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Please give me the serious good stuff, not Mellow Mushroom and all that mess. I am not a fan of Chicago-style; we like NY/NE coast Italian pizzas. Thanks!

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  1. Hey, where you at!?

    I'm from Philly and New Jersey, (I don't really talk like that) and the closest I get, is to order carefully & properly from the Westshore Pizza that historically delivers to me, and knows I tip well...

    I 'heard' that Cesares on South Dale Mabry Highway near 'Bay to Bay' was really good, but I'm on Atkins, and in the zone, so when I passed it the other day I didn't stop...
    If you were with me I'd a done it!

    The Westshore Pizza 7 outta 10 times tastes right...
    You can taste, not just detect, the cheese.
    The dough is toasty and tasty, with just the right amount of crust, bend, and chewiness...
    It'll drip some red oil like I like...

    "Extra cheese, ham, pepperoni, and onions---well done please"...

    I'll make an inside joke about really wanting extra cheese--- 'cause it's my birthday or something...
    I might laugh a little so they'll like me, and think I'm a nice guy...

    Hey, the large pizzas with extra stuff are expensive!

    I just can't have them hand over the pizza and only feel the weight of the box!

    Not---not on my birthday....


    1. You shoulda stopped at Cesare's! It's the best, hands down. Whether it's "authentic'' NY pizza is a debate you can't even settle in NY. But Cesare used to have a place right outside Yankee stadium, so his NY roots are solid (unless you are a Mets fan, but let's not go there). He grows his own tomatoes, his cheese is high quality, the sausage is excellent, the spinich fresh. Ask him to sprinkle on some hot oil, which he makes himself, and you'll be happy you did. But Cesare doesn't deliver, so Westshore is a good alternative....

      2 Replies
        1. re: Bergerman

          Took a detour to try Ceasare's yesterday and it was a disapointment.

          Probably better if it was fresh out of the oven since few slices ever are terrific after a warmup.

          Dough was boring, cheese ok, sause was probably good a few hours ago.

          The search continues.

        2. Eddie and Sam's downtown by far the best, I drive from St. Pete at lunch to go there.

          1. Babes Pizza in Brandon,Florida on Kings Ave.....Excellent....also they have one of the best Double Decker Pizzas....They are a mom and pop type shop...not a chain...get there early as they do not have a large seating area....if you have to wait..it is worth it!!

            1. ahhhh, the ole "where's the best pizza" debate...again. Your best bet? Try them all. Shoot, it'll cost you about $15 a pop, but you'll likely find something you like.

              Otherwise, you'll try some recommendations from others, then blast them for not knowing what "real" pizza is like. Oh, and there's the whole "I can't get it here like I got it at home in _____" argument.


              1. I'm not from the Tampa area, but a friend whose taste in pizza I trust completely swears by Angelo's in Palm Harbor, 2350 Curlew Road, (727) 785-4355. NY-style.

                1. I like Honey Crust Pizza in Sarasota at the corner of Lockwood Ridge Road and 17th Street. I don't know what honey has to do with it. The crust is not sweet or anything. But the pizza is loaded with toppings and the crust, which many places can't get right, has the right balance of "chew" and "crunch." They are extremely generous with the cheese and use some sort of Italian mixture, so the cheese actually has some flavor, not just the blandness of mozzarella--maybe a mixture of mozzarella, Romano, and Provolone?

                  1. My favorites:
                    Sally O'Neils (New Yorkish)
                    Pane Rustica (California/modern style)

                    1. Ok, sold!
                      Next time I pass by Cesares, I'm a stoppin'!

                      1. THe Pizza Shack in Largo on Indian Rocks Road has a pretty good pie. Crust is nice and crispy and they use high quality ingredients. As someone else noted, " You can actually taste the cheese" good sauce also.

                        1. Uptown Kevin--we'll end up trying plenty but as we don't live there yet (we are moving in a few months from Portland, OR), I thought I'd get an idea by asking the locals. I certainly am not up for a debate, just some good pizza that meets our likings (NY/CT style; not deep dish; fresh ingredients etc).

                          Thanks to all who gave the helpful suggestions!!!!

