Are you looking for the best pizza in Pasadena, California? From authentic New York-style pizza to Napoletana-born style pizza, we have the top pizza spots you should visit.
When it comes to pizza, we all have our preferences. Some of us like thin crust, others like it thick and there is a percentage out there that truly believe pineapple belongs on pizza. Are you one of them?
While we may agree to disagree on the pineapple debacle, we can all agree that pizza is a staple in life. Even if we stripped it down to the basic ingredients… bread, cheese, and tomatoes… what’s not to like about this wonderful combination?
What’s great about pizza is that once you have a great base, it can be a blank canvas for all sorts of combinations and toppings.
Growing up around family-owned pizzerias in New York, we will admit we are particular about our pizza. And after eating many pizzas in Italy, we were basically reeducated on what amazing pizza should really taste like.
And, Dominoes is not it.
We rather make our own. And sometimes, we do.
But then there are times that the situation just calls for Dominoes, and that’s okay, too.
While California knows how to prepare a great burger –and Pasadena has some great spots for burgers– pizza is a different story. You really have to look for great pizza. It has taken us years of ordering pizza in Pasadena (and Los Angeles in general) to find pizza that reminds us to be grateful for the invention of pizza.
By the way, in case you didn’t know… legend has it, that pizza was invented in Naples, Italy by Raffaele Esposito.
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It’s all about the first bite after a fresh pie comes out of the oven. The texture of the dough, the saltiness of the cheese, and the sweetness of tomatoes meddling together. Is crust crispy enough? Is it too chewy? Is the cheese high quality? Are the tomatoes Marzano tomatoes?
You’re probably thinking we are pizza snobs. Sure. Won’t argue with that. We also tend to stick to the more classic and traditional pizza.
So it gives me great pleasure to share where you can find the best pizza in Pasadena. It’s literally one of our favorite foods and if it were up to hubby, we’d eat pizza all the time… I mean, every day.
We all have our favorite pizza joints and orders. What are yours? I’m looking to discover other pizza places in Pasadena that I haven’t tried yet and are not on this list.
Pizza in Pasadena
1. U Street Pizza
U Street Pizza recently opened next door to its sister restaurant, Union (another favorite of mine), in the heart of Old Pasadena. After reading great reviews from many Los Angeles publications as one of the best pizzerias in Los Angeles, we couldn’t wait to try it.
Now, is the hype real?
Yes. This artisan pizza is one of the best pizzas in Pasadena.
Upon them setting the pizza down in front of you, you’re instantly delighted by all the parmesan cheese generously dusted around the crust. The crust is perfectly crunchy and well done, reminiscent of NY Style Pizza. But yet, the center of the pizza was slightly tender. They absolutely cook the pizza right on the brick in the oven as you can taste the char as you bite into it.
We ordered a regular cheese pie because it’s the base of any pizzeria. How good are the ingredients? Without a doubt, U Street Pizza is using high-quality ingredients. The pizza sauce was so delicious and fragrant, the aroma and taste of basil The pizza was also covered with the right amount of cheese.
Our second pie was from their house pie… a vodka pie. This is supposedly one of the most ordered pies. Was it good? I thought the cheese pie was better. The pepperoni on the pizza was top-notch.
The cheese pie is totally worth the $20. Not sure if the others are worth the steep price of $26 and up. It’s not even a full-sized 16″ large pie. More like a medium 14″ inch pie. What do you think?
I found that the casual setting of the restaurant doesn’t fit with the high pizza prices. However, it won’t stop me from having pizza there again.
It is truly one of the most delicious pizzas in Pasadena.
For dessert, you may want to do what we did after and go for ice cream in Pasadena.
2. Luggage Room Pizzeria
For great pizza in Pasadena in a location with interesting history, you must check out the Luggage Room Pizza.
Besides its unique location and history, the Luggage Room pizzeria is all about the sourdough crust that’s cooked in a stone fire oven. The menu has unique topping combos that you probably haven’t thought of ordering before but may surprise you upon the first bite.
