“YANQUI DE MIERDA GO HOME! VOLVETE AL PAIS DE LOS OBESOS MORBIDOS!!!!!”
That was the all caps lock love letter I received a few years ago after mentioning I wasn’t fond of Argentine pizza. Note to self: if you fuck with Argies and their pizza, they take it personally and may threaten your life.
Sorry Porteños, you will probably hate me and discredit anything I have to say since I know many of you think you have the best piksa in the world, but in my humble opinion, it’s much more common to find bad pizza in this city. I’m talking about all those Pizzerias los Hijos de Puta, serving an abundant layer of cheap plastic queso that never seems to properly melt, flimsy can’t-get-it-up cardboard crust, Olympic pools of oil, dried oregano-sprinkled canned tomato “sauce” CONSERVATIVELY spread atop, and a skimpy selection of stupid toppings. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU palmitos, salsa golf, huevo duro and ham rubber. You’re a disgrace.
Fortunately, my hatred for the local corte has calmed, I’m able to accept Argentine style pizza in all its cheesy glory, and will honor a good pizza when merit is due. So, after lots of strenuous research, eating, crying, and lactose intolerant-induced stomach aches, I came up with a totally biased guide to my best pizza in Buenos Aires.
SIAMO NEL FORNO – Costa Rica 5886, Palermo Hollywood
The pizzeria lowdown: I’d be a happier person if I ate Siamo Nel Forno at least once a week. This is true Neapolitan style pizza, with the certification to prove it. The space is homey, rustic, informal and the star of the room is the wood fire oven that blisters and scorches the beautiful pie a la vista.
All about the pizza: Super light fluffy dough, cooked for less than two minutes in the XXXhotXXX oven, and topped with fresh ingredients and great tomato sauce. I always order the Margherita – it’s a joy to eat and really never fails me. Ask for the spicy chili oil, and order with beer or wine depending what strikes your boozy liver.
COSI MI PIACE – El Salvador 4618, Palermo SohoThe pizzeria lowdown: A new edition to the 2016 Buenos Aires restaurant scene. Rodrigo Sieiro and Diego Fanti (acclaimed chefs of the late Nectarine) are the culprits bringing Roman style pizza to BA. They both know what’s up when it comes to how to make a great pie — besides being seasoned cooks, Rodrigo became a pizza connoisseur while living in NYC and Diego spent quite some time perfecting the art of pizza making while living in Rome. The laid back, casual atmosphere and communal tables remind me a lot of Roberta’s in Brooklyn. The rooftop terrace is home to an impressive urban garden project, and the Acunto Napoli wood fire oven was imported by boat via Italy.
All about the pizza: True thin crust crispy Roman style pizza. Rodrigo says the secret is simple: high quality ingredients and a kick ass oven. All of the pizza combinations are winners, you really can’t go wrong with your order.
ALBAMONTE – Av. Corrientes 6735, Chacarita
The pizzeria lowdown: It’s Chacarita’s bodegón pride and joy. Sometimes we all need that go-to family joint for good old fashioned Argentine comfort food. The menu is quite traditional – pastas, gramajo, tortillas, parrilla, milanesas, etc., and while most of the diners order the pizza as an appetizer before moving on to a main dish, I’m a strong proponent of making it the star of the show.
All about the pizza: Super thin crust, smothered in tomato sauce (ask for extra), and not drowning in prison cheese. Hot fatty tip: if you live in the barrio, pick up the pizza to go, bring it home, stick it under the broiler, and in a few minutes you have the provoleta-like cheese topping crust of perfection.
GÜERRIN – Av. Corrientes 1368, Centro
The pizzeria lowdown: The most popular pizzeria in the heart of Corrientes theater mania, Güerrin is arguably the city’s most beloved pizzeria. It even has a Wikipedia page. Pizza Fact: The wood fire oven at hasn’t turned off since 1932.
All about the pizza: I have a hate-love relationship with this pizza al molde. It’s definitely an Argentine style thick slice, but it’s where to go to get a dose of total porteña-ness: NAPOLITANA, eaten while standing and washed down with moscato.
BANDINI PIZZERIA– Aizpurúa 2899, Villa UrquizaThe pizzeria lowdown: The best pizza in all of Villa Urquiza. The tiny corner spot that caters to mostly takeaway and delivery clients is all about making quality wood fired pizzas with a whole lot of onda. It’s the type of spot where you’d be a regular if you lived in the barrio, or you’d happily travel from afar and take your pizza box to the outside bench and eat curbside.
All about the pizza: What makes Bandini’s pizza so special? It has all the elements for a perfect pie: killer pliable non-greasy dough, quality toppings (with Las Dinas cured meats), and inventive flavor combinations. It’s as if an Argentine and an Italian pizza had a baby and took the best elements from each pizza variety, mastering the dough, sauce, toppings, without skimping on the cheese. And don’t forget to try the green onion fainá.