                          1. Check out this one! Alfonso's, on Bearss and Florida Ave. Small, non-chain, the pizza is authentic NY style. Mushrooms aren't fresh, that's my only criticism. Crust is crunchy, mmmm.

                            1. Thanks Lisa! My husband hates mushrooms so they have regretfully taken a leave of absense (for the most part) in our kitchen etc. We'll check that out.

                              I have noted your recent posts and I will keep an eye out for more. We have some similar food tastes and I am excited (but anxious) about our upcoming move.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: thakrza

                                Good luck with your move, thakrza! I'll be glad to help you with recommendations. There are a lot of things to do and many great places to eat & drink! When people move here, they tend to stay. That's why we have so many transplanted Northerners (no, it's not just because of expensive real estate back home).

                                1. re: Lisaknowsfood

                                  Good! I will definitely be asking more and more as the date gets closer. We'll be looking for lotsa cheap eats and good groceries for awhile as we will be very very poor!

                              2. Bellacino's in Sarasota at the corner of University Parkway and Honore has great pizza. The Italian sausage is superb. Very fresh ingedients. Bellacino's also serves fantastic grinders.....try the Chicago Steak!!

                                1. well, I guess Sarasota could be considered Tampa Bay if you got rid of Bradenton.

                                  1. Vito & Michael's, St. Pete Beach.

                                    1. Giordano's in Brandon. Awesome Chicago-style pizza.

                                      1. I second Eddie & Sam's in downtown Tampa - It helped me transition from living in NYC to living in Tampa Bay. Seriously.

                                        Also: New York Times Square Pizza on Henderson (if you get extra cheese), and Fortunato's at the Tyrone Square Mall. Do NOT get pizza from Fortunato's in downtown St. Pete as it's disgusting and you might as well buy frozen pizza. But the one in the mall is excellent and rivals Eddie and Sam's to me.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Barbara

                                          Did you know a Fortunato's opened recently on Blind Pass Road in St. Pete Beach? Absolutely no fanfare or advertising either. And they moved right next door to Vito & Michaels, an area landmark, that Darylt recommended above. I enjoyed the new Fortunato's, but felt guilty the whole time for not being loyal to Vito & Michael.

                                        2. there was a restaurant named Fortunato's on Henderson that opened awhile back in Tampa and closed after a few months. they were NOT related to the Fortunato's in St. Pete. So perhaps there are two different fortunato's families in the bay area.

                                          Joan, i recently went to vito & michaels and thought it was great -- and I wondered why anyone would open another pizza spot right next to it.

                                          1. I have lived in Tampa several years and there are two or three Pizzeria's in Tampa that are the best, hands down!

                                            For traditional New York City style pizza you have to visit Paci's Pizza from Brooklyn, NY. Paci's is currently located on South Dale Mabry a few blocks south of Bay to Bay at the corner of Obisbo & Dale Mabry. (right hand side heading south). They will soon be moving to a new larger location up the road (across the street from Plant High Scool on Dale mabry). They also make great sausage and peperonni rolls.

                                            For more gourmet, brick oven style pizza the best in Tampa is Cellini's on Bayshore Blvd. (South of Gandy on Bayshore at the corner of Bayshore and Interbay next to the Circle K gas station). All of the pizza's at Cellini's are amazing!!

                                            Honarable mention: Cappy's Pizza - 2 locations (Bay to Bay Blvd in South Tampa and Florida Ave in Seminole Heights). If I can't make it to Cellini's I will sit down at Cappy's and order a large New York style pizza. They also have a Chicago style - but the NY Style is great!

                                            1. I agree with Cappy's and Cellini's, but Paci's just has too much of a "chewy" type dough similar to most of Florida pizza's.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: rshally

                                                I forgot to mention....I always order my pizza 'well-done' from Paci's - when I ordwe it this way it always comes out with a nice crispy crust and browned bottom. At Cappy's and Cellini's you don't need to order the pizza well-done because they always come out crispy.

                                              2. Try East Coast Pizza in Riverview. Best New York pizza I have found yet. Definetely worth the detour if your ever driving south on 75. Its exit 246. East 1 mile and its on the right. I found it completely be accident on my way home from work stopping to get gas. I come from Brooklyn, and it def... reminds me of home. Eastcoastpizza.com

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Fred12582

                                                  I love love love Peg's Pizza. They are opening a new location in about 2 weeks in Gulfport, Beach Blvd., next to Pia's.

