I know just the very concept of stating the best of anything is to step on a lot of toes. So, suffice it to say I will offer the same disclaimer: this is my opinion and I am not stating it as an objective fact. I know that with pizza things can take on almost a religious-like perspective – I don’t want to trigger any pizza rage! If your favorite pizza isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean I dislike it, it’s just that this is what I prefer. Perhaps, I’ve never even had it!
Which brings up the point of this article: by sharing my favorites, I may turn you on to something you’ve never had and you’ll share your difference of opinion and bring to light something that I have never tasted. So, that means everyone gets pizza. What’s wrong with that?
The first mention of each restaurant’s name under its title is a link that will take you to more information on that particular establishment in case you are salivating and you’re body is ready. By all means, let us know who you prefer if they differ! Here are mine in no particular order:
Brick Pizzeria Napoletana
Brick Pizzeria at 163 Union Street, New Bedford and 213 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven brought class to pizza. By showcasing the Neapolitan style pizza they also brought a refreshing change to what everyone else was doing. Typically what was in the region was a thicker crusted pizza cooked in an industry oven or Brooklyn style. Nothing wrong with those at all, but the change here was certainly welcome!
By cooking the pizza in higher temperatures and in a old world brick oven they returned to the way things were done and paid homage to the fundamental of every great pizza: the crust. The speed with which the pizza cooks is astounding and creates a crust that no one in the area can match in my opinion. The soft, thinner than usual style crust has the tiniest layer of crisp on it providing a texture that no one else can. The proper amount of char contributes to the overall flavor profile.
The speed is also something very welcome for those who want pizza for lunch, don’t want delivery, but don’t have much time.
Brick offers a score of “white” (without tomato sauce) and “red” style pizzas, in addition to brick-oven fired flatbread pizza sandwiches, starters, salads and desserts. All the classic style pizzas are represented – you’ll find the Margherita, marinara, pepperoni, and others, but also lesser known ones like the Capricciosa: prosciutto, artichoke, olives, goat cheese, the Puttanesca: anchovy, capers, red onion, olives, my personal favorite, the Salumi E Funghi: hot salami, mushrooms. Pizzas are between $6.99-$12.99. Full menu can be seen here.
Yia-Yia’s Pizza Cafe
Yia-Yia’s is probably the best kept secret on this whole list. Well, not a secret at all, but incredibly obvious if you live on “the Neck.” About halfway between the top of the Neck and Wilbur’s Point, this little pizza shop that could, and could, and could has been producing some of the best pizza on planet earth, I kid you not.
For those who don’t know, Yia-Yia is Greek for “grandma” and the term is an apt one that describes this family operated business churning out mouth pizza, Gyros, salads, subs, dinners, and even desserts. If Yia-Yias only made a plain pizza, they’d be on your favorite list – it’s that good. However, they do offer a large variety of pizza types, many of which I haven’t seen elsewhere. All the standards and slightly not standard are offered, the Margherita, Buffalo Chicken, Steak Abriata, Meat Lovers, Philly Steak, etc.
If you are the type that likes to try new things, you’re going to have your socks blown off, or…er…your Toga blown off with pizzas like the Jamaican Jerk, BLT, Thai Chicken, Clams Casino, Senor Taco, Coney Islander or Cacoila.
A personal favorite of mine is called the Greek Villager: Bianca with marinated chicken, topped with a chilled Greek Village style salad of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, tossed in our homemade Greek dressing, and served with a Tzatziki sauce. One bite will change your life.
Yia-Yia’s offers small and large, no medium and the price range is between $7.75 (Zorba)-$20.75 (Scallops Skopolos) but most pizzas are around $12-$13 for a large. Regardless of what they charge, it’s well worth it. Just show up and tell them to take your money.
Libad’s Seaside Tavern
Libad’s Seaside offers the best deal on this list. However, don’t be fooled and equate inexpensive with lesser quality. The pizza at Libad’s rivals any place making pizza anywhere in the area.
