THICK AND STURDY (DEEP DISH, ROMAN-STYLE, ETC.)
Windy City Pie was the best deep dish in town—until it spun off this destination for sourdough-crust pies inside Beacon Hill’s Clock-Out Lounge. It’s all that crisped cheese goodness, now with a saltier, slightly tangy crust, a style that hovers somewhere between Chicago and Detroit. The Pepperoni Paint Job, with its dual layers of meat, is a great introduction, but the experimental specials, like slices inspired by quiche or everything bagels, are bizarre and wonderful.
The project of Delancey co-owner and pizzaiolo Brandon Pettit—a pizza scholar who knows the importance of wet dough and dry ovens—Dino’s is an intentionally crafted dive at the Capitol Hill epicenter of Denny and Olive, whose deep booths and long bar pay homage to the pizza taverns of Pettit’s native Jersey. Also its pizza: Sicilian thick-crusted squares with bright sauce, first-rate toppings (Zoe’s bacon, aged mozzarella, extraordinary Grana Padano), and a high quotient of char. Done well, char will caramelize the sugars in the crust and lend a transporting complexity; too well done, it will blacken the crust to ash. Both have been known to transpire here at Dino’s. Thin crust pizzas, salads, and cocktails too.
Why yes, an aging strip mall in the Newport Hills part of Bellevue is home to a legit pizzeria, where oblong Roman-style pies arrive at your booth or long table on a personal sheet pan. Crusts have admirable chew, and toppings update classic parlor combos with high quality meat. Even better, Resonate brews its own beer, an accessible spectrum from kolsch to imperial coffee stout, plus a gaggle of IPAs. Bring a laptop, a baby, or your work team to take advantage of the lunch specials.
Renee Erickson has transplanted Rome’s culture of sturdy, streetside pizza into the undercarriage of the Amazon Spheres. Though this crescent-shaped space layered with mod light fixtures, plush circular leather booths, and liberal doses of pink is more Jetsons chic than Campo de Fiori. Willmott’s Ghost doles out square slices, with crust a beat removed from really good bread and restrained Roman topping combos heavy on seasonal produce. Let bread be your north star, guiding you to pizza of course, but also a porchetta sandwich on a perfect crusty rosetta roll, and focaccia to make you forget every bland version you’ve ever had before. Willmott’s riffs on Italy’s typical menu format—starters, sides, the pasta-heavy primi course, and meatier secondi—subbing pizza in place of pasta. Though authenticity quibbles seem silly when they happen beneath an artificially engineered jungle in Seattle’s urban core.
It’s the halo of crisp cheese that makes this Chicago-style pizza worth the advance online order (no longer necessary at the new Phinney Ridge quarters, but still highly advisable). Deep dish is often a gut bomb, but owner Dave Lichterman layers flavors with thought—a lighter, briochelike crust, just enough cheese to mean business, a surface of tangy tomato sauce. Request mushrooms and olives on a meaty pie, and he’ll politely suggest these add-ons will mess with his moisture and salt ratios, not to mention the very specific conditions necessary to turn slices of mozzarella layered around the sides of the pan into a fortifying wall of mahogany burnt cheese. The bar area’s already proving a popular destination for a drink and a slice, but the remainder of the dining room is all ages—a nice change from the no-minors restriction of the Batch 206 days.
THIN AND/OR FOLDABLE (FROM HARDCORE NAPLES TO NYC)
Lucky Beacon Hill, that one of the town’s most emphatically destination-worthy pizzerias occupies a vintage storefront in the heart of the neighborhood. The place bubbles, from the sheer crush of devotees inside its tidy, clean-lined quarters to its wood-fired pizza crusts—crispy and flavorful like Neapolitan with a little more tooth to the chew. These pies are the province of master pizzaiolo Jerry Corso, who delivers a short list of Italian regional antipasti, seasonal salads, and terrific Italian desserts. As for drinks, there’s wine, beer, and cocktails—those skew Italian, too. Though the most Italian thing in the place might be its back patio on which one sips an Aperol spritz in the sunshine.