                                                  1. re: cora

                                                    I have had Pegs pizza,which is decent. East Coast Pizza,by the Sam's Club off Big Bend Road in Riverview,has by a huge margin, the best pizza in this area bar none.Had a large with extra cheese and onions today,20 dollars plus 3 tip.I always tip when I get pizza or Chinese take out.NY prices,which is fine because the pizza is phenominal.I have taken many a friend visiting from the New York,Philly A.C. triangle and to a person,they all loved it.I actually thought todays was the worst I have gotten in 2 years,but it still beats the hell out of every other joint in this area.I rate this palce 9.75 out of 10.

                                                2. I guess this is a pretty old thread that I'll revitalize. Westshore pizza referenced initially is among the absolute worst in the Tampa metro area. Many suspected "planted" bloggers giving false positive reviews on their awful products. Babes in Brandon is excellent, but I've never been impressed much with their double decker which gets all the praise. Single is better. Honey Crust in Sarasota is fairly good, in fact. Sally O'Neils in So. Tampa is actually very good and among the best in all of Tampa. Vito & Michael's in St. Pete Beach is excellent, too. Their best is their small ultra light crust (ordered crispy). Giordano's (only their stuffed version) is an excellent example of Chicago deep dish/stuffed pizza. Order it with extra sauce and ingredients, though. I have never had a good pizza at any of Fortunato's locations unfortunately, although I give them a B plus for effort. Cappy's is hot and cold . . . some days a great pizza . . . and some days (too many unfortunately) . . . a very bad pizza. Consistency is their problem! Peg's pizza in Gulfport is no longer a real pizzeria. Basically a taco style Mexican pizza only, and -- to my tastes -- not so good. TS

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: TIMS45

                                                    i nominate wood fired pizza on Bearss and Christino's in clearwater. at wood fired, get the Rosa/pistachio. avoid it during peak hours. there is one guy making all the pizzas, and it can get backed up on weekend nights. at Christino's get some gelato, too.

                                                  2. In Pinellas, Campanella's at Park and 49th St. has a really nice thin crust. Very old school - just basic toppings. Which is my only complaint with their pizza - canned mushrooms - just no reason for that in this day and age. If you are happy without mushrooms then it is a really good pie.

                                                    I recently ate at Johnny's Italian Restaurant on SR 590, Clearwater and several tables were enjoying thin crust pizza that looked fantastic. This place might be a winner for that style pizza! They are in the corner of an office complex on the south side of the road, in between US 19 & McMullin-Booth.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                      Johnny's is hands-down the best pizza I've had in Tampa Bay in the 13 years I've been living here. I'm from Boston and a pizza snob! LOL! Johnny's is consistently fantastic every single time. Cappy's in St. Pete and Tampa is good, too, but they're not always consistent with the texture and flavor. Johnny's is. And the crust is the perfect balance of crispy and chewy. The sauce is flavorful--not too sweet, not over-spiced, and not too oily. The toppings are fresh and perfectly distributed on the pie. I've had some entrees at Johnny's, too.. They were good, but I prefer their pizza.

                                                      1. re: angi311

                                                        Sounds terrific. I still haven't had a chance to try the pizza there...Did have two varieties at Pinocchio's on US 19 a bit north, I preferred the NY style over the Chicago style.

                                                        Note to self: eat more, much more!

                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                        Best pizza? Scaciatta from Alessi Bakery, of course.

                                                        1. re: lowtone9

                                                          Last I knew, Alessi's Bakery stopped making pizzas a couple of years ago. Don't know why because they were great. There is a "related" Alessi's restaurant, but their pizza isn't even close to that made at their original bakery.

                                                          1. re: TIMS45

                                                            I don't get back as much as I'd like these days. Give this a try, and if you don't like it I'll buy lunch. Sometime.


                                                      2. For straight up NY style pizza, I don't how it could get any better than Paci's on S Dale Mabry. Don't get take-out; sit down and eat that thing right out of the oven and it'll blow you away.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: austinjh

                                                          yeah you really must eat it there, right out of the oven. The baby mozz one with basil is the best no question. Cappys chicago is seriously proof that God loves us though.

