If you’re not looking for a fight, the only correct answer to that question is the one you’re eating now. Pizza is perhaps the most emotionally charged food of the American palate. Ask a hundred people and you might get a hundred different passionate answers on the styles, toppings, regions, parlors and memories that make their favorite pizzas. TABLE contributor Dan Gigler’s ride-or-die is Mineo’s, whose John’s Special (extra-well-done) he’s eaten about once a month for the last 32 years. That said, here are his eight How to Pittsburgh recommendations, culled from a canyon-deep field of worthwhile contenders.

The Best Pizza in Pittsburgh

Alberta’s

North Side

Beau Mittall’s outstanding pizza truck (named for his deceased mother) will soon have a brick-and-mortar home with a wine bar on the North Side. There are plenty of flavor combinations for his excellent Neapolitan pies, but I love Legalize Marinana: gorgeous charred crust, topped simply with a brilliant red, zippy tomato sauce, green leaves of fresh basil, and a galaxy of garlic and oregano. This is pizza in its most elemental and delicious form.

Badamo’s

Dormont and North Side

My platonic ideal of a Sicilian pie: dense and delicious without feeling like you’re eating a mozzarella-covered mattress. Their flagship shop recently moved into a new forever home in the former space of South Hills icon Don Campiti’s, in addition to their North Side outpost.

Colangelo’s

207 21st St, Strip District

As unfussy as it comes: rectangular slices served out of a glass case at this shoebox-sized Strip District bakery and café have a light, flaky almost buttery and completely unique crust reminiscent of the savory pastries they specialize in.

Della Terra

100 North Main St, Zelienople

Fiore Moletz learned and honed his craft of Neapolitan pizza making under the luminary Ron Molinaro at Mt. Lebanon’s Il Pizzaiolo (which is outstanding in its own right) and the student does his teacher proud with pies like the ‘Nduja with red sauce, roasted shallots, fresh mozzarella, parmesan and its namesake spicy Calabrian sausage spread.

A rustic spread of charred mushroom flatbreads garnished with fresh herbs, chili oil, and a dusting of cheese, with hands reaching to sprinkle more toppings.

Pizza from Della Terra

Driftwood Oven

3615 Butler St, Lawrenceville

The sourdough crust is the rightful star and earned Neil Blazin and crew James Beard recognition, but I love the commitment to Roman-style pizza: a thicker focaccia-esque crust. Try A Mason’s Best Friend with mortadella, spicy pickled peppers, herbed ricotta, mozzarella, fresh garlic, and a drizzle of marinara. Along with stalwart Piccolo Forno and upstart Pizza Lupo, the trio help Lawrenceville match the Strip District as Pittsburgh’s best pizza neighborhood.

Iron Born

Strip District and Millvale

Call it rust-belt admiration: Classically-trained Chef Pete Tolman brought the Steel City the best of the Motor City with his Detroit-style pizzas that became an instant sensation upon opening in 2017. Last year his protege Sara Boyer was a winner at the Las Vegas Pizza Expo with the Vegas Pie now available at Iron Born: triple-smoked Slovenian sausage, smoked mushrooms, garlic cream, and black pepper parmesan crisps.

Pizzeria Davide

2551 Penn Ave, Strip District

Some flavors make you sit up straight and snap to attention because they’re so good together. That was my reaction the first time I had the Old-World Style Lebanon sweet bologna and cherry pepper relish pizza. The experience has repeated every time since.

Rockaway Pizzeria

1949 Lincoln Way, White Oak

An Ahab-esque obsession with creating the perfect New York slice was the impetus for Josh Sickels’s now nationally renowned pizzeria (spoiler alert: he did), but give me the one-time professional drummer’s absolutely note-perfect grandma pie with sesame seeds on the bottom of a crackling thin-crust pan pizza with fresh mozzarella, San Marzano sauce, garlic, basil and olive oil.

Story by Dan Gigler / Styling by Keith Recker / Photography by Laura Petrilla

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