The Hot 12
1. Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
Aah, Lovely’s how I love thee. My favorite pie in Portland proper. The Lovely’s Fifty Fifty Pizza, served up by the wonderfully creative and spirited Sarah Minnick, although changing by week and season, consistently has everything I love on and in a pizza: organic and naturally leavened dough, locally grown produce, juicy sauces and condiments, and eggs. Also, the Fifty Fifty pie has more of everything I love in a pizza: more smell, more color, more character, more taste, more chew. Yet it is not heavyhanded or overdone, just in possession of every good pizza element in its perfect fullness. Sarah, who is currently a Semifinalist in the James Beard Awards for Best Chef NW 2018, earns bonus points for using whole grain flour in her doughs, and for Lovely’s eye towards aestheticism.
Another delicious summer seasonal pie I enjoyed here was the shaved zucchini, shell peas (barely cooked and so sweet and popping), fava beans, pesto and fresh sheep’s cheese. What a beautiful happy pie this was.Lovely’s Fifty Fifty // 4039 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97227 // (503) 281-4060
Nostrana // 1401 SE Morrison St., Portland, OR 97214 // (503) 234-2427
Nonavo is just over the bridge and into Vancouver, WA, technically considered part of the greater Portland metropolitan area. It’s my weekly pizza stop for such indulgences as this bolognese pie below made with garlic, ragu, oregano, mozzarella, and that beautifully sharp, almost grainy grana padano. This is one of my favorite pies of all time.
Last Fall I had a rich special pie at Nonavo featuring pork shoulder and salsa verde with jalapeno, and I’m still thinking about it.Nonavo Pizza // 110 West Sixth St., Vancouver, WA 98660
3. Apizza Scholls
When I first moved here from Los Angeles in 2016 and began to search out Portland’s Best Pizza, my trusted restaurant source directed me to Apizza Scholls as his top insisted Portland pizza experience. Somehow I lucked out with an off-peak hour appearance and missed the lines and crowds, and Scholls deeply impressed me with their neo Neapolitan pies — the crust was perfect, with a crunch on the bottom, but a retaining bread-ey integrity that held together if you folded it. They use an electric oven to achieve a nice, even light scorching so the crust has a bitter burn that balances with the yeasty dough perfectly. There is not a frill in sight at Apizza Scholls, just solid classic pies and a few creatives thrown in for good measure, such as this PB & J with house made canadian bacon, pineapple and jalapeno. Bonus points for an outstanding Caesar salad as well.
Apizza Scholls // 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215 (503) 233-1286
5. Handsome Pizza
You may recall my mention of Handsome when I wrote about on it’s daytime sister, Seastar Bakery. Handsome Pizza has a special place in my heart because it is the first pizza I ate in Portland, and used to be a weekly stop on my drive home from Portland to East Vancouver. I’ve tried every regular rotation pie there, and loved every one.Chris Walas, who constructed the shop’s mascot monsters, and Lyra Butler-Denman, who made the unique comic book lamps.
Handsome Pizza // 1603 NE Killingsworth Ave., Portland, OR // (503) 247-7499
6. Scottie’s Pizza Parlor
Scottie’s was one of the pizzerias represented in last year’s Bureau of Pizza Investigation I attended wherein we sampled pies from Scottie, Red Sauce and Handsome Pizza (see below) and discussed and took notes on (with our special pizza journals) the nuances of every last thing of a pizza nature including dough fermentation, flour type, oven type, method, technique, tool and topping. As with many pizza chefs I’ve met, Scottie impressed me with his friendly nature and humble desire to bring people happiness through good pizza.Scottie’s Pizza Parlor // 2128 SE Division St., Portland, OR 97202 // (971) 544-7878
Renata is in the center of Portland’s Industrial Eastside District, which is filled with local artisans, hip eateries, and trendy shops. They have a small pizza menu for those of us who consider too much choice to be a form of tyranny (poke bars, make your own salad restaurants) which includes a first rate, traditional margherita, pepperoni and quattro fromaggio pie. The crust has a nice swollen rim and is thin and soft. Bonus points for some of the best pasta I’ve eaten in Portland, as well as a sublime butterscotch budino pudding.
