This is the first of many Top 5 ½ columns to be written focused on restaurants, cookbooks and food – wherever my culinary curiosity will take me. You are asking why five and a half? The half is for honorable mention but just shy of making the top five.
I have culled on line review sites, polled Twitter and Facebook fans to come up with the hot pizza joints in Baltimore. Like crab cakes, pasta sauces or sushi houses, everyone has a favorite for a multiple of reasons. If I left off your favorite let us know in the comment section and why they are your favorites.
Whether you fold your slice or eat it flat, whether you like thin crust or thick, New York style, pan, Neapolitan, brick oven – there is a pizza for every taste
My listings are in alphabetical order and no way reflect a ranking.
1415 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21231
Hours: Sun 5 p.m.to10 p.m., Mon-Tues 11:30 a.m.to 10 p.m., Wed-Thur 11:30 a.m.to 11p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Pricing: $10.95 – $14.95
Film-stage actor and partner in Chazz: A Bronx Original Chazz Palminteri, with the help of restaurateurs Sergio and Alessandro Vitale, has recreated the pizzas of his youth from his Italian American neighborhood in Bronx. The searing hot custom-made coal oven reaches up to 1000 degrees for that extra crispy, slightly charred and bubbled crust. Choose from eleven options from Burrata Margherita with San Marzano tomato/basil/extra virgin olive oil/hand-formed fresh burrata mozzarella to Chazz’s renowned veal meatball that tops the New York style classic cheese pizza. Gluten intolerant, Chazz has options for you. Grab a seat at the pizza oven counter to watch pizzas being made and idea photo ops.
818 North Calvert Street #1, Baltimore, MD 21202
Hours: Wed-Sat 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pricing: $ 9.50 – $16.95
Not only one of Baltimore’s top pizza emporiums but just this June the Zagat Survey for best pizza in the US came out and they were in the top ten. Iggie’s is casual; come to the counter to pick up your pizza, BYOB with no corkage fee and enjoy the thin crusted Neopolitan style pizza. Using Italian ‘00’ flour, bottle water in the dough and 100% D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes in their ragu you will be singing O Sole O Mio by the time you leave. Eat in, take out or take and bake it in your own oven. Iggie’s goes beyond the typical pepperoni or cheese pizza with offerings like Anatra Arrosto – roasted duck/tomato/black olives/mozzarella or Cipolla – red onion confit/mozzarella/pancetta/ricotta.
3A. Joe Squared –Station North
133 West North , Baltimore, MD 21201
Hours: Sun-Mon 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Tues-Sat 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
3B. Joe Squared-Inner Harbor
Power Plant Live
30 Market Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
Hours: Sun-Mon 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tues-Wed 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thur 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Build your own thin crusted square pizza with numerous toppings and optional herb dough or choose from a number of their signature pizzas. The Flag Pizza, recognized by The Food Network Magazine as one of the best pizzas in the nation is topped in thirds with red sauce with mozzarella/provolone/Romano/Parmigiano/Asiago; white sauce with mozzarella/cheddar/ricotta; and pesto sauce with the fresh mozzarella. Pizzas are served on a screen like tray to keep the dough nice and crisp. Mid-week on you will find live music at both locations.
4. Matthew’s Pizza
3131 Eastern Avenue Baltimore, Maryland 21224
Hours: Mon-Thur 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Pricing: $9 – $13
Accolades continually pour in on Matthew’s Pizza which established itself in the Highlandtown neighborhood back in 1943. A change of pace from the thin crust, Matthew’s baked pan pizzas are 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. A do not miss is their Crab Pie which holds awards of its own. Matthew’s was recognized by USA Today as one of fifty one great pizza parlors in the United States. Eat in or carry out.
5. Verde Pizza Napoletana
641 South Montford Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224
Hours: Tues – Thur 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fri Dinner 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sat 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pricing: $7 – $17
Scoring big kudos by their guests, Verde Pizza Napoletana is hitting the mark in their recently renovated corner row house in Canton. The late summer opening restaurant features the thin crusted Neapolitan style pizza with a lightly smoked flavor form their wood burning pizza oven. Heavy on the Italian imports as well as local resourcing offers up pizzas under two categories; pizze rossa with choices like Bufalina, Arrabbiata, Prosciutto di Parma or pizze bianche with selections like Pistacchio e Salsiccia, Quarttro Formaggio, Sorrentina. For the non-city dwellers parking is easy with reasonable weekend valet parking.
And the ½ – Honorable Mention
5.5 Bagby Pizza
1006 Fleet Street, Baltimore Maryland 21202
Hours: Mon-Wed 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thur 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pricing: $9.99 – $16.99
Not quite Little Italy and not quite Harbor East, Bagby Pizza offers up a fine selection of brick oven pizzas. Offering dine in, carry out and limited delivery service Bagby ‘s soon became a favorite after opening . Individual slices are available for sale on cheese or pepperoni pizzas. Build your own or choose from a large selection of not only Italian and regional toppings like Tennessee Honey Chicken or Southwestern Skirt Steak pizzas.
For Dara Bunjon if it is food, Dara Does It, in fact, that is the name of her company which offers creative solutions for the food industry the likes of public relations, marketing, social media, cookbook compilations, food styling, culinary events, networking and freelance writing. You will now find Dara applying her broad range of culinary skills as a food stylist for television chefs/cookbook authors the likes of Steven Raichlen, Sara Moulton, Nick Malgieri, and Nathalie Dupree. Dara Bunjon lives, eats, dreams and writes about food and isn’t hesitant to share her views and experiences about restaurants, culinary trends, recipes, cookbooks or even her childhood food memories. She has been on the food scene for too many years to mention. Known both in Baltimore and nationally, Dara Bunjon is a former member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs’ national public relations committee.
In the past, she has written for Style Magazine, Foodservice Monthly, Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Digest, Urbanite and other sundry publications. Since 2004 she has maintained an award-winning food-related blog called Dining Dish. She co-authored her first cookbook Yum! Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats in association with Studio Spear. And has written Baltimore restaurant reviews for Gayot.com
Dara believes food is subjective; everyone’s taste is different and she enjoys bringing you to her table to commiserate and enjoy lively discourse.
Considered one of Baltimore’s food influencers, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @daracooks.