The Daily Meal recently released its list of the “101 Best Pizzas in America,’’ and a healthy dozen of the website’s choices came from Boston, Providence, and Connecticut, where New Haven took the top prize. Here are the 12 spots where one publication thinks diners can grab the best pies that New England has to offer, and where each ranks within the top 101.
1. White Clam Pie; Frank Pepe’s, New Haven
The city of New Haven likes to boast of itself as the birthplace of pizza, so it’s fitting that Frank Pepe’s infamous white clam pie should be considered the best pizza in America. “If you want to discuss the loaded topic of America’s best pizza with any authority, you have to make a pilgrimage to this legendary New Haven pizzeria,’’ editor Arthur Bovino wrote. “This is a Northeastern pizza genre unto its own, and Pepe’s is the best of them all — freshly shucked, briny littleneck clams, an intense dose of garlic, olive oil, oregano, and grated Parmesan atop a charcoal-colored crust. The advanced move? Clam pie with bacon.’’ The white clam pie runs $12.95 for a small, $20.25 for a medium, and $26.25 for a large.
7. Tomato Pie; Sally’s Apizza, New Haven.
As The Daily Meal points out, the similarities between Sally’s and Pepe’s are noted in New Haven, as it was Pepe’s nephew who opened the rival shop, focusing on simplicity and delicious ingredients. “The folks at Sally’s will be the first to tell you that Pepe makes a better clam pie,’’ Bovino writes “but their tomato pie (tomato sauce, no cheese), well, they have the original beat there.’’ A plain Italian tomato pie will run $7.50 for a small ($9 plain mozzarella), $13.75 for a large ($17.25).
10. Margarita; Al Forno, Providence
Al Forno is widely recognized as one of the top restaurant destination in Italian-rich Rhode Island, and it lands a spot in the top 10 for its grilled margarita pie, which The Daily Meal notes is served with fresh herbs, pomodoro, two cheeses, and extra-virgin olive oil. Other appetizer prices range from $3-$24.95.
11. Italian Bomb, Modern Apizza, New Haven
Sure, you could go for the relatively more healthy veggie bomb, but the Italian bomb is a wonder, topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, pepper, and garlic, served on a thin crust. The Daily Meal’s Bovino writes, “It’s likely that you’ll hear it spoken about as the place “the locals go instead of Pepe’s and Sally’s.” That may be so. The atmosphere is great — wood paneling, friendly servers, a clean feeling — but it doesn’t play third-string just because it’s not on Wooster. Modern’s pies are a little topping-heavy with less structural integrity.’’ The pizza will cost you $12.50 for a small, $18.25 for a medium, and $22.25 for a large.
22. Melanzane; Regina Pizzeria, Boston
Boston makes its first foray onto the list with the North End favorite coming in at No. 22 for its Melanzane pizza, made with “homemade ricotta and marinara sauces, spiced with oregano, topped with eggplant, red onions, basil, pecorino romano and mozzarella.’’ A small will cost you $11.49, a large $19.49, and can be ordered at most of Regina’s locations throughout Massachusetts.
27. Sausage Pie, Colony Grill, Stamford, Conn.
More Connecticut on the list, as Stamford comes in at No. 27. The old-school Colony Grill serves thin-crust pie in an atmosphere that seems never-changing, according to The Daily Meal. From Bovino: “There’s something really special about the equal amounts of ingredients you likely won’t have had before, the pockmarked surface resembles some crazy dream where cheese covers the surface of the moon (all melty like you remember from the orange-oil covered slice at the favorite pizza place from your youth), and the sting of the oil brings you right back to the sip of beer you’ll want to sip while savoring each bite.’’
29. Mozzarella, sausage, and garlic; Santarpio’s, Boston
Certainly a nominee for Boston’s favorite pizza destination, Santarpio’s is Boston’s second entry on the list thanks to its simple combination pizza. “The local favorite has already seen its fair share of fame after winning the Best Traditional Pizza in New England award from Boston magazine seven times in the last 20 years, including last year,’’ Bovino writes. “Santarpio’s, which opened in 1903, sticks to their traditional roots when it comes to their infamous slightly-chewy, and satisfyingly wet slices.’’ The pizza will run you $13.
41. Lamb, Scampo, Boston
Noted chef Lydia Shire’s Scampo, located in the Liberty Hotel, takes a spot on the list for her creation including lamb toppings. Wait, Lydia Shire? “Admittedly, a restaurant serving foie gras, almonds, and cracklings may not sound like the place you’d expect to seek out one of America’s best pizzas, and you’d be forgiven for doing double-takes at toppings that can include smashed plantains, smoked salmon, and lobster,’’ Bovino wrote. “It will be difficult to pass over the lobster and white clam and bacon pizzas (Scampo goes directly to what’s called the advanced clam pie at Frank Pepe’s), but if you can only have one, order the lamb pizza. That’s right, lamb with ricotta, Parmesan, Sriracha, mint, a mix of cumin, curry, turmeric, and pepper.’’ The lamb pizza costs $19, the aforementioned lobster, $27.
54. Salsiccia; Coppa, Boston
Ken Oringer’s Coppa makes the list thanks to its “Salsiccia,’’ a pizza containing tomato, pork sausage, ricotta, roasted onion and fennel pollen. Not exactly traditional. Then again, neither is the bone marrow pizza. James Beard Award-nominated chef Jamie Bissonnette has appeared on the Food Network, and last year was named Food & Wine’s winner of the People’s Best New Chef award, so clearly they’re worth a try. Both pies run $16.
68. Margherita, Al Forno, Old Saybrook, Conn.
Not to be confused with its Providence namesake, this Connecticut restaurant gets the nod for its exceptions, New Haven-style pizzas. A recent renovation didn’t change the quality of its pies though, and it was rewarded with a spot in The Daily Meals Top 75. The margherita is served with fresh plum tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and garlic, and runs $14.95 for a small, $18.95 for a medium, and $24.95 for a large.
76. Margherita; Picco, Boston
Picco warns the customer that its pizzas are well-done, so if you want something chewy to inform your server. That’s part of what makes the margherita a unique dining experience. It’s simplicity is what makes it so tasty. “As much as it may pain chef (Rick) Katz and his crew to admit it, the margherita and pepperoni pies are typically Picco’s best-sellers on the eight-pie menu,’’ Bovino wrote, “but do him a favor, and yourself a solid, by also ordering his Alsatian pizza, their version of France’s tarte flambé (sautéed onions, shallots, garlic, crème fraîche, bacon, and Gruyère), and finishing off your meal with the “Adult” Ice Cream Soda, raspberry Belgian lambic poured over vanilla ice cream.’’ The margherita is $12 for a small, $20 for a large.
85. Cheese pie; Galleria Umberto Rosticceria, Boston
One final Boston favorite makes the list, coming in at No. 85 for its cheese pie. “Galleria Umberto in Boston’s North End is generally lost among Boston’s more well-known pies like Santarpio’s and Regina,’’ Bovino wrote. “That’s probably fine as far as most locals are concerned, because there’s usually a line outside for these thick, over-the-edge-of-the-pan cheesy, saucy, completely over-the-top and enjoyably so Sicilian slices anyway. That’s right, that’s the only pizza option, the Sicilian. And while they open at 11 a.m., they close at 2:30 p.m. (or whenever they run out of dough), so don’t delay.’’ A single slice will run you all of $1.65. 617-227-5709