New York and Chicago constantly vie for top honors in the best-pizza category. Sure, I love pies in both cities, but I think some of the best pizzerias are found elsewhere.

Punch Pizza

704 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul (the original location); 651-696-1066 or
Insanely good Neapolitan pizzeria that is a national candidate for Top Five. Eating it uncut is the way to go; the salame e funghi is my favorite.

Pizzeria Lola

5557 Xerxes Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-424-8338 or
Yes, it’s true, Minnesota has the best pizza in America. Let the debate begin! Better than NYC and Chicago put together. Now if that doesn’t get food writer Ed Levine and me booked on Anderson Cooper 360, I don’t know what will. But seriously, the Sunnyside at Lola’s is phenomenal: olive oil, guanciale, leeks, caramelized in the cured pork fat. Topped with a hint of cream, a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano and a fresh egg. Pizza perfection.

Serious Pie

316 Virginia St., Seattle; 206-838-7388 or
Tom Douglas’s killer, bready dough recipe, a not-too-hot oven, macho ingredients and a bistro vibe. It’s an original in a sea of derivative pizzerias. The potato pizza is divine.

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix; 602-258-8300 or
The one and only. Who would’ve thought you could make world-class pie in the desert? Even though chef Chris Bianco isn’t there every day, the pizza is in my Top Five. The marinara pie (sans cheese) is the gold standard for bread-and-tomato foods.

Sally’s Apizza

237 Wooster St., New Haven, CT; 203-624-5271 or
Coal-fired brick-oven pies, baked with tomato sauce, garlic and hard cheeses. Family-owned for three generations. Legendary waits for tables and service. Why is it so crowded? ’Cause it’s AWESOME. I get the plain pie here; it’s perfect.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

157 Wooster St., New Haven, CT (the original location); 203-865-5762 or
The line is as long as the one at Sally’s. The white clam pizza here is one of my favorite pizzas anywhere in the world. And yes, that makes me a Pepe’s guy, if you held a gun to my head.

Pizzeria Mozza

641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles; 323-297-0100 or
Best pizza in L.A., and these days, that’s saying a lot. Nancy Silverton, Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali have created something special. I love any of the pizzas with Armandino Batali’s cured meats on it, but it’s Silverton’s crust that takes the star turn here.

Santarpio’s Pizza

111 Chelsea St., East Boston; 617-567-9871 or
Well-done pizza, always cooked a minute longer than it should be, is the hallmark of this 108-year-old Beantown institution. I eat the front of the slice on its own, and use the crust to mop up the grilled sausage and lamb that come as side dishes. You heard me right. Also, keep complaints to a minimum. Most of the regulars take exception to them.

More Delicious Pizzas

Top Pizza Spots in the U.S.
Leek-and-Pecorino Pizza
Credit: © Con Poulos
Primitivo + Pepperoni
Credit: Photo © Hector Sanchez
Andrew Zimmern
Photo courtesy of the Travel Channel
| Credit: Photo courtesy of the Travel Channel

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