                                                          1. re: askdrtodd

                                                            Yeah I like it a lot too. I always want to get the chicago style when I go with friends to Cappy's, but no one ever seems to be down with the idea. I don't know when deep dish got such a bad reputation.

                                                            As for Paci's, i'm gonna have to try that style next time. If anyone considers a great crust the most important component of an excellent pizza, whether it's NY style at Paci's or Napolitano at Pizzaiolo Bavaro, it really is best to eat it within minutes of it leaving the oven. It's a shame, but a crisp crust starts to soften so quickly.

                                                            1. re: austinjh

                                                              Eddie & Sams downtown is pretty solid too

                                                          2. re: austinjh

                                                            That's the way to go with a Paci's pie -- eat it there. However, I live less than one minute away so getting it to go isn't much of a step down. I come flying in the door with everything already set (bev of choice, plate, napkin, etc.) and get straight on with it; it's still got that little bit of snap to the crust that a true NYC pie has. Still my #1 in Tampa.

                                                            1. re: EdC

                                                              HA! thats exactly what i do, I have everything set and ready so when i get home with the pie, its CHOW time!!! Heat leftovers in the toast r oven, or in a flat pan for crispyness..

                                                          3. Cappy's is terrific as well. And Alfonso's is pretty damn good, too.

                                                            I really don't understand the appeal of Sally O' Neil's. It always seems MOR to me; like most places on Howard, it seems to get by on an inflated reputation. And, in Sally's case, that they've managed to stay open for a few decades. Kinda like boring old Bella's across the street.

                                                            1. Marco's Pizza on Gandy Blvd.........Great Pizza

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: kayed

                                                                I will give Marco's a try. I like Paci's and Cappy's but to me Wood Fired on Bearss is in a class by itself.

                                                                1. re: bimmertimmer

                                                                  I get around and explore at lunch time, and usually stay home and cook for dinner where I can appear to my wife that I'm trying to eat healthier and lose weight...

                                                                  I often like to hit places during off hours to avoid bad service, noise, and chaos...

                                                                  I'm heartbroken that the two places I've been inspired to pillage-- Paci's & Cappy's--- both open at 5:00PM for dinner only...

                                                                  To me that's too fancypants of a concept for a pizza place, and disappointing...

                                                                  Looking forward to experiencing the Wood Fired place on Bearss!

                                                                  1. re: Mild Bill

                                                                    is cappys on Florida just south of Hillsborough open for lunch? that would be awesome... the one in st pete is open for lunch on fridays and saturdays.

                                                                    1. re: askdrtodd

                                                                      The website says just that one location does lunch...

                                                                      It's Ok, I won't starve...

                                                                      1. re: Mild Bill

                                                                        i'll meet you there for lunch sometime. just not Tuesdays. it is still open, but i prefer to go when Peter-- the owner--- is working the oven.

                                                                        1. re: andy huse

                                                                          wait which one cappys or pacis or piazzolo?

                                                                            1. re: Mild Bill

                                                                              whoof! that's a hike for me, but if you guys are going count me in :)

                                                                              1. re: askdrtodd

                                                                                Andy, I had the pistachio pizza that you recommended. It was great. I look forward to getting back to Wood Fired soon.

                                                              2. Doormet is the best pizza i have had in the Tampa area pane rustica on mac dill has fantastic flat bread pizza

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: rchristopher

                                                                  Doormet is pretty solid, I love that place, but I had Pane Rustica for lunch today and would have to say it's tough to beat...

                                                                2. Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza on McMullen Booth Rd in Clearwater is pretty close to perfection. My fiance is from New Jersey and has spent the last two years looking for a "New York Style Pizza Place" and when we went there he said "its not NJ but pretty close". They dont have a large menu so dont expect that,the salad is overpiced and not worth it but the pizza,well they prepare them "well done" so not a soggy pizza at all and def has a bite to it. If you're in the area you should def try it.

                                                                  Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
                                                                  2218 N Congress Ave, Boynton Beach, FL 33426

                                                                  The Pizza Place
                                                                  536 1st Ave N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jpandora86

                                                                    Eddie and Sam's downtown Tampa is my go to for authentic NY pizza. The atmosphere is dead on for a local NY pizzaria.

