You may say I know a thing or two about pizza. My parents bought a pizza shop when I was 8 months old. I started officially working when I was 11, until I went off to college.
In my college years, I often gave into eating bad pizza for a variety of reasons: far from home, nothing else around and, quite simply, too lazy to care. I’ve grown older and wiser, and it has become my personal mission to try every pizza joint in Austin. So here’s my list of what I believe to be the best pizza places in Austin…so far.
East Side Pies
East Side Pies has three locations in Austin, but their original location at 1401 Rosewood Ave. was my first pizza encounter in Austin, five years ago.
This hipsters’ heaven doesn’t need a fancy wood fire oven to offer their customers exceptional pizza. Their crust is simple – thin with a slight crunch – and their ingredients come from locally-sourced farms and ranches in central Texas. You can find swiss chard, artichokes and lettuce growing in their raised garden beds out front. You can’t get fresher than that. They even offer gluten-free crust options! Now that’s true Austin spirit.
What I also love about East Side Pies is they offer take-out, delivery and pizza by the slice options. Because sometimes you just need a quick bite as you bike around the east side.
Bufalina is one of the newest kids in town. Located at 1519 E Cesar Chavez Street, this pizza brings true Italian flavor to the east side. It’s a small restaurant with a magnificent wood-burning oven center stage. The oven was imported from Naples, the birthplace of pizza, so when I went for the first time I had pretty high expectations. Did I forget to mention my parents are from Italy? I’m happy to say my expectations were met.
The dough is soft, but not too chewy, and the ingredients are simple. I went with some friends and we devoured three pizzas: the pizza fresca, the pizza calabrese and the pizza with anchovies (no longer on the menu). Bufalina is by far the closest to authentic Italian pizza you are going to get in Austin. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of eating pizza in Italy, just trust me.
Read my full review of Bufalina here.
Editor’s Note: As of July 2018, Pieous’ original location has closed. The business is moving to Belterra Village at West Highway 290 and Nutty Brown Road, and is scheduled to open by mid-July. The restaurant will be renamed Pieous Mecca.
The first time I went to Pieous was a Monday…and it was closed. But I couldn’t be upset because, growing up, we also closed our family restaurant on Mondays. Needless to say, I instantly felt nostalgic and couldn’t wait to try it.
Located in southwest Austin at 12005 U.S. 290 West, on your way to Jester King and wine country, Pieous is worth the drive.
The truth is in the pudding or, in this case, the crust. There is a notable difference in their crust, which comes from a 20-year starter. If the base isn’t perfect, it’s hard to have a perfect pizza. And perfection is exactly what the pizza at Pieous tastes like.
If you want to know more about the history and evolution of this noteworthy pizza shop, catch Cris Mueller’s review here on the Austinot.
The Backspace is one of several restaurants owned by Shawn Cirkiel (his others include Parkside, Olive & June and Chavez). Located at 507 San Jacinto Blvd., The Backspace is literally the backspace behind its sister restaurant, Parkside.
I hate to say it, but as soon as I sat down I was a little disappointed. Not because of the food or ambiance, but because of the incorrect Italian on the menu. Did I mention I speak Italian? Despite the linguistic faux pas, their pizza is above par.
So here’s a quick lesson on wood-burning ovens. The temperature inside these ovens is key. You want the temperature to be between 400-700 degrees, which allows the pizza to bake in a matter of minutes. It’s truly an art form. And the guys at The Baskspace make it look easy. I’m pretty sure I surprised my waitress when I ate the entire pizza by myself.
Now let’s be honest. No matter our age, we sometimes crave the pizza of our childhood. The Pizza Hut’s and Papa John’s from yesteryear delivered to our doorstep. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with these places, other than the fact that they just aren’t that good…or fresh…or local. But if you’re looking for something to take you back, look no further. Milano, located at 1025 W. Stassney, is your neighborhood pizza joint, stepped up a notch.
The crust is just the right thickness, not too thin, not too thick and just the right amount chewy. They don’t offer anything fancy, but the toppings are fresh. My favorite Milano’s item? The calzones. I have yet to discover another place in Austin that can compete with Milano’s calzones. And best of all, they deliver. So you can simply relax in your PJs, pop in a movie and indulge in good, simple, and local pizza.
As the pizza options in Austin continue to grow, so does the quality. And who knows, maybe pizza will be the next big thing since breakfast tacos. Until then, I can’t wait to see who comes into the picture next.
Which pizza joints would you add to the list?
I’d love to see a list of the 5 Best New York Style Pizza Joints in Austin.
I love love love Due Forni! It’s at 6th and Congress and DELICIOUS. http://www.dueforni.com
I love Milano! It’s in such a weird place, they don’t get a lot of attention, good lookin out
Well, that’s a nice list of overpriced foodie hipster pizza. For those who don’t wear skinny jeans and live places other than downtown, there’s always Conan’s pizza who’ve been the best in Austin for over 35 years.
@Rog, to each his own! If you want to go old school, my pick would probably be Little Deli in Crestview.
No self-respecting pizza critic could possibly consider Conan’s – it’s not good pizza, it’s not pizza, I’m not sure it could properly be considered food.
House pizza or Hoboken. The Onion is good too.
@disqus_gMwIaGJDCI:disqus, here’s a previous article on House Pizzeria: http://austinot.wpengine.com/house-pizzeria-austin. Would be interested to know whether you agree with the review!
Haven’t I raved about Via 313 enough? Guess I need to do so more. Via 313 is the closest thing to a religious experience food can offer.
@disqus_u2wHGHG9fy:disqus, I’m with you there. It’s my personal favorite in Austin so far, though I haven’t tried all of Jessica’s recommendations yet. (http://austinot.wpengine.com/via-313-pizza)
What tha? Where is Little Deli and Pizzeria… and also Home Slice?
Good picks, but I would definitely have Stanley’s Farmhouse pizza in my top 5.
Coming from the North Jersey/NYC area where I had about 7 pizza places within 5 miles from my house, I feel like I know a good pie when I taste one! Awesome post Jessica, I will definitely check some of these places out. Not mentioned, ABGB (Austin Beer Garden Brewery) has impressed me many times with their pizza.
my husband was wanting AU Form 1419 a few days ago and learned about a web service with lots of fillable forms . If people are requiring AU Form 1419 too , here’s a
I recently tried Southside Flying pizza and was impressed with their pies.
California pizza kitchen is one of the best pizza places that I have been to. I had the opportunity to meet the chef and try some of his experimental desserts. I don’t know if they ever made it to the menu but they were delicious. There are a lot of great pizza places though in the united states.
I’ve only been to, and heard of, East Side Pies and it’s been awhile since I’ve been there. I have no desire to try any of the other places. Personally, I like Home Slice, but Roppollo’s is my favorite as of right now.
I know that Austin’s Pizza might not necessarily come to mind when you think of “best pizza” but it’s like the delivery you grew up with but actually tasty. And they deliver!! They also employ special needs individuals, which totally wins my loyalty. http://www.alittledailyhappiness.com/make-a-difference-monday-why-ill-only-order-austins-pizza/
I’m pretty fond of both the Pour House and Gustos for my pizza fixes.