Renata // 626 SE Main Street, Portland, OR 97214 // (503) 954-2708
8. Red Sauce PizzaRed Sauce Pizza serves up some of the Best Pizza in Portland, including calzone, vegan pies, fun pies named after fun people, pan pies, and weekly sourdough bread. Situated in the colorful yet low-key Cully neighborhood, Red Sauce is run by longtime pizzanista Shar Dues (a former manager at Apizza Scholls) who makes a wonderful slow fermented, chewy crunchy dough with plenty of structure. Red Sauce Pizza // 4935 NE 42nd Ave., Portland, OR (503) 288-4899
9. Pizza JerkBunk Sandwich empire helmed by Tommy Habetz and soon they will be opening a location downtown. Bonus points for fun neighborhood people watching. Pizza Jerk (5028 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR // 503.284.9333)
10. Rally Pizza
Rally’s is another excellent reason to make the trip over the bridge into Vancouver.Rally Pizza (8070 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA // 360.524.9000)
11. Pizzeria La Sorrentina
Guess what Portland pizza lovers? We’re still in Vancouver, WA.Pizzeria La Sorrentina // 9811 NE 15th Ave., Vancouver, WA // (360) 980-1651
12. Ken’s Artisan Pizza
Ken’s Artisan Pizza is legendary. If you ask a Portlander where the best pizza in Portland is, Ken’s will undoubtedly come up in the first few breaths. You may recall Ken Forkish mentioned in my Top 50 Burgers in Portland, as he also runs Trifecta, Ken’s Artisan Bakery, and Checkerboard Pizza inside the Pine Street Market. Ken is a true artisan and has written a book on pizza that is likely many a home pizza chef’s bible. His pizza is wonderfully thin crusted and quite crisp, yet not dry. Ken earns bonus points for the refined nature of his pies, spare application of toppings and the best tomato sauce in town.Ken’s Artisan Pizza // 304 SE 28th Avenue, Portland, OR // (503) 517-9951
And Now For Something A Little Different
13. Roman Candle Baking Company
Roman Candle makes a wonderful selection of Roman inspired, almost focaccia-like flatbread crusted slices topped with classic red sauce or white, and including toppings such as pepperoni, mushroom and seasonal vegetables. Bonus points for these beautiful heavy pizza shears, as well as the gigantic communal table which is a perfect spot to read your paper, work on your laptop or visit with a friend (or a stranger).Roman Candle Baking Co. // 3377 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 // (971) 302-6605
Athough I was not a resident during Portland’s beloved PREAM pizza tenure, I am pleased that even though PREAM is shuttered, their former pizza chef Nick Ford is making pies at the very chill bar Hosford-Abernathy neighborhood bar and restaurant Associated. Associate’s pizza has got another great Neapolitan-style crust with toppings classic and offbeat. Bonus points for an all-around great menu with vegan options, including delicious little tacos.Associated // 2131 SE 11th Ave // Portland, OR 97214
15. Baby Doll Pizza
Baby Doll has slices, garlic knots, whole pies and cookies. Their New York style pizzas are a formidable 18″ and will feed your family for a week. Bonus points for Sicilian pies and slices, Shirley Temple sodas in the case and gluten free offerings.Baby Doll Pizza // 2835 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214 // (503) 459-4450
16. Dove Vivi
Dove Vivi Pizza stands out for its unusual, beguiling cornmeal crust. I love Vivi pizzas not only because the crust has a wonderful buttery flavor and a substantial heft, but also because that advanced weight can hold a sizeable mantle of melted cheese. Yes, this is the best pizza you want when you’re really hungry and want something pretty departed from a “normal” pizza.Dove Vivi Pizza // 2727 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232 // (503) 239-4444
17. Virtuous Pie
Virtuous Pie // 1126 SE Division St., Portland OR, 97202 // (503) 334-2073
More Great Thin Pies
Cibo is a thriving SE Division Street neighborhood restaurant serving regional Italian cuisine in a relaxed and stylish environment. Their sixty-foot bar wraps around an open kitchen including their wood-fire pizza oven. Chef Marco Frattaroli is a longtime pizza master in Portland and his pies here are testament to that earned expertise. Bonus points for stromboli, cecina (garbanzo flour crust alternative) and for being the only restaurant that appears on this list as well as my Top 50 Burgers List.Cibo // 3539 SE Division Street, Portland, OR // (503) 719-5377
19. Please Louise
Please Louise opened just last year in the rapidly growing and seemingly constantly under construction historic Slabtown neighborhood of Portland, serving up tasty creative pizza and small plates. I would characterize PL’s pies as thin crusted, deck oven fired, and not bread-ey. On a recent visit I had a very nice pie with grapes and goat cheese, which was fresh and light, sweet and salty, and a welcome alternative to all the classic red pies I’d been sampling.