                                                                  2. Try The WoodFire Pizza near at USF. It's a pretty decent place, not so big not so small with a cool ambiance. The pizza there is amazing.I guess the wood fire oven has it's charm and magic :) Plus, you will see how the pizza chief do his thing in the kitchen, since it has an open kitchen setting.The prices are reasonable, the only downside is that you have to wait for about 20 mins for your pizza since it is made to order.Hope this helps.

                                                                    1. Pan y Vino--Casa Tina's companion resto in Dunedin--recently switched its menu from tapas to pizza and wow, it's really great. I wouldn't recommend it for those NY-style or Chicago-style purists; except for a couple traditional pizzas like margherita and veggie, the offerings are quite innovative. My favorite is the pistachio with pesto. Also delish are the one with fig spread, goat cheese (although we had feta on ours--DH is not a chevre fan), and basil as well as their Mexican chorizo pizza. This is certainly a bit upscale from your typical pizzeria, but give it a try if you are looking for something a little different and happen to be in the Dunedin area.

                                                                      1. The Best Pizza I have found in Pinellas County, which can be considered Tampa Bay, is my 7 kids restaurant on US 19 in Palm Harbor. The owners are from Staten Island so they have the NY vibe down. They visit the tables just like the owners of NY restaurants do plus the pizza is crispy without having to order it well done. That never happens around here.

                                                                        1. I'm a Tampa guy and typically go to Eddie and Sam's or Pizzaiolo Bavaro downtown. E&S is more of a typical NY pizzeria, order a slice or a chicken roll. Their Sicilian slice is good too, if it’s available. PB has more of an authentic Italian feel. Their pasta dishes are great, homemade ravioli, but we typically get a dining certificate from CLTampa, since it could be a bit pricey. I also like Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. It was started by a Brooklyn transplant from South Florida, great concept and pizza for a franchise. I’ve heard about and plan to try Wood Fired Pizza near USF and Christino’s in Clearwater, but haven’t been there yet. They are on the list though.

                                                                          Cappy’s in Seminole Heights makes a quality pie, but they really aren’t NY pizza. They do have hot ovens that make a great crust though. I hate when pizzeria’s put their pizza on a tray when they cook it. The crust just doesn’t come out right. Cappy’s doesn’t, by the way.

                                                                          There is a cool beer bar downtown St. Pete call the Old Northeast Tavern. I think it’s on the corner of 7th Ave North and 2nd Street. They have some great beers on draft. There is a small pizzeria attached to the side of the tavern and I think it’s called Old Northeast Pizza on 2nd Street. It’s probably the best slice I’ve had in the bay area for a true NY style pizza. We ordered a bunch of pies to go last year when I had all my NYC relatives in town for my wedding and there were no complaints. They are cash only and there is little room to eat there, but, if you order the pie to go and go to the Tavern for a beer, they will bring the pie to you!

                                                                          I love pizza, and wish there were some brick oven places in the area!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: rmhokies

                                                                            I like Old Northeast Pizza's crust . . . just make sure they go light in the sauce - they tend to overdo it.

                                                                          2. I think ABC Pizza is hands down the best, when we visit the west coast that's where we go. Being from CT ourselves (they are orignally from there as well) it's the only pizza I have found to be like pizza from the New England area!! Now I only have one complaint, they need to open one on the Treasure Coast.

                                                                            1. i am from New York 5 towns area then brooklyn for 12 years i know a true NY style pie...BILLYS STADIUM CAFE AND PIZZERIA is across from yankees spring training field (george stienbrenner field) this is the best italian ny pie ive had since i left or visited back home!!! HANDS DOWN !! ..this guy is fairly new from what i hear however...hes going to be around a while serving the pizza he does...family owned place...nice clean and cozed...they deliver too:-) 4406 n cortez ave tampa 7272229314

                                                                              1. *edit* Sorry, didn't mean to reply to a bumped up old thread.

                                                                                Either way... What is wrong with Mellow Mushroom?

                                                                                1. There's some really good NY style pizza in NY, or so i hear. Can't stand the stuff myself.