The New York–style pizzeria slings slices and 18-inch pies seven days a week. And, hello munchies, it’s open until 2am every night of the week on Capitol Hill. Other perks: A full bar and a takeaway window. Other other perks: carbo-loading for the post-drinking masses.
Hitchcock’s weekly pizza popup has morphed into its own restaurant on Bainbridge’s Winslow Way. Flour, cheese, tomatoes, and technique hew to Naples tradition, but toppings take some cues from Hitchcock Deli’s hearty sandwiches—bursting with whatever’s in season, and often finished with paper-thin ribbons of cured, fatty flesh of owner Brendan McGill’s own Mangalitsa hogs.
The neighborhood’s go-to pizza parlor brings the basic thin-crust pizza of our youth into twenty-first century Seattle with combos like the Kale-Zer Soze, which tops bechamel sauce with bacon, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and slivers of the city’s favorite fibrous green. The menu devotes an entire section to vegetarian combos like the Morrissey (roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, olives, and pomodoro sauce, sans cheese) plus the standard 12- and 18-inch pies topped with various combos of meatball, pepperoni, and housemade sausage. Central Pizza retains the weird layout of its past life as All-Purpose Pizza, welcomes kids by day, then morphs into more of a bar vibe by night. Both constituencies appreciate the handful of pizzas sold by the enormous slice.
This Phinney Ridge spot, care of brothers Andrew and Giancarlo Martino, doles out legit pizze napoletane. Fresh out the wood-fired brick oven comes rounds of thin pies with the exact right amount of char and toppings like salame piccante, prosciutto di Parma, and smoked mozzarella. The Vongole pizza bears local oven-roasted clams, a wealth of garlic, and a healthy glug of olive oil. And don’t sleep on the Mezza Luna Nutella, a half moon of sweet pastry dough brimming with hazelnut spread that takes a spin in the oven before landing table side—insides all melty, outer crust nice and crisp.
This Ballard haunt has been open for nearly a decade, and still people wait upwards of an hour for simple combos of carefully sourced, often seasonal toppings on char-bubbled crusts. While Delancey’s name and pizza style nod to New York, chef Brandon Pettit’s pillowy-crackly crusted pie with untempered tomato brightness and pairings of Zoe’s bacon, cremini mushrooms, basil, have become a Seattle institution. Impeccable seasonal salads and those bittersweet chocolate chip cookies dusted with gray salt only seal the deal.
Deep in the heart of familyville, old-school pizza tossers prep fire-bubbled pies with genuine ambition. Local faves like Zoe’s meats and Mama Lil’s adorn the sort of thin-crusted pizza guaranteed to please the crowds. More adventurous pies are up and down (don’t knock the baked potato–themed version until you try it) but vegetarians have some solid options, and the kitchen does gluten-free crust and even a vegan cheese. Slammed and shiny, Elemental can fall down on service when the hordes descend, but it rebounds with a solid happy hour menu.
Not even the Space Needle delivers a stiffer shot of Seattle than an organic pizza joint, hand built of recycled materials by its LEED-certified architect owner—he even made the stools. Humble Pie smokes its own GMO-free pulled pork, imports just five ingredients from out of state, processes its own rainwater, and maintains a chicken coop. Snicker at your own peril, for these are killer, wood-fired pizza crusts, thin but with plenty of spring in the chew, topped with combos like organic Fuji apples, Beecher’s Flagship cheese, and bacon or smoked eggplant with cherry tomatoes and red onions. Mostly outdoor seating makes this a mostly-in-summer place, but bevs (boutique brews, rotating ciders) and the neighborhood vibe are irresistible even if you have to cram into the tiny building.
The Independent Pizzeria, founded by one Tom Siegel and now in the hands of former apprentice Joe Heffernan, took over the lake-facing space that held Impromptu Wine Bar Cafe years back. The small spot has beer and root beer on tap, but the star is the thin curst wood-fired pizza available for dining in or carrying out.