20. Atlas Pizza
I discovered Atlas Pizza during last year’s Portland Mercury’s Pizza Week wherein I ate 9 slices in 5 days. Atlas pies are quite thin and crispy, and a perfect reason to stop if you’re tooling around SE Division Street shopping and hungry for a quick bite. Pictured below are my “Ziggy Piggy” slices featuring Smoked Carlton Farms pulled pork, tomatillo and chile verde sauce, balsamic onions, pickled jalapeño, and fresh scallion and cotija cheese. Great slice and drink/salad combo deals as well.Atlas Pizza // 3570 SE Division St., Portland, OR //(503) 232-3004
21. East Glisan Pizza Lounge
East Glisan serves up great pizza in a modern bar/lounge atmosphere in the Montavilla neighborhood of Portland. I love their pie topped with sausage, ricotta and green olives, and last spring also sampled a memorable special slice graced with a caramelized onion and cashew base, mozzarella, fontina, asparagus, fried sunchoke, prosciutto, and gremolata. Bonus points for delicious square pan pies on Tuesdays and Saturdays.East Glisan Pizza Lounge // 8001 NE Glisan St., OR 97213 // (971) 279-4273
22. Hogan’s Goat
Hogan’s Goat is a very unassuming and underappreciated, off-the-beaten-street little joint on Sacramento Street just off Sandy Blvd. in Portland’s eclectic Hollywood district. They are at once a pizzeria, bottle shop, and commissary kitchen slinging truly first rate American style pizza, using seasonal local ingredients and hand stretched dough. What you see below is the slice I had for last year’s Portland Pizza Week: Huitlacoche and garlic base, asparagus, mushrooms, provolone, mozzarella, and cilantro. Funky and delicious!Hogan’s Goat // 5222 NE Sacramento St., Portland, OR 97213 // (503) 281-9008
23. Pizzeria Otto
Pizzeria Otto is a family friendly corner pizza joint in the Roseway neighborhood of Portland that has stellar wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas.Pizzeria Otto // 6708 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 97213 // (971) 373-8348
24. Oven & Shaker
Oven and Shaker is a happening pizzeria and bar in the Pearl District of downtown Portland where Nostrana’s Cathy Whims is part owner. They have a nice selection of eight specialty pies and four classics, and you can build your own pizza as well. All pizzas are thin and not doughey at all, as you can see from the classic Bianca pie I had below which features garlic, raschera, sottocenere al tartufo, bufala mozzarella, and fried sage.Oven and Shaker // 1134 NW Everett St., Portland, OR, 97209 // (503) 241-1600
Firehouse Restaurant // 711 NE Dekum Street, Portland, OR 97211 // (503) 954-1702
26. Life of Pie
Life of Pie is one of our 15 favorite places to eat in Portland and serves up amazing pies along the North Williams Avenue strip in the Boise district. The pizza is wood-fired, with a crispy crust and a perfectly soft interior. Bonus points for the thick and melty mozzarella, as well as outdoor picnic benches.
