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Pizza in Austin

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I am moving to Austin temporarily for work and love pizza. How are the offerings there? Some out of towners are coming for a long weekend whilst I am there. What are some MUST do dining spots. Mexican recommendations most welcomed.

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  1. The pizza question depends heavily on what you expect from a pizza. There has been a lot of discussion on the topic, which may help you to find the best in Austin and also to compare pizza in Austin to what you may be used to.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/93321
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/386676

    Recommendations in general and for Mexican food in particular are, as you would expect, such a common topic that earlier posts have a wealth of information that usually don't get repeated each time the question is asked. Here are a few to get you started.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/400029 for good down-home choices in many genres
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/372370 or some well-researched advice to visitors

    All the topics I've linked to include further links to other discussions. I hope they help you to consider the kinds of things you'd like to try. If they raise any specific questions, I'm sure they will attract the attention of some of our resident experts.

    Welcome to Austin.

    1. Must do dining spots for you are:

      Pizza: Frank & Angie's

      Mexican: Fonda San Miguel, Guero's, Maudie's and Chuy's

      1. Mangia is my favorite pizza in Austin. And you must try the Mangia fries also, they are great.

        1. I'm partial to Homeslice and Eastside Pies. I also love the Prosciutto and Arugula and Lardon pizzas at Mandola's and Enoteca respectively.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Homero

            I second Homeslice and East Side Pies-- my two favorite in town. Reale's, Salvation and Saccone's are also worth a try.

            1. re: brattpowered

              I love pizza, too! My Austin favs are: Rounder's, Saccone's, Mangia (Chicago-style), Homeslice & Enoteca. I have also had a good slice at Mandola's... but, it has been a bit inconsistent.

          2. The best pizza in Austin (as far as I can tell) is at Enoteca Vespaio. Whole thread on Enoteca located here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378902

            The pizza at Enoteca is more Italian-style (I suppose), and not at all like the pizza I grew up eating (major chain pizza or St. Louis-style pizza, which Austin does not offer).

            I've never had authentic NY pizza in NY, but the general consensus of the Pizza Elite here on Chowhound Austin is that our city doesn't do a very good job on this front. That being said, Homeslice is a lot better than the options surrounding me in Far South Austin (Yaghi's, Double Dave's, and the major chains), and decisively better than the overhyped Saccone's.

            For Chicago-style pizza, I have no clue. I haven't seen it in Austin.

            Re: Mexican recommendations, I suggest El Meson.

            3 Replies
            1. re: tom in austin

              For far south austin pizza, try Milano on Stassney or Manchaca.

              1. re: achtungpv

                Thanks for the tip! I'm desperate at this point!

                1. re: tom in austin

                  i dontk now if youve probably already tried and hated it, but personally my favorite pizza is the sicilian from al jons on oltorf/burton. the owners are chinese so at first glance youd be suspicious but in my opinion theyve got some of the best pizza in austin

            2. As a native Texan I am perhpas not the most qualified person to comment on pizza, but I work for a New Yorker (now displaced in Houston) who insists on eating at Homeslice every time he comes to town. He claims it is one of the best slices he has had since moving to Texas. Superlative claims aside, I think the food is great, and they have great dessert and coffee, which is not the case at most pizza places. From the food to the local tap beers to the decor it is obvious that they have paid great attention to detail.
              Along with Eastside Pies and Salvation, Homeslice completes the trifecta of great Austin pizza joints. Highly recommended!

              2 Replies
              1. re: tipsytexan

                I've not eaten at several of the favorites (Eastside, Salvation, etc.). However, I've eaten at Homeslice a few times and was enormously underwhlemed. It was okay, but not great and certainly not New York Style. From what I've tried, Rounders is the most NY style I've had.

                And, yes, I moved here from New York. Try a regular pie (cheese) or perhaps the sausage, maybe add ricotta and tomatoes if you're feeling crazy. More than a couple of toppings automatically makes a pizza *not* 'New York style'...Oh, and ask for it well done to get that 'authentic' crunch...It's no Grimaldi's or even Joe's, but it's not bad.

