey just to get some of that perfectly chewy, ciabatta-bouncy (but somehow still thin) crust, topped with... um, not that many ingredients, obviously.
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1. Old Town Pizza226 NW Davis St, Portland
2. Escape From New York Pizza622 NW 23rd Ave, Portland
3. Lonesome's Pizza350 W Burnside St, Portland
4. Baby Doll Pizza2835 SE Stark St, Portland
5. Nostrana1401 SE Morrison St, Portland
6. firehouse restaurant, portland711 NE Dekum St, Portland
7. Life of Pie3632 N Williams Ave, Portland
8. Lovely's Fifty Fifty4039 N Mississippi Ave, Portland
9. Ken's Artisan Pizza304 SE 28th Ave, Portland
10. Apizza Scholls4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
In addition to turning out gold medal winning beers on the regular and delivering said beers all over the city by bike, this pizzeria slash brewery makes its own pizza dough, ensuring the yeast is still alive when it’s baked. What results is a delicious fluffy, almost sourdough-like, crust. Oh, and they do it all in a building that's allegedly haunted. How very Portlandia.
Despite the decor barely changing in the last three decades, the city's first slice spot is still going strong. The pizza hasn't changed much in those thirty years either: it's still thin, gloriously gooey, topped with high-quality but hardly exotic ingredients (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, etc.), and incredibly consistent.
It's hard to decide what's best about this brick-walled pizzeria. Maybe its that their delivery runs from 11am to at least three in the morning (4am Thursday through Saturday!) or maybe it's their always changing, whimsically named pies of the week. Friendly service and funky decor added bonuses when dining in.
Posted-up on a stretch of Stark St that's more popular for its dive bars than quality pizza, Baby Doll Pizza still manages to turn out a sweet slice with bubbly cheese and a thin, but foldable, crust that's chewy, but not bready. It offers gluten-free and vegan options, and grandma pizza overloaded with the kind of tiny pepperoni that curls up into crispy grease-Jacuzzis when hit with heat. And it’s perfect, as are all of grandma’s recipes.
Nostrana is an Italian restaurant in residential South East Portland that features classic Italian food made with simple ingredients from long-standing recipes. It's also a quality spot for their wine list, dessert menu, and special happy hour deals. Plus, it's the birthplace of the Negroni Social, an industry costumed gala, which inspired the creation of Negroni Week, Nostrana is Portland’s capital of the negroni.
Much like Nostrana, Firehouse is a full service Italian restaurant that also happens to specialize in Neapolitan pizza. It’s tucked away into the nethers of northeast Portland, but don't worry: the trek will make what might be the city's best brick-oven baked pies taste even better.
Life of Pie could easily take the, uh, cake, for NoPo’s go-to pizza joint: the sauce is tangy and sweet, crust appropriately charred and chewy.
This quirky pizza spot makes beautiful, artisan pies (purslane with calabrian chilies, garlic, capers & lemon, anyone?) with organic and locally sourced ingredients.
KAP in Southeast Portland serves thin-in-the-middle, thick-on-the-outside masterpieces topped with high-end meats (like soppressata, prosciutto, fennel sausage, etc.), tangy sauces, and the freshest cheeses imaginable. Ken Forkish wrote the book on pizza. (No, for real. It’s called Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza.) With locally sourced ingredients fired up in the rustic pizzeria’s centerpiece wood-powered oven, each pie packs an explosion of flavor. Whatever you order, drop an extra $2 for a pile of fresh arugula up top— the nutty, bitter, salt-sprinkled greens transport the simple pie into a complex flavor symphony.
This Hawthorne pizza shop is so focused on making you the perfect pie that if they run out of dough, they'll close early if they have to, to preserve the quality of their ingredients. Serving up quality pies rooted in Neapolitan tradition, Apizza goes heavy on the cheese, generous with the sauce, and hearty on the toppings.