Life of Pie Pizza // 3632 N. Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227 // (503) 719-7321
Quick Downtown Slices
My recommendations for best pizza if you are in downtown shopping or sightseeing and want a quick hot thin, amply sized slice with plenty of Portland character (wild names, wild toppings) are Sizzle Pie and Hot Lips Pizza. Both have other locations but both also have outposts that are very convenient to the Pearl shopping district, Powell Books, and many of the Portland hotels.
27. Sizzle PieSizzle Pie // 624 E. Burnside (and multiple locations), Portland, OR // (503) 234-7437
28. Hot Lips PizzaHot Lips Pizza // 721 NW 9th Ave, #150, Portland, OR
Two Great Mobile Options
29. Ash Wood Fired
Ash Wood Fired Pizza, whose truck is parked in the lot of the Base Camp Brewery in the Central Eastside Industrial District, is the place that most reminds me of my favorite place to eat pizza in Los Angeles, Lodge Bread. Ash puts out a sourdough starter made with wild yeast from local grapes, and has a wildly creative menu that changes monthly. Their pies are vibrant, juicy and messy and their crust is some of the best I’ve tasted in Portland. Bonus points for a catering truck that’s always on the move.Ash Woodfired Pizza // 930 SE Oak Street, Portland OR 97214 // (503) 941-0196
30. Pyro Pizza
Pyro Pizza is another great Portland food cart, with solid wood fired classic pies such as margherita, marinara, quattro fromaggi, bianca, and fennel sausage and a special pie such as the crazy loaded baked potato concept pie I had a few weeks ago. Bonus points for homemade sodas that are rocking delicious and the best pizza box art from regular customer Tim Butler.Pyro Pizza // 1207 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland OR // 503.929.1404
Other Great Designer Pies
31. TastebudTastebud // 7783 SW Capitol Hwy. Portland, OR 97219 // (503) 245-4573
32. The Crown
The Crown is Portland famed restauranteur Vitaly Paley’s pizza project connected to Imperial Restaurant inside the Hotel Lucia in the heart of downtown. It’s a great place to stop for lunch if you work in downtown Portland. I’ve been in and out in 40 minutes and had a delicious lunch. You can get slices or a whole pie, or a slice and drink lunch special, and try such uniquities as Fried Chicken with Honey and Ranch, or Hot Sausage with Clams and Oregano.The Crown // 400 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205 // 503.228.7224
And Now For Something A Little Thicker
33. Via Chicago
34. Hammy’s Pizza
Hammy’s is a tiny pizza joint on Clinton Street in crazy Hosford-Abernathy where you go for a nice fat slice with tons of cheese and toppings. “Portland’s Original Nocturnal Pizzeria”, Hammy’s delivers until 4 a.m. They are designed for take-out or eat on the curb — there is no seating except a table or two on the sidewalk, but the folks there are really friendly and I took my teenager there when visiting from college, we brought one home and all went to bed full and happy. Bonus points for green chile topping!Hammy’s Pizza // 2114 SE Clinton, Portland, OR // 503 235 1035
35. Ranch Pizza
Sicilian Only! Ranch Pizza launched last year with an interesting concept — you sit at a bar, and they deliver pizza to you. I went twice last year and had a delicious Sicilian pepperoni pie. For a while they were delivering to the corner between 11th and 12th on Division Street in the Southeast but Ranch is now in the process of opening a brick and Mortar on Dekum Street in June, and until then they will re-open any moment at Poison’s Rainbow on 28th Street.Ranch Pizza // 344 NE 28th St. in Portland, OR. (at Poison’s Rainbow) // RanchPDX@gmail.com
Okay folks, that was a lot of pizza. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I did researching and eating Portland’s Best Pizza. No matter where you live in or near Portland, there is good pizza for you of all styles and substances. If you are visiting Portland or plan to visit, I hope you find this guide useful in deciding where to go among the many very good options. Please shoot me a comment below with your input and of course any favorite of yours I may have not visited yet and of course, let me know why I should!