                1. re: AustinBear

                  Reviving this thread because last night, I finally got to try Homeslice. I too was underwhelmed. First of all, it was a Wednesday night and there was a 45 minute wait. I did appreciate that they had outdoor seating, and that I could chug a coffee/beer while I waited, though, and the drinks were just added to our dinner ticket. My party of four (along with some mosquitos) waited the full 45 before we were seated in a table at the center of this very popular and crowded establishment. I couldnt remember what others on CH had said about the style of the crust, so my mind was open. We had a margherita pie and a pepperoni w/mushroom. One dining companion had a side salad which I did not try, but which looked delicious (nice mix of dark leafy spring greens/no romaine) from afar. I wished I knew her well enough to ask for a bite...The cheese on my margherita was pretty good, but the crushed tomatoes on the pie were a bit bland/mealy to me. The basil was julienned rather than kept whole (my personal preference is to have whole leaves) and the edges of basil were brown as though chopped w/a dull knife, but that may be a neurotic thing most people would not mind. The crust was flavourful enough, a bit olive oily, but chewy/spongy which is not my preference. If you like that type of crust then, perhaps Homeslice is for you. My SO said his pizza would have been better sans mushrooms, though he didnt explain why specifically. All I know is that he usually likes shrooms but picked them off his pizza. All in all it was circa $60 with tax and tip for two medium pizzas, 4 shiners, one americano, and one side salad. For that price I think we'd have had a much better time eating pizza at Enoteca or Salvation. I do feel compelled to mention that our server at Homeslice was very polite and attentive, which was cool for a laid back place. And as an aside, IMO Salvation has improved in the past couple months. The service is still lacking, but I think the pizza quality is becoming tastier and more consistent. If you didn't like it when they first opened (as I did not) you may want to give them another shot. I usually order their "white pie" (#1 I believe).

              2. I lived in Austin about 20 years ago and loved Conan's Pizza and Mama's Pizza. Are either of those still around down there?

                5 Replies
                1. re: bards4

                  Conan's is definitely still around with the very thick crust and Frank Frazetta wall art (with some Tomb Raider for good measure, I guess).

                  Has anyone actually tried the pizza at NXNW? It is a nice wood-burning stone oven, which while not entirely a great wood stove for baking, looked to be doing the crust well and cooking a good pizza. It's not a pizzerie and the toppings/choices can be a bit nouveau, but I'm still intrigued.

                  1. re: ScoobyMoo

                    20 years, and the barbarians are still on the wall. Probably still has the graffiti I scratched in the bathroom, too. I lived on their slice and salad lunch (with mozzarella cheese and creamy Italian dressing) when I was in college.

                    1. re: ScoobyMoo

                      I'm no pizza expert, but the $4.95 Happy Hour pies ( 4-7 every day) are an excellent value and delicious. They offer an artichoke, mozzarella pie and a pepperoni mushroom on their happy hour menu. The crust is thin, but still chewy, and the sauce is probably canned tomaties, but never tastes tinny. I'd have to think pies off the menu with more ingredients would fare just as well.

                      1. re: brunettepet

                        Sorry, it's not a pepperoni pizza, it's sausage with marinara sauce. The artichoke pizza has pesto and roasted red peppers rather than tomato sauce. We had sausage this afternoon, the sausage was a bit on the salty side, but married well with the marinara. Maybe 10", easily shared over beers.

                    2. re: bards4

                      Did anyone ever answer if Mama's pizza was back in Austin? I know they were in San Marcos, TX as well. Both have closed, but it was awesome pizza.

                    3. I just gave Giovanni's trailer at the South Lamar Mobil station a try, and I'm pretty pleased. I thought it was a lot better than the standard fare, though I don't really have a lot of experience with exceptional pies.

                      Good crust, dense, but light and good taste. Great arrabiata with big tomato flavor and a little bit of bite. About 80% cheese coverage. Fresh spinach, garlic and red onions along with mild sliced Italian sausage.

                      There were a lot of folks standing around, and it's pretty amazing to watch Giovanni, his wife and his son negotiate such close quarters and get it all done and done well.

                      I'd love to hear the more experienced Hounds' takes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Twill

                        Giovanni's is one of my favorites in town. It's casual and always good. The owner (named Juan, not Giovanni for some reason) is a terrific guy who is always ready to strike up a easy conversation with his patrons while they wait for their meals. The pastas are surprisingly good seeing as they come out of a trailer for $8 or less. I've tried the shrimp linguine which was cooked perfectly (shrimp moist and tender, pasta al dente) and contained ample pieces of fresh spinach, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and shrimp.

