From artisanal to classic Neapolitan and Chicago deep-dish, pizza joints and cafes all over H-town are rising to the occasion for pizza lovers. Like it loaded and meaty, or char-blistered with restrained toppings? Tomato, pesto or cheese paved? Maybe for you, it’s all about the flavor and crisp of the crust. It’s pizza-pie heaven at these 10 bustling spots — so dig in and find your slice.
At this happening Galleria area newcomer in sleek BLVD Place, pasta and pizza dough are handmade from scratch, and you can watch the process from the glassed-in kitchen. The pizza dough flavor, texture and baking style are spot on, making this one hot little wood-fired number. Perfectly puffed, slightly blistered crust glistening with olive oil surrounds an airy center with pizza toppings like Italian bacon, farm egg, potato, garlic confit and basil. One slice is never enough.
1700 Post Oak Blvd.; 281-605-4030
Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana
Feast on authentic Neapolitan pizzas baked in 90 seconds at this family-owned bistro in Memorial and the newest location in River Oaks. The BYOB spot uses ingredients shipped from Italy for snappy traditional or specialty pies charred in Neapolitan-made pizza ovens. The popular Fino is head-spinningly rich, paved in olive oil, cured fennel sausage, goat cheese, speck, garlic and creamy Italian mozzarella.
Italian inspiration with local foodie influence drives the menu of this chic, cozy corner in Greenway Plaza. Choose from an extensive selection of red- or white-based sooty wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas with impressive crunch. Pies come crowned with classic (pepperoni, puttanesca) or inventive options like pistachios and rosemary; even elegant wine-poached pears. Cheese lovers should go for the funghi cushioned with extra fontina and mozzarella. Happy-hour wines are a steal, so drink up.
3333 Weslayan St.; 713-892-8100
Chicago’s own Gino’s East has made its way to Houston, offering legendary deep-dish pies from two locations. Its oversized pizzas with thick, golden-brown crusts are crafted by hand, smothered in the signature red sauce and jam-packed with eaters’ choice of toppings. The Chicago Fire deep-dish sizzles with housemade spicy sausage, fire-roasted red peppers and red onions. Don’t come too hungry — deep-dish specialty pizza takes up to an hour to cook. But the full menu is rounded out with apps (try the crispy Brussels sprouts with pancetta), salads and sandwiches.
Bollo Wood-Fired Pizza
Upper Kirby denizens are hitting this still-new neighborhood Italian cafe for pastas, salads and Neapolitan pizzas. Imported “double-zero” flour and a VPN-certified wood burning oven means these pies come out blistered and smoking hot. Get them topped with everything from creamy blobs of buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto to Texas Wagyu beef and caramelized onions. The tucked-away bar is a neighborhood hangout for wine imbibers and a nightly deal: pizza and a pitcher of local Karbach for $19.
2202 W. Alabama St.; 713-677-0391
College-cool Rice Village is home to this rustic osteria by the Clark Cooper group that serves traditional thin-crust pies with a creative twist. A large, dome-shaped gas oven is used to bake pizzas with dough made daily in a special production room. Classic toppings pair with welcome surprises, like the popular Ham & Eggs with spicy air-dried pork shoulder, quail eggs, tomato and Parmesan. The sidewalk patio is a see-and-be-seen scene on mild days.
5210 Morningside Dr.; 713-522-3535
The Pass & Provisions
Set in a historic Italian import warehouse, The Pass’s cool, semi-casual counterpart offers five pizzas on its seasonal dinner menu — and these pies are the star of the show. The open kitchen houses a large, wood-burning oven that bakes thin, crispy pizzas with puffy edges that come topped with inventive yet magically restrained combinations of house-cured meats, the best cheeses and flavorful veggies.
807 Taft St.; 713-628-9020
Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen
What began in the outskirts of Houston has expanded into an international franchise that serves the same family recipes chef-owner Anthony Russo honed from his Italian relatives. The Katy Freeway location wafts with fresh garlic and aromatic baked yeast and bustles with Memorialites and rowdy families sharing huge pizzas (and there's a new location in Spring Market). Freshly crushed California tomatoes and imported Italian cheeses top hand-tossed dough that’s thin and lightly blistered from a coal-fired brick oven. This adds smoky flavor to the New York– and Neapolitan-style pies, which are offered in dozens of combos such as margherita, Greek and "Italian Works," a four-meat wonder.
9403 Katy Freeway; 713-647-9100
Now a Midtown staple, this massive chain hails from Italy and claims to serve the most authentically Italian pizza in town. Chain or not, it sports a hip vibe with rotating artists’ work and dangling colorful light fixtures as a backdrop to the roaring imported Italian pizza oven. About that pizza: find 40-plus thin-crust beauties paved with tomato sauce and mozzarella, from classic, like the Moderno topped with arugula and shaved grana Padano, to crazy — the Houston with jalapeño peppers, avocado, parsley and diced tomatoes.
3201 Louisiana St.; 713-524-8222
Chef Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber’s perpetually packed Heights spot is still the one for modern (but not too modern) wood-fired pies. An on-site garden of fruits, vegetables and herbs provides as-fresh-as-they-get toppings accompanied by handmade 72-hour slow-rise pizza dough. Pera’s touch results in rustic pizza with artisanal bread flavor and puffy texture emerging singed from the wood-fired oven. The signature Revival Pepperoni has a cult following, but don’t miss veg-centric choices bursting with just-picked flavor. The all-Italian wine list and savvy cocktails just add to the fun.
3320 White Oak Dr.; 713-637-4095