No-nonsense thin crust pizzas from the wood oven, a small list of thoughtful sides (could be a beautiful seasonal salad, could be hearty pozole), and a top-notch draft list that leans more European than hophead. Lower Queen Anne needs more casually grownup spaces like the Masonry, but for now that blessing goes to Fremont, where the Masonry opened a second spot housing a few more taps of craft beers and just as many satisfying pizzas, all of which can be had on the expansive front deck until late.
This neighborly tavern in Fremont is an ode to the big games and even bigger cuisine of the upper Midwest. Homesick Wisconsinites order bottles of Leinenkugel, Minnesota Vikings and Michigan paraphernalia cover the walls, and five large TVs show constant sports and the occasional rom com (even those are usually at least set in Chicago). The menu bolsters bar food standards with regional favorites like bouja and tater tot hotdish, and everything’s made with way more care than you’d expect to see in a low-key bar. The pizza skews a little more Neapolitan—the Italian wood-fired oven is a souvenir from the space’s previous identity and does better with that type of dough—but the large groups that descend upon square-cut slices while watching basketball don’t seem to mind.
Verifiable Neapolitan pizza with the credentials to prove it, this West Seattle pizzeria on Admiral is ultralegit. See, owner Cary Kemp learned the ways of pizza napoletana on Via Tribunali in Naples before launching the local chainlet of Via Tribunalis in Seattle circa 2004. Then the pizzaiolo opened this Admiral District joint in 2011 and has been sating the neighborhood with hot pies topped with the likes of buffalo milk mozzarella, sweet Italian sausage, and, for a couple of bucks, you can put an egg on it. Something wholly American though: wood-fired s’mores with melted chocolate and marshmallows bubbly and golden brown from the oven’s flames.
We’re pretty sure the soul of White Center emanates directly from the busy ovens of Proletariat Pizza, where the young Albaeck family labors to feed the masses simply spectacular pizza. Self-taught, they figured out the basics of thin crusts—puffed and golden and bursting with flavor—and pristine ingredients, from the organic over-easy eggs and prosciutto and meadow of fresh arugula on the ham and egg pie to the anchovies and ricotta and milky mozzarella on the anchovy. “Nothing that we use contains…anything we don’t feel good about putting in our bodies,” the menu reads. “Except Spam.” Taken together with the U.S. Army Medical Department dishes, the utterly sterile interior decor, the toe-curling homemade tiramisu for dessert, and the coalition of families eating it all up, well…soul of White Center indeed.
Time was, 20-plus years ago, you had to trek to Filiberto’s in outer Burien to find pizza made the way it was meant to be made: thin crusted and barely scorched in a wood-fired brick oven built by Neapolitan masons. Now, many burn wood, but none to better effect than the cozy Tutta Bella, a cornerstone of Columbia City’s renaissance. The toppings show zealous attention to proportion, quality, and authenticity, from real San Marzano tomatoes in the sauce to a seasonal wild mushroom special heavy with funghi. Salads and desserts are the only extras; the shaved fennel in the insalata di Salerno is an especially nice home-country touch. Newer outposts in Wallingford, South Lake Union, Bellevue, and Issaquah spread the love—if not the warm, old-brick atmosphere.
EVERYTHING (GREAT) IN-BETWEEN
Over the past decade, they’ve added locations in Maple Leaf and Georgetown, but the pizzeria’s original outpost in Seward Park is the origin story of this pizza hangout with a love of old-school mixtape cassettes. It offers a few tables in shiny, crisply appointed spaces and stellar pies, along with salads and apps and ice creams. But Flying Squirrel is all about artisan toppings—cured meats from Salumi, chicken from Roy’s BBQ, Maytag blue cheese, and locally grown produce—on chewy, sinking crusts bound up with tangy tomato sauce.
If the family owners at this First Hill pie shop don’t know your name on your first visit, they will by your third. And there will be a third, for their Jersey-style pies feature golden, perfect crusts crackling with heft and bursting with flavor. Of course such hifalutin descriptors are all wrong for pizza this down to earth; order a white pie (built on ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella) or bright tomato pie, with choices of toppings, to the strains of good old ’70s rock. Checkered tablecloths, family photos, and cheap price tags dial up the sense of community. Hint: The large pie means it.