                        I wouldn't say their pizza is the best in town (the crust has a few faults and the mozzarella could be fresh), but it's definitely one of my favorite new places in town. I live about a 30 minutes away, but I still try to make the pilgrimage to giovanni's whenever I can find the time.

                      2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Austin Pizza Garden on 290 in Oak Hill. I've always loved their crust--almost like a cracker at the edges, but somehow also chewy. We fell in love with the basil-walnut sauce option, and don't get marinara sauce at all any more. My fave is Italian Sausage-Sun Dried Tomatoes-Sauteed Red Onions on the basil-walnut. I couldn't tell you if that's a NY-style crust or not, but it's the best I've had anywhere in Austin. (I used to like the Pizza Nizza crust, if anyone remembers that place.)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: artsie

                          I have to say I don't much like Austin Pizza Garden, though I really wanted to since it is very close to me. I will say that I haven't been there in at least 2 years, so hopefully it is better. Sorry, but the crust reminded me of the crust you make when using Bisquick.

                          1. re: TroyTempest

                            TroyTempest, I've been going to Austin Pizza Garden for a couple of years, so things must have changed since your visit. The crust is the best part, and I haven't tasted another one like anywhere in Austin. It's thin, crusty at the edge, and somehow they manage to get it crunchy and chewy at the same time.

                        2. I am partial to Austin's Pizza (for delivery anyway). The price is in the same neighborhood as some of the nasty national chains, but the quality of the food is stellar.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Delled

                            I like Austin's Pizza, too. The pies from the 12th Street location are better than the ones from the Research Blvd store near my house. : (
                            Caution, though, we ordered their wings as a side one day when we had a crowd to feed and they were horrible. And a few years ago their prices were a LOT lower.

                          2. Finally had Home Slice on Saturday. The crust wasn't cracker-like at all. Thin, well-browned and firm on the bottom but soft on top. Italian sausage and onions on top was awesome as was the Greek salad...which we were given free because we had to wait 15 minutes for a table.

                            I will say I LOVE Frank & Angie's pizza but I haven't had it in a year so I'll have to go test it out and compare again. I also need to try the Brick Oven on 35th since it's supposedly excellent also.

                            Right now my fav's are:
                            TIE 1. Frank & Angie's / Home Slice
                            2. Conan's
                            3. Saccone's
                            4. Milano

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: achtungpv

                              It is pretty good..not great. It is Neopolatan (sp?) style. Better than Austin's Pizza and such..Home slice is still #1 for me

                              1. re: achtungpv

                                Had Frank & Angies last night with the family. Not as good as I remember when I had it 3 years ago, but not bad. Kids liked it which is what I was going for after a long day of travel and their first airplane ride.

                              2. Has anyone been to 360 Uno? I came across it today and wondered if any fellow 'Hounds had taken the plunge. If not, I'll forage.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Twill

                                  anyone know anything about zen's pizza bistro in san marcos?

                                  1. re: platinum

                                    In San Marcos, try Italian Garden. They have excellent pizza. The owners are from Armenia (I think) and trained in Italy. Good Italian for a small town and very cheap too.

                                    1. re: platinum

                                      hey platinum,

                                      i got the chance to eat here a few days ago. i ordered a small freebird white pizza, which is sauce-less (hence the "white"), has spinach, grilled chicken tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, provolone, and pecorino. i thought it was delicious! their selection of beer is larger than most san marcos pizza joints, too. lots of good stuff on tap, and even more by the bottle.

                                      a disclaimer: i'm no pizza snob, not in the least. i don't know "authentic pie" from my right arm, and pizza in san marcos has been realllllly lacking anyway, for the most part, so i'm pretty damn happy to have zen's as an option.

                                  2. Cippolina's...on West Lynn.....why has no one mentioned this place for Pizza. It's my favorite. Is there something wrong with me? Do I not really know what pizza is?
                                    Oh, i almost forgot.......The White Pizza at Asti is divine.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: scoutaustin

                                      I just had a Cippolina pizza, and yes, it was very good. My sis lives in the hood and she often get's their happy hour pizza to go. Nice char, you can taste the crust, and the fennel sausage is great.

                                      No one ever responds to this, but I like Conan's pizza, but only ordered at the Burnet/Anderson location like this:

                                      White crust
                                      Pepperoni and double onions
                                      Cooked crispy
                                      Not extra sauce, but enough sauce

                                      Don't take it to go - eat inside with a Michelob, and bring your own parmesean cheese.