LA MEZZETTA – Av. Álvarez Thomas 1321, Chacarita / Villa Ortuzar
The pizzeria lowdown: Something about this dirty hole in the wall that brings both disgust and joy to my heart at the same time. It’s a classic standing room only space filled with an eclectic crew of all ages and incomes. I once saw a pizzero cleaning up trash with his bare hands before rolling empanada dough, but that only gives the masa more flavor.
All about the pizza: F-U-G-A-Z-Z-E-T-A! Argentina has the Cataratas del Iguazú, and Villa Ortuzar has the Cataratas de La Mezzetta, THE place to go for a greasy cheesy hangover fugazzeta cure. I channel my yearning for brunching on diner food and instead go for the second best: a dangerous slice of cheesyonion glooping fugazzeta.
EL MAZACOTE – Chile 1400, MonserratThe pizzeria lowdown: A gem on the corner of Chile & San José (across from the legendary Gijón bodegón), El Mazacote serves up the best a la piedra slice in all of Buenos Aires: thin crust with flavorful tomato sauce and just the right amount of cheese. They offer delivery, but we all know pizza is way more delicious right out of the oven.
All about the pizza: This true Argentine style slice gets everything right: blistery thin crust that isn’t too greasy and the cheese bubbles and caramelizes in the grand pizza oven. Ideal for local traditionalists who crave standard pizza flavors, but also where you can take your favorite gringo who doesn’t understand local cheesy pizza greatness. Also, I got one word for you: FAINAZETA (fainá + fugazzeta).
SAN PAOLO PIZZERIA – Uriarte 1616, Palermo SohoThe pizzeria lowdown: Gran pizzero and Naples native Maurizio de Roza (of Partenope in La Lucila) brings the verdadera pizza napolitana to Palermo. Maurizio knows his shit when pizza is involved — he comes from a family of bakers and pizza-makers, and even opened several pizzerias in New York City. This new pizza joint serves lunch and dinner, and at incredibly affordable prices (for now…), and even special $150 lunch menu & $200 dinner menu.
All about the pizza: What happens when pizza master teams up with a modernist chef? Dante Liporace of Tarquino joins San Paolo as executive chef to give two spins on Neapolitan pizza: traditional and avant garde. Still, the never fail order: Margherita Pizza.
PIZZERIA FERREIRO – Angel Gallardo, Av. 1001, Caballito.
The pizzeria lowdown: A total barrio dive that’s been around for what seems like forever. It’s probably the best pizzeria in the ‘hood with a classic bodegón vibe. Ferreiro does delivery, but it’s much more recommendable to scarf pizza + beers in house.
All about the pizza: Pizza a la Piedra, yo! On GuíaOleo, some trusty reviewers said it was malo because: “La pizza a la piedra es una tapa de pan arabe tostado, de las peores pizzas que comí” “casi no se ve de tan finita que es. Para lo que cobran, debería ser mucho mas suculenta. Nunca vi una pizza tan fina. No vuelvo.” Thin crust pizza, you say?! I’m in! And it’s a good crust, solid cheese and has that perfect crispy bite that still doesn’t fall apart. (Photo La Mejor Pizzeria)
1893 Pizzeria – Scalabrini Ortiz 701, Villa CrespoThe pizzeria lowdown: A pioneer in the pizza a la parrilla world in Buenos Aires, Danilo Ferraz opened 1893 in 1994, and named it after the year his casona on Scalabrini Ortiz y Loyola was built. 1893 is the older sister of the popular pizzeria mini-chain Morelia, although you’ll almost always find Danilo behind the grill at this Villa Crespo corner.
All about the pizza: It’s a rectangular or half moon ultra thin cracker crust, topped with tomato sauce and cheese, and then grilled quickly on the parrilla. 1893 also plays with fancy toppings: smoked meats, pickled vegetables, and even has a Roner to sous vide ingredients. (Photo by 1893)
ANGELIN – Av. Cordoba 5270, Villa Crespo
The pizzeria lowdown: Angelín claims to be the creators of pizza canchera, the Argentine cheese-less slice that was served cold back in the day at fútbol games (cancha = soccer field in Spanish).
All about the pizza: I love Angelín’s version of pizza canchera because to me, it’s everything that most Argentine pizza is not: thin crust, no cheese, and a good helping of seasoned sauce.
LA MAS QUERIDA – Echeverría 1618, Belgrano & Carranza 1875, Palermo Hollywood
The pizzeria lowdown: Pizza on the grill should replace thick crust as the national pizza dish. I have such mad love for pizza a la parrilla, and even more love for my beloved La Más Querida. The small spot feels like a little restaurant hideaway in some beach town. Buby Van Asperen, a self proclaimed ex-hippie and master at sporting a Hawaiian shirt, opened