Pizzeria Bianco has long brought pizza fans looking for the perfect pie to downtown Phoenix. But in recent years, a wave of new pizzerias — joining local favorites like Cibo — have hit the scene, giving downtown Phoenix credence to join New York and Chicago as a must-visit destination for pizza connoisseurs.
When Tony and Karen Martingiglio set their eyes on a charming 1900s-era bungalow in downtown Phoenix, little did they know they would be opening one of the most revered restaurants in the city.
Established in 2005, Cibo specializes in artisanal pizzas made with the freshest ingredients. For those who prefer “pizze rosse” (tomato-based), standouts include the Marina (tomato sauce, fresh garlic, oregano, capers and anchovies). For those who prefer “pizze bianchi” (tomato-free), you can’t go wrong with the Quattro Formaggi (mozzarella, fontina, parmigiano, pecorino and gorgonzola).
603 N. Fifth Ave., Phoenix
Hailing from Sanremo in northwestern Italy, Forno 301’s owners Roberto Dadone and Luca Gagliano serve East Coast-style, wood-fired pizza with a lot of bravado.
Take the namesake Forno 301, for example. Made with fresh mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce, it creates the perfect union between spicy sausage, tender onions and earthy mushrooms.
And if you prefer your pizza “wrapped,” try one of their calzones in your choice of salami or spinach.
1616 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Firmly planted on the corner of Grand Avenue and Fillmore is this no-frills pizza joint that’s as eclectic as the funky arts district that surrounds it. Touting old school, New York-style pizza, the menu offers signature pies, including the Diana Ross (pepperoni, fennel sausage, red onion, fresh red bell peppers, button mushrooms and extra mozzarella) and the Large Marge, a vegetarian pie made simply with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
The cozy restaurant with a grunge edge is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner into the wee hours of the morning.
1031 Grand Ave., Phoenix
The New York Times food critic Ed Levine wrote that Chef Chris Bianco crafts what “might just be the best pizza in the world.” Located in downtown’s Historic Heritage Square, Pizzeria Bianco is intimate and bustling, with exposed-brick walls and a glowing, wood-fire oven.
While you wait for a table, enjoy a glass of wine at Bar Bianco next door or a pint of ale at the English pub across the street.
623 E. Adams St., Phoenix
Handcrafted in the tradition of Old Italy, Pomo is as authentic as you can get. It all begins with a slow-rising sourdough made of highly refined organic wheat flour from Naples, Mediterranean sea salt and water. Then, after 24 hours, it’s formed and stretched by hand into a thin crust, topped with fresh ingredients, and quickly baked in a wood-fired brick oven.
What emerges is pure pizza perfection, such as the Bufala Verace, made with imported buffalo-milk mozzarella, tomatoes from San Marzano, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
705 N. First St., Phoenix
This small, New York-style slice shop is aptly located next to Stardust Pinball Lounge, so come with enough time to check out both. The magic, though, is in the slices, full pies, over-the-top fries, wings and sandwiches. Open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
401 W. Van Buren St., Suite B, Phoenix