                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                        We love conans as well! We'll try *the rudeboy special* next time we go. Sounds good.

                                        1. re: scoutaustin

                                          It just tastes better with KLBJ and those crazy illustrations. Let me know if you like it.....not that I normally listen to KLBJ, but when I eat Conan's, I do!

                                        2. re: rudeboy

                                          Hi,

                                          Is it odd for Conan's to charge 40 cents for the 'to go' box? I've never run into that before ....

                                          1. re: anjgupta

                                            I hand't noticed, but maybe I wasn't paying attention. I guess times are tough!

                                            1. re: anjgupta

                                              But if you get it to go, you don't get to enjoy the 70's barbarian decor. Unless of course your house is decorated as such.

                                        3. For delivery in south austin, Southside Flying Pizza is really good. The crust (appropriately salted, nice bite, not too dense but still a bit of breadiness to it), sauce (not too sweet, a little heat, fresh tasting), and cheese are what I like in pizza. If I'm dining in I usually hit Homeslice (close to home) or Conan's (close to work for lunch). Yaghi's, Saccones, I'm just meh on. It's like all the grease of the pizza I used to eat in Boston without the tasty crust and sauce. I like Austin Pizza just OK. It's good for a big family thing or office thing. That Mangieri's in south south Austin is terrible and to be avoided.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: shanntastic

                                            you're so right about mangieri's! we had a coupon or something and dined in one time. i really liked the menu a lot, but when we ordered a lunch pizza and calzone, they were pretty tasteless, particularly the marinara that came w/ the calzone. the staff was so friendly, though, that i think i was distracted from the tastelessness. a second time, we ordered a pizza and calzone for delivery. again, utterly tasteless. needed so much seasoning. that time, i remember we got Anthony's which has spinach, cream cheese, basil, tomato, mozzarella, and artichokes. i'm all about those ingredients, but it was just so bland. oh well, they tried.

                                          2. Besides the white pizza at Asti, the only pizza I crave is at Brick Oven on 35th St. It's very cozy on a chilly evening (remember those?), but great pizza is served there consistently. We love the Vegetarian (though we're not) and the Marg. They'll ask you if you want jalapenos on the Vegetarian, and we order with, then pull the jalapenos off with our fork, so just their roasted, smoky essence remains. I find if I eat the jalapenos that they mask some of the delicious sauce. The crust is my favorite in town: thin and crispy, with a bit of chew to the center. I hear the calzones are great, too, but we're stuck in our rut here and loving it. Also, I find the pizzas at many of these other places way too salty, but the seasoning is mostly right on here.

                                            1. Mangia is the best pizza imo, alot of ppl like East Side Pies, I'm friends with one of the owners, but I will say that it depends on the day you go there, it's not always good. Their stuff is all made there, like their sausage and pesto, which helps.

                                              1. yaghi's. i know of two locations. one is in sw austin (near the costco) and one in cedar park (lakeline blvd and, I think, 1431). huge, thin, cheesey slices. i think it's the best pizza around especially if you like thin crust (I'm from NY).

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: nwa

                                                  I've only been to the Wm. Cannon location, but I like Yaghi's, depending on what you get. If you stick with the traditional types (cheese, pepperoni, sausage, etc) they are pretty good. Typically they get the crust pretty close to right. (Homeslice on a good day, I'd consider done right) Yaghi's black olive has california olives. (as does the greek salad) A common thing, not preferred on pizza, but blasphemous on the salad. Veggie pizzas typically have undercooked veggies, not my preference in pizzas.

                                                2. If you want NY-style pizza with ambience and attitude to match, go to Slices and Ices. Most other places in Austin doing NY-style don't really understand what a NY pizzeria is supposed to be. That's my (admittedly biased... yet nonetheless accurate!) opinion. If you want to go out to a nice-ish joint or something, that's a different story.

                                                  1. you know, I have had Craig O's Pizza several times now, and I have really enjoyed them. The BBQ Chicken pizza was excellent. I know there are a couple of locations on the southside of Austin and one in San Marcos.