Now, if you’re looking for crispy pizza, this is not it. It’s more reminiscent of Napoletana pizza with its softer center and chewy dough. You might find that you need a knife and fork to eat it, just like in Italy.
The portions are similar, too. I’d say order one pizza per person unless you’re sharing a couple of appetizers. We like to get a couple of pizzas and share. If there are a few slices of leftovers we take them for lunch the next day.
Start off with bacon-wrapped dates, you won’t regret it. Then dive into a pizza with toppings of your choice.
Gluten-free pizzas are available.
WHERE TO EAT IN PASADENA
One of the best parts of Pasadena is all the delicious places to eat. Check out some of our local favorite spots.
3. Tomato Pie Pizza Joint
If you’re looking for authentic New York Style pizza in Pasadena, you will find it at Tomato Pie Pizza Joint in South Pasadena. As a friend of ours said after visiting upon our recommendation, you’ll taste New York City in every bite.
Tomato Pie Pizza Joint is a Los Angeles chain that first started on Sunset Blvd (this location no longer exists). I recently came across them in South Pasadena and couldn’t believe that it took me this long to discover them. They seriously reignited my long-lost love for New York Style Pizza.
Born and raised in New York, it’s been quite difficult to find anything close to a New York Style Pizza. Many pizzerias claim that’s what they serve, but instead, disappoint you the minute they place the pizza on a screen to cook in the oven.
Not at Tomato Pie Pizza Joint. Their pizza checked off what are the top things to look for in a New York Style Pizza:
- thin and crispy crust,
- not cooked on a screen,
- great pizza sauce
- right amount of cheese
- and grease
You guys, I wasn’t expecting much but after that crispy, melty first bite, I was in heaven.
So, if you love NY-style pizza, definitely check out Tomato Pie Pizza Joint in South Pasadena or Silverlake.
– Don’t Miss: Where to Find Mouthwatering Burgers in Pasadena –
4. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
Looking for the best Napoletana-style pizza in Pasadena? Located in the Playhouse District, Settlebello Pizzeria is the first-ever to be verified by the VPN in the US.
What is VPN? It stands for Verace Pizza Napoletana… in summary, a Naples-based association that certifies that you’re making pizza traditionally with certain high-quality ingredients, with approved equipment, and so on. You can read more about that here:
This is why you’ll see the Vera Pizza sign right along with their store sign. To indicate that it is VPN certified.
We love Settlebello’s because it’s as close to Naples, Italy as we can get around here. After watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Naples episode during the pandemic, I was craving. We got take out one night and it satisfied that craving. We’ve been back since that night a couple of times already.
Is it as good as the pizza we’ve had in Naples? It’s somewhat close. I’m not going to complain because their pizzas really are delicious. You will taste the high-quality ingredients used, the woodburning fire on the crust and it will have that soft and soupy center that you’ll find in Neapoletana pizzas. The crust is airy and soft, just like it should be.
The Margherita DOC is my go-to order. Their tiramisu for dessert is pretty good.
Gluten-free pizzas are available.
5. Cafe Bambino’s
Cafe Bambino’s is a small pizzeria on North Hill that is take-out only. Our go-to for delivery nearby and by far the best pizza around here that hits almost everything we love about a good pizza. Super thin and delicious crust. The only problem is they cook it on a screen, but it’s forgivable.
They have extra-large pies that are thin crust, layered with the right sauce and cheese. All sorts of topping combinations. One of our favorites is the Florentine pizza with spinach, garlic, olive oil, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese… no tomato sauce. Super flavorful.
Their cheese pizza is really good, too.
Leftovers from Cafe Bambino’s are even better! Just pop a slice in a toaster oven and it will come up super crisp.
If you need pizza in Pasadena delivered, check out this small business-owned pizzeria.
After years of trying pizza in Pasadena, these are the top ones that we recommend. I know there are more pizza places out there we haven’t tried and we are ready for the challenge.
What is your favorite pizza in Pasadena?
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