Libad’s hand-tossed pizza comes in one size starting with a cheese at $10.95 and $1 for each additional topping. The signature and chef’s specialty pizzas are $12.95. There are “don’t rock the boat” pizzas like the pepperoni, three cheese, tomato & basil, meatball marinara, Bourbon Chicken, Clam & Garlic, and Buffalo Chicken. But they offer some amazing “rock the boat, I can swim” specials like the Scallop Mozambique, Chicken, Bacon & Ranch, Cacoila, Spinach & Ricotta White Pie, and their Libad’s Special – mozzerella, chourico, caramelized oonions, Portuguese-Spiced Red Sauce, and St. Jorge Cheese. My personal favorite is the Scallop Mozambique.
So where does the “best deal” come in? If you stop by during lunch, you can get a lunch-sized version of these pizzas with a soda or or beer starting at $6. You’ll also get it so fast, you’ll think there is someone using voodoo in the kitchen. Has to be the Black Arts for sure.
Fay’s Restaurant in South Dartmouth is famous for their top notch Italian cuisine, but before they opened their current restaurant, they were part of a pizza joint that is famous to this day for making the most incredible thin crust pizza pies: Fay’s Notty Pine. Matriarch Fay Costa DiPiro came to America from Fabrizia, Italy and brought her generations old, family recipe for sauce, pasta, pizza, and more made from scratch. You can’t get closer to original, old country, pizza than what is served at Fay’s!
As with all places that offer pizza, you can always get the classics or standards and you would be more than happy just doing that. In fact, order a simple Margarita or cheese (Simply Fay’s) pizza and you’ll swear that there is some secret ingredient in them – something so simple can’t possibly taste that good, right? But the old country philosophy of “Less is more, fresh is best.” is at play here. It’s fundamental Italian.
Any restaurant worth its salt, pratices terroir, or utilizing what the region has to offer to your menu and where you source your ingredients. So, you’ll see pizzas like my favorite, the Portuguese Feast: House made cacoila, white cheddar cheese, linguica and banana peppers or the Linguica: locally made ground linguica with white cheddar cheese and tomato pizza sauce. There are dozen other types you can’t go wrong trying. How does the Basil Bianco: fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, fresh garlic and white cheddar cheese sound? Or the El Greco:Feta cheese, spinach, onions, white cheddar cheese and Italian seasonings with tomato pizza sauce?
Pizzas start at $7 with the Simply Fay’s and go up to $12 for the aforementioned Portuguese Feast or the Works. Thin crust, freshest ingredients, and love all the way from the old country. You would right to head to Fay’s for some of the region’s best Italian cuisine, but your would also be right in ordering a pizza to go right alongside anything else on their menu. At Fay’s, the humble pizza is elevated to an equal.
Cork Wine and Tapas is a spot I frequent at least once a month. I need it. Have to have it. The historian in me loves the part of downtown Cork sits at and the built in 1860, Joseph Taber building itself – Taber, who by the way, was a pump and block maker as well as a selectman at one time. I like frequenting downtown and imagining I’m in the mid-19th century and deckhands are rolling barrels of whale oil up and down Centre Street or Rose Alley.
Cork’s eclectic menu changes with the seasons, but they always offer the most amazing, made-daily flatbread. For $11 you get a slice of heaven and “wow” in every bet. Like everything Cork does, the flatbreads are treated like the most important dish the chef ever made. Always consistent, forever paying attention to the details no matter how small, these flatbreads are works of gastronomic art.
The variety of flatbread is not stated on the menu, only the flatbreads themselves are described, because they chane regularly, but your server will let you know when you arrive at your table. It might be a Margerita pizza, a Mozzarella & Ricotta with basil and balsamic glaze, or Chorizo with roasted peppers & onions. Or perhaps the Cubano with roasted pork shoulder, ham, cheddar, dill pickles and spicy Chipotle mustard sauce.
Honestly, whatever it is, just order it. What it is is irrelevant – it’ll be delicious. You won’t be triggered. In fact, if there is some sort of opposite, that’s what you’ll be…like untriggered or degtriggered. You’ll be one happy camper and just like Fay’s, Cork elevates the flatbread to rival any other “classy” dish on the menu. Pizza gets a bad rap and has been demoted over the years. Places like Cork return it to its deserved glory. I mean, if the picture below doesn’t get your juices going, you are either dead or a communist:
Have you tried the pizza on this list? All of them? Am I out of my gourd? Who should I try that isn’t on this list?