                                                    1. The best pizza in Austin is, ironically, in Round Rock. Brooklyn Pie Company http://brooklynpie.com/ at 2711 La Frontera, easily reached from IH35 or the tollway. This is much better than Saccone's (now closed) and Reale's. As a bonus, the lunch slice special is huge. I am a pizza fanatic and have been disappointed at most of the places mentioned in this thread. I will eat Mangia's when I just have to have a Chicago style fix but really, Mangia's is a pale imitation of the real thing. You are better off ordering frozen Lou Malnatti's.

                                                      1. If you like NY/NJ style pizza, head straight for Hoboken Pie at 718 Red River (across from Stubb's). It's just a small, no-nonsense place that's only been open since May, and I've just been there once but will be coming back. A large (20") regular pie with one topping runs about $18 with tax, and they also sell slices at the window. There are a couple of small tables inside, but it's mainly a takeout joint. When I brought home a large-with-extra-cheese to my wife, a proud North Jersey girl who's rather particular about her pizza, she took one look at it and exclaimed, "Now, that's pizza! That's a Jersey pie!" They're generous with the toppings, and the crust has a nice firm char to it that you don't see a lot in Austin pizza. Their website is at www.hobokenpie.com.

                                                        -----
                                                        Hoboken Pie
                                                        718 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: luggage512

                                                          Walked down there yesterday for lunch and got a slice and a soda for $4 (tax included). They had two pizzas already made and sitting out... one cheese + pepperoni and one with a smattering of different toppings. They put the slice in the oven upon ordering. I thought it was better than average....nicely charred crust; standard pepperoni and cheese; I don't remember the sauce being offensive.

                                                        2. I've never personally experienced "true New-York pizza" or anything of the sort, as I've never really been out of Texas. I like all different styles and types of crust. What really makes a good pizza for me is creativity and super high quality ingredients. That being said, my favorite pizza around has to be East Side Pies. I never thought I could survive being vegetarian until I tried an artichoke, spinach, and mushroom pizza from there and realized I could die happy the moment after I was done. Slices and Ices is pretty good too for some good, down-home, simple pizza. I am not, however, a fan of the "ices" there, as they taste very artificial. Mandola's has some pretty good pizza if you can actually tear yourself away from the other delectable menu items - great ingredients, imported from Italy. Double Dave's has a good deep-dish pan pizza, and their honey whole wheat crust is great, but I'm not a fan of their thin-crust or hand-tossed pizzas. Their toppings aren't of the highest quality either, but they're good if you're eating there for the sake of convenience. Everyone here raves about Mangia's, but I don't like it. To be fair, I'm the ONLY person I know who doesn't like it. Though to my credit, I am a chef, but a pastry chef at that so I don't know how much credit that warrants in judging pizza. However, I think that everyone just seems to be more in love with the idea of a true pizza pie rather than Mangia's pizza itself. They're just the only one's around who offer it. Their sauce is entirely too sweet for me, the crust is the flavor of a saltine cracker, and every time I get a pizza with meat it comes out extremely fatty (stay AWAY from the bacon). It's pretty obvious that their toppings aren't that fresh either, because when I asked if I could have a spinach pizza without all the garlic, they told me no because they had it shipped in pre-mixed.

                                                          1. Has anyone tried the eggplant pie at Home Slice? I'm intrigued.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: bookgrrl72

                                                              the eggplant at home slice is delicious! It's very thin, breaded lightly and then cut up and spread all over the cheese and sauce.

                                                            2. Any recommendations on Bufalina?

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Tehama

                                                                Bufalina is the bomb, get the Fresca.

                                                                1. re: Tehama

                                                                  We ate a Bufalina this past Saturday night and definitely give it two thumbs up. We had the pizza with charred brussel sprouts on it (I forget the name) and the margherita. In my opinion, it was evenly prepared with above-average ingredients used. The brussels sprouts option was really fantastic and the margherita was certainly very good, though I've probably had ones that were superior to it in other Neopolitan-style pizza restaurants (see certified Vera Pizza Napoletana restaurants at http://americas.pizzanapoletana.org [Bufalina is *not* certified, so I can't judge them the same, of course).

                                                                  The staff and service at Bufalina were fantastic, and it was nice to take a bottle of wine outside and relax while we were waiting on our table. Inside, the seating seems to be on the communal side, though we did have a 2-top for ourselves.

                                                                  One thing we noticed is that the owner [presumably] seems to be a micro-manager, doing all the pizza cooking himself. It slowed down the food delivery noticeably, but we weren't in a rush. The ambiance was very nice.

                                                                  www.bufalinapizza.com