The go-to in this town since 1979 for delivery pizza, now in neighborhoods from Kirkland to West Seattle, Shoreline to Capitol Hill (see their website for an up-to-date list of locations). Crusts are bready and serviceable, and best as platforms for some inspired combos. Classicists like the AGOG (roasted garlic, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and goat cheese, along with mushrooms, mozzarella, and fontina) but gourmands like to try seasonal specials, like autumn’s inimitable gorgonzola pear pizza. These folks employ such a sophisticated call-in system they greet you by name before you’ve even given it to them.
Tom Douglas’s duo of pizza places hold shared plank tables, with enormous granite ovens for the serious business at hand: rustic applewood-smoky pizza crusts with blistery crackle and satisfying chew topped with seasonal harvests, like Yukon Gold potatoes with rosemary or Penn Cove clams with pancetta and lemon thyme. Short lists of vegetal starters and memorable finales round out the brief menu. At the Westlake branch, breakfast means swoonworthy biscuit sandwiches stuffed with fried chicken or truffles frittata or bananas and honey with housemade peanut butter.
In some ways, Sizzle Pie’s decision to open an outpost in the last gritty vestiges of Capitol Hill is almost comically obvious. The Portland pizza outfit’s locations on either side of the Willamette River fuse punk and metalhead sensibilities with a deep respect for dietary restrictions (pies have names like Universal Order of Parmageddon and Vegan Angel of Doom). Cofounder Mikey McKennedy grew up in Olympia and since high school frequented nearby venues like Neumos and the Comet. His business partner Matt Jacobson owns a heavy metal record label. Their joints are fueled by cocktails, local beer, and loud music; like much of Capitol Hill, they keep going until 3 or 4am.
Lark’s original home on 12th Ave is now a casual pizza tavern, serving John Sundstrom’s interpretation of pizza: sturdy wood-fired crusts somehow both chewy and crunchy, topped with cool seasonal combos like chickpea pesto and feta, or padrone peppers, chorizo, and cotija. Pies skew vegetarian, but meat lovers get to choose from the add-on menu, which goes way beyond the traditional salami and sausage with toppings like crispy chicken skins, oxtail, and spicy nduja. There’s a kids menu and some pies come by the slice. Come for the pizza and soft serve, stay for the karaoke night.
If you thought the complex magic of “everything” seasoning was only for bagels, you haven’t met the crunchy edges of a pastrami pizza, piping hot from the vintage deck oven inside South Town Pie. At this South Park joint, a classic deli sandwich comes in the form of a thin-crust pie: gruyere fondue instead of sauce, with caramelized onions, cubes of pastrami meat, and sweet crinkle-cut coins of dill pickles.
Ma‘ono chef Mark Fuller’s a lot more fun since he pivoted away from Spring Hill’s fine dining expectations. So is his food. What his pizza bars on California Ave and the Ave lack in proper plates or utensils, or napkins not from a dispenser, they make up for with gonzo pizzas, fun frozen drinks, and a blaring soundtrack seemingly lifted from some illicit teen house party on an old WB show. The lineup of white- and red-sauced pies start in familiar Americana territory, like the double pep with ample curled-edge pepperoni, and get ever bolder. One of the best sports bits of Ma‘ono’s famed fried chicken, kimchi, and slices of American cheese. They all come on a crust that hints at Fuller’s culinary cred (and that of his lieutenant, Cam Hanin), and that finesse bobs up again in seemingly retro side dishes like wings, a Caesar, and the cult favorite garlic knots.
This comfortably worn vegetarian pizza bar fits in surprisingly well in Chinatown, with slices and pies that pair utilitarian crusts with clever topping combos. The signature rosemary-potato-gorgonzola pizza migrated from the original Belltown location, as did the plate-sized chocolate chip cookies.