Best pizza in Hampden with huge delicious slices, regular-sized ones, and large, New York-style pizza pies made with pride for generations. Angelo's light touch with a spicy sauce that's not too sweet, melty mozzarella, and mushrooms and sliced sausage, onions and pepperoni, Canadian bacon and peppers, or whatever combo of toppings you roll with results in really good eating, whether you're dining in with a giant slice or taking a boxed pie home.
We'd love Iggies even if it was just a plain old high-end, we-give-a-damn thin-crust pizza emporium--the pies are artful mixes of traditional and modern (the roasted duck is a peak experience)--but there's nothing plain about Iggies. It is resolutely funky, from its dog-friendly disposition to its self-service aesthetic. Bring your own booze if you like, there's no cork fee or anything pretentious like that. And your tips all go to local direct-service charities.
Yes, they serve an eclectic mix of risottos, pastas, and appetizers here, but it's really the pizza that's the thing at Joe Squared. Thin-crust gourmet pies with fresh toppings like buffalo-milk mozzarella, crab, corn, apples, and barbecue chicken steal the show. Our favorite is the flag pizza, super-thin crust pie divided into three distinct sections--one with traditional red sauce and parmagian, romano, and mozzarella, one with pesto and fresh mozzarella, and one with garlic sauce, fresh mozz, and cheddar. These are the kind of gourmet pizzas one has dreams about.
There are pizza joints--places for a greasy slice of pepperoni--and they're a dime a dozen. Then there are places where they raise the pizza to an art form, and around here that's Matthew's Pizza--which was churning out quality pie long before gourmet pizza shops started popping up all over town. The crab pizza with Old Bay is a particular favorite.
Pizzeria Speranza, the New York-style pizzeria in the Charles Center almost no one outside of the downtown area knows about, is the closest you'll get around here to the NY/NJ trifecta: fresh, salty mozzarella, sweet sauce, and thin crust--the kind of pizza that folds easily in the hand, with edges that are puffy, not doughy. You can eat there, or get it delivered. They have a ton of toppings, from sausage to pineapple to garlic to god-knows-why jalapeno poppers, but we go for the simple cheese pie.
Zella's is a SoWeBo haven, a pizza/art gallery oasis in an area where non-chicken/lake trout/GI tract disintegrating Chinese food items are pretty much limited to Safeway. There's a handful of sandwiches on the menu, but we're mainly talking about pie here, yummy, yummy pie. The crust, chewy and tasty while somehow immune to sogginess, is aces, and you get a range of options above and beyond most pizza joints, from subbing traditional pizza sauce for pesto or roasted red pepper sauce to high-end toppings like portabella mushrooms and roasted eggplant. Dare say Zella's is even worth the trip for non-neighborhood folk.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201