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Best Pizza in Raleigh

I have been searching for the past two years with limited success. I am partial to Bella Monica, Milton's, Vic's (downtown) and the occasional trip to Silvia's on Hillsbourgh St. I am open asking for suggestions, favorite orders, and places to avoid.

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  1. We usually hit Lily's in Five Points when in Raleigh. Funky atmosphere, outdoor seating for warm days, and really good food. http://www.lillyspizza.com/

    1. My personal favorite is Picolla Italia in Cameron Village. I've been going there for 20+ years and still love it. It's not a fancy place (and conversely it's not the cheapest pizza in town either) but I love it! I am also a fan of Bella Monica and Vic's in City Market.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Speedy

        I went to Picolla Italia last weekend for the first time, and I was very dissapointed. We ordered the garlic knots and one of the "speciality pizzas". The knots were average but the tomato sauce for dipping tasted like a cheap canned brand. We order a Margarita pizza expecting what is typically served at other restaurants -- Fresh Moz, sliced tomato and fresh basil. What we got was a cheese pizza with some basil that was far from fresh. One person in our party order a single slice of cheese pizza and her pizza was identical to ours minus the basil! If I would have know this we would have order a cheese pizza and saved 5 bucks! Sorry to sound so critical, but the pizza was no better than what you expect to find at a takeout chain.

        1. re: Raleigh Guy

          I'm very sorry to hear that and I won't make an excuse for them. Still, I've had very few bad experiences there in my 20 years of eating there, so if you feel up to it give them another chance. Also, the pizza is really the only thing I find remarkable there - the other menu items are solid, but certainly not great.

      2. I will give them another try, it could have been a bad day.

        1. I like Lily's for creative or non-traditional pizzas. For traditional NY-style I'm a big fan of Pizza Italia on Westgate Rd. I know some people have had less than perfect pies there and, to be honest, so have I. There's something about pizza that seems to defy 100% consistency. However they are on most of the time and the place has the vibe of a NY neighborhood place. They will do a Sicilian on request although I still prefer the round pies. And if you like that kind of thing, their meatballs are awesome.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rockycat

            I have only tried Lily's once, and that was for lunch (by the slice). I will try it again for dinner. Any others that you recommend?

          2. take a drive to Chapel Hill. you can't go wrong with Peppers Pizza on Franklin Street.

            2 Replies
            1. re: strephking

              I have tried Pepper's many times, and agree that it is good. Any other pizza places you recommend in the triangle that are worth the drive?

              1. re: strephking

                pepper's? no way? greasy, bland slices. for the best pizza in the triangle, you need to go to Alfredo's


              2. there is decent pizza to be found if you don't go looking for your classic "ny" style pizza (which if you read food blogs like Sliceny, it seems to be a dying art).

                I dig Moonlight @ the corner of Boylan & Morgan. Not only for the good pies, but the pleasant atmosphere and nice waitstaff. They have a nice outside area, and a full bar.

                Lily's, is inconsistent, but it is at this point a fixture & like Pepper's (not sure if this still holds) a punk rock right of employement passage.

                I haven't been in a year, but I always enjoyed Brooklyn Boys in Cary.

                Does anyone know the scoop on Daniel's Pizza Pasta in Apex. They used to have awesome food, I haven't been there in eons.

                Bella Monica, yes has good pies. In fact, you can buy them at Whole Foods!

                3 Replies
                1. re: RaleighRocker

                  I agree about Moonlight, I have had some great pies there, although the wait staff has been hit or miss. I have been to Daniel's for pasta, and that was very good, I want to get back for a pizza. Also, I think the Margarita Pizza at Bella Monica is the toast of the town as far as pizza goes. So fresh, and flavor balance is just right. Let me know if you have any other suggestions.

                  1. re: Raleigh Guy

                    Based on your recommendation my wife and I went to Bella Monica's last night. We had the Margarita Pizza with pepperoni. It was great, and the The Duck-Rabbit Rabid Duck Russian Imperial Stout was great. Beat Guinness by a long shot.

                    Bella Monica Restaurant
                    3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

                  2. re: RaleighRocker

                    I have enjoyed Daniels Pizza and everything else there for years, but for some strange reason for the past year it seems the food and service is taking a dive. Specifically, twice I have had my Pizza served burned black on the bottom that any idiot could see. They took it back, and did another one each time, but of course, I sat there twiddling my thumbs while everyone else was eating. We won't not go back, but I have no desire to do so since the second exact same problem with the Pizza. As an aside the restaurants in Apex look great, but I have not found one lately that is worth raving about or recommending.

