Over the past year it seems pizza has gone high society. Every so often top chefs adopt a typical “street food,” and when big-name restaurants that are light years away from the typical pizzeria suddenly start making pizza, it’s hard to avoid the trend.
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But with all due respect to trends and fancy restaurants, we came for the slice (or more accurately, the tray); in other words, we’re here to honor those who see making pizza as their calling, and not as some fad.
Over the past few weeks we’ve toured the country from north to south to find the country’s best pizza. While the pizza chains have their place, we left them aside this time. Consider this a comprehensive guide to great pizzerias for the next time you’re seized by an urge for a slice or two (or three, or four, we’re not counting).
Da Peppe Pizzeria Napoletana
Joseph Giordano’s Italian pizza is of the Neapolitan variety. One taste is enough to understand that the dough is airy to the point of perfection, and scorching from the traditional tabun oven only makes it better. Don’t leave here without tasting the arugula pizza. It is very simple but its lemon twist will help you understand that this is real expertise at work.
Da Peppe, 334 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv
There is no one who lives in the Hefer Valley region who does not know about Shabtai’s pizzas. A thin and flaky crust that nonetheless proudly bears the add-ons, and the unique cheese is the result of a mix that includes sheep cheeses with powerful flavors – and of course the unusual, generous and choice toppings. The friendly atmosphere is just the cherry tomato on top.
Shabtai. Eastern entrance, Kfar Vitkin; Harimon 1, Even Yehuda; Hatarshish 9, Caesarea
The pizza oven of this small Italian gem in the middle of Kiryat Tivon produces some of our best-loved pizzas. Don’t leave here without tasting every pizza that includes their spicy and addictive sweet and sour garlic spread.
Tanti Baci. Shkedim 35, Kiryat Tivon.
Giuseppe – Pizza Florence
A true neighborhood pizzeria, except that here everything, from beginning to end, is prepared with extreme fussiness in a manner unique to a true pizzaiolo. If you ignore the “slightly distant” service (an understatement, to tell the truth), and make it past the long lines, you can enjoy a slice with a mix of secret cheeses and a bit stronger flavor than you are used to. Don’t leave without tasting the pizza with broccoli and cherry tomatoes.
Giuseppe. 1 Haim Vital, Tel Aviv.
We know quite a lot of people who are willing to swear that this is the best pizza in Israel. So what’s the story? Here is an example of a pizzeria from the good old days, which has not surrendered to the dictates of fashion. For everyone (especially vegans) who want their pizza with the old style tomato sauce, this is the holy temple.
Pizza Slice. 72 Sokolov, Ramat Hahsaron.
Campanello Caffè Delicatessen
The pizzas made by chef Mena Strum are known for their extra thin crust, which by some miracle manages to keep all the toppings on top, and that is the main attraction here. The choice is not too large, but all the options are classic. Don’t leave here without tasting the summery, high-quality ricotta, zucchini and asparagus pizza. This is the pizza that will remind you the most of Rome.
Campanello. 230 Ben Yehuda, Tel Aviv.
Caldo Gourmet Pizza Bar
Be careful not to become dizzy from the broad range of toppings on offer to add to your pizza at Caldo in Be’er Sheva, which makes it hard to choose. Over 50 such items are on offer, which include almost every type of vegetable, meat or seafood you can imagine, and also many you never would have imagined. You are in pizza addict’s heaven, and that is even before we begin to talk about the wild combinations on the menu.
Caldo. 47 Derech Metzada, Be’er Sheva.
Hapizza on Bogroshov is one of the leaders of the new wave of Neapolitan pizzas in Tel Aviv. The long lines at the entrance testify to it, especially during the summer months. In this case it is the airy Neapolitan crust, the very delicate sauce, and the successful combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses that give an interesting kick to most of the pizzas they offer here.
Hapizza. 51 Bogroshov, Tel Aviv.
This is the queen of Jerusalem pizzerias, and not for nothing. This pizzeria, which goes by the Hebrew name “Pizza Baribua,” offers crust that is thin but crispy and stable, sparing amounts of tomato sauce, high-quality mozzarella rings and a small but fine selection of toppings, include several that go beyond the limits of kashrut.
P2 Pizza (“Pizza Baribua”), Keren Hayesod 36, Jerusalem
The Pizza Truck
This appears to be the closest thing that we have to a genuine food truck. You can order pizza from the truck and sit at one of the tables in the refurbished garden at Kibbutz Dafna. You can also sit at the adjoining café, Kukiya, and let the kids run around on the lawn and still order one of the fantastic pizzas. In short, this place is a pizza garden of sorts.
Pizza Truck, Café Kukiya, Kibbutz Dafna
Beit Ha’am puts out pizza that is not particularly complex but can be very good. The small, chubby pizzettas they make here are a big hit, loaded with toppings. Despite their size, they can be an entire meal. And don’t miss trying the hamburger pizzetta, which perfectly combines two culinary favorites. The biggest surprise is the pizza with cauliflower and kashkaval cheese.
Beit Ha’am, Lilienblum 21, Tel Aviv
La Cuccina is a real gem in the desert. Although it is at the foot of a major hotel, the Royal Beach, it goes beyond the bounds of kashrut. The menu here is not pretentious, and offers some of the best features of Italian food, and the pizzas are made on site with small but still decent portions. Among the options, we particularly liked the melanzana pizza, which features eggplant and mildly spicy peppers, as well as the funghi pizza, which has a nice mix of roasted mushrooms.
La Cuccina, Royal Beach Hotel Promenade, Eilat