Pizza has to be one of the most iconic foods in the world. The dish as we know it today (bread dough with oil, mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil at its simplest) has its roots in Italian cuisine and became popular in the 18th century, when it was eaten as street food.
People’s pizza preferences will always be deeply personal, with the topic continuing to provoke a seemingly never-ending debate. But no matter the style, some pizzerias have to be visited at least once in a lifetime. We’ve listed three such establishments here, which have ascended to iconic status…
1. Ai Marmi (Rome, Italy)
Pizza in Italy is serious business, and comes in variety of formats depending on the region. In Rome, pizza is all about the base, a thin and crispy dough baked in a genuine pizza oven (an institution in itself).
If you are planning on travelling to the Eternal City to experience traditional Roman pizza in all its glory, and don’t want anything too fancy, then Ai Marmi is always a safe bet.
Their Roman-style oval shape pizzas are served piping hot, crafted with excellent homemade ingredients and baked in a special oven. Prices are reasonable and you will not leave disappointed.
Be aware that the restaurant is crowded most of the time – even in the cooler months – as locals and out-of-towners alike come to visit. You may end up waiting a little for a seat, especially at peak times. Last but not least, Ai Marmi is a common fixture of the Food tour Rome itinerary, making it especially popular among travelers.
2. Burt’s Place (Chicago, U.S.)
Chicago has one of the most fascinating and competitive pizza scenes in the U.S, with the city’s famous deep dish style pizza taking pride of place.
Burt’s Place is a legendary institution in the Windy City, located in suburban Morton Grove. Its iconic pies are perfectly round, with caramelized crusts and extravagant helpings of cheese and sauce.
Of course, real Chicago-style pizza is quite different from regular pizza. It is baked in a deep-dish pan, with the cheese grated on top of a unique flaky crust that melts in your mouth, and incredible thick tomato sauce ladled on top, creating wonderful layers.
To learn more about Chicago’s local culinary history, while savoring slices of pizza at a number of different establishments, why not take a Chicago Food tour with the help of a licensed tour guide? To request a food tour and sample your way through the city, Secret Food Tours is your best bet, offering a real insider experience tailored to your schedule.
3. Grimaldi’s (New York City, U.S.)
New York is home to many of the best pizzerias in the United States. The city is sometimes referred to as “Pizza Town”, such is the ubiquity of the dish there, with a whole host of varieties to cater to every taste.
If it’s traditional New York style pizza you’re after, your best bet is Grimaldi’s. The business has been running since 1990, when its first location opened under the Brooklyn Bridge, and has already become a New York City institution.
The establishment’s coal-fired brick oven bakes the pizzas to perfection, offering a unique flavor and a crispy crust. The only downside is that you may have to wait for up to two hours to get a table, especially during the busy season.
If you want to fully engage with New York pizza culture, we recommend taking a New York Food tour. These tours let you learn all about the dish, with a specialized local guide who knows all the best spots, and all sorts of interesting facts that will enrich your food travel experience.