                  3. Vivace has a fabulous Margarita pizza!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: raleighgurl

                      Where is this? I LOVE Margarita pizza. See post about about the M pizza at Bella Monica.

                      1. re: Raleigh Guy

                        Intersection of Weston and Harrison in Cary. It is in the same center as the Bone Fish Grill, but on the opposite side in the next group of shops going west. Go around the corner going by Ruth Criss, and drive down that side of the street with the shops on your right and the apartments on your left. You pass an open area, and then Bella Monica is just on the right on the corner.

                        Bella Monica Restaurant
                        3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

                        1. re: dvhartley

                          You've just given excellent directions for Bella Mia which you are confusing with Bella Monica. Bella Monica is in the shopping center at the intersection of Duraleigh and Edwards Mill Rd.

                          Both are good, but Bella Monica has a flatbread type of pizza. Bella Mia has a coal fired pizza - more NY style.

                          Bella Monica Restaurant
                          3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

                          Bella Mia
                          2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

                          1. re: TerryG

                            Too many Bells, but it was very good.

                    2. agree that pepper's is sorely lacking. sadly, this is relatively recent as a development (at least recent in the lifespan of pepper's, which is pretty long). IP3, if you get it well done and eat it there, is pretty damn good pizza, IMHO. Also love Alfredo's.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HeelsSoxHound

                        pepper's is closed anyway, since they are moving to a new location on franklin street.

                        IP3 is great, but I only go on tuesday because of the pitcher of beer + 1 large cheese pizza for 10 dollars special.

                      2. I love Lilly's, for all the reasons mentioned. And I agree that Moonlight can be hit or miss, particularly since the original owners sold it (one of which, I believe, helped to start Lilly's). It's still a nice place to sit outside.

                        Speaking of which, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Mellow Mushroom on the corner of Peace and Glenwood. That's always fun ---

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cackalackie

                          thanks for the reply. I have been going to MM for years on a regular basis. Recently the quality of pizza has dropped, at least the consistency of quality. I have gotten pizza that was very bad recently, as if the dough did not rise (hard as a brick). I agree that the outdoor seating and atmoshere is great and a fun place to spend an evening with friends.

                        2. it seems all the Mellow Mushrooms are hit or miss... the last pie I got from the MM in Wilmington was horrible.

                          1. Frank's on New Bern heading towards Rocky Mount has really good crust though some of the toppings can be less then stellar

                            1. I didn't even mention the Mellow Mushroom just for it being a chain and not local pizza, and their bad hippie/shroom puns.

                              1. RaleighGuy, I meant to add, I love Milton's for a greek (well greek oriented) pizza. If you guys have kids, this is the best place to take them. Milton's is on Strickland & Six Forks next to Borders.

                                1. Does anyone think that Lily's crust is too sweet? I do like their pizza, but the crust just isn't right.

                                  The best pizza in the area is at my friend's house, who cut off the lock to his oven so he can cook his pies during the self-cleaning cycle!

                                  1. Salvios (shopping center corner of Old apex and Cary Pkway) in Cary is very good.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: toolprincess

                                      Is this a sit down place or just take out? Any other suggestions in Cary?

                                      1. re: Raleigh Guy

                                        They have some tables --- I know they do individual slices so I'm sure they get a pretty good lunch business.

                                    2. For NY Style I would recommend P&S Pizza in Apex. Old Italian couple from NY that put out some excellent NY Style Pizza. I also like NY Pizza across from SAS in Cary. I think I might be in the minority on that one. I also am a fan of Pizza Italia on Westgate. P&S and Pizza Italia are similar in the feel of the place. I live in Durham and Pizza is a struggle. Randy's in ok, but I do enjoy Cinelli's Sicilian Pie.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: chops

                                        thanks for the suggestions. If you can think of any others please let us know

                                        1. re: chops

                                          You're not alone. NY Pizza in Cary is pretty decent. I used to go there regularly until Pizza Italia opened. Pizza Italia is a lot more convenient for me and, I think, a bit better. Still wouldn't knock NY Pizza for a Cary choice, though.

                                          1. re: rockycat

                                            I must sing the praises of Annas in Apex. Many speciality pies, excellent crust and right amount of toppings.

                                            1. re: countgrog

                                              We found out about Anna's about 2 years ago from an article in the N&O. Became regulars - their pizza (and lasagna) was very good.

                                              However, their sanitation scores have dropped dramatically. The last straw for us was when we found they were storing bread in plastic trash bags, and using garbage cans (turned over) to hold pizza pans. *This from a WRAL TV restaurant ratings review. They've had 2 reviews over the past 4 - 5 months and both indicated severly lacking sanitation practices.

                                              It's sad, because we really enjoyed going there. Maybe the old saying is true: Perhaps it's good we don't know...

                                              1. re: goodeatsinadive

                                                That seems to be an Apex restaurant trait.

                                                1. re: dvhartley

                                                  Really? Hadn't paid that much attention to Apex, however watching their reports, I don't understand how any place in Fuquay-Varina stays open. Looks like they all struggle to get to low "A's".

                                                  While I will occasionally eat in a "dive" joint (mainly burgers, dogs, or bbq), a family oriented place like Anna's not only could, but should, do better at sanitation. It will be a LONG time and several running high "A" sanitation grades before we go back in there, if at all.

                                                  They can blame it on the employees (if they choose to do so), but training and supervision of the employees is the responsibility of owners/management. From what I know, one of the owners works in the place almost every day. Unexcusable.

                                        2. I may be biased because its almost walking distance from me but Tony's on Glenwood is just awesome! I know that some people are not interested in traditional NY style based on the convo I am seeing but they truly are great!

                                          1. This is as good a place as any to highlight some "misinformation" going around about Fuhgeddaboutit Pizza in N. Raleigh. Based on whose tweets and FB entries you may be looking at, they either are or are not closed. In short, the Cary location was sold to a minority partner who kept the Fuhgeddabouit name. The N. Raleigh location has changed names to Camos Bros, same as the Chapel Hill store. Nothing else about it has changed. Same food, decor, owners, etc. Both stores are open under different ownership and there is no association between the two stores.

                                            No, I have no association with the business or its owners. I just would hate to lose a good workday lunch option because two sets of owners are fighting with each other.

                                            1. Another fantastic place, IMHO, is Bella Mia in the Arboretum in Cary off Harrison. They use a coal-fired oven, and the pizzas are relatively small, thin, cripsy crust, and like nothing else I've had in this area. Unbelievably good.

                                              Be warned: This is not your "usual" pizza. If you've been to smilar coal-fired pizza places in NYC or Phoenix (oddly enough), you'll know what this is like. The menu is limited, and it can get crowded with a wait, but again in my opinion everything on the menu is fresh, very flavorful, and crazy-good.

                                              Bella Mia
                                              2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

                                              1. OP mentioned Silvia's - which was my favorite in Raleigh but they've since closed or moved. Amante's is now my go-to pizza and Cinelli's is usually pretty good.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Leadmine

                                                  4 places I like in Durham which are all different:

                                                  Broad Street Cafe - coal fired pizza I believe
                                                  Italian Pizzeria

                                                  Broad Street Cafe
                                                  104 W Broad St, Saint Pauls, NC 28384

                                                  1. re: steveindurham3

                                                    Steve, how is broad street cafe? I've heard mixed reviews about them. Never had coal fired pizza before and am intriuged - bbq pizza maybe? LOL.

                                                    BTW, got your PM about Capital BBQ; plan on trying it this week. We saw it the other night on the way to Shucker's at Heritage.

                                                2. No better pizza around than Bella Mia in Cary. From the minute we walked in, we were converted. Just my opinion but the new true Italian pizzas made with Italian flour, San Marzanos or other good tomatoes and truly fresh cheese are a quantum leap forward in pizza making. In fact, when we travel, we now look for good pizza and we've happily found it. Pizzaria Blanco in Phoenix, Punch in Minneapolis/St Paul and Bella Mia here are our top three choices in the US. Service is excellent, the room is beautiful and the $9 lunch Margarita special which comes with a carefully dressed salad is one of the best deals I know. Great beer selection, too. If you haven't been to Bella Mia, Raleigh Guy, I don't know what you're waiting for.

                                                  Bella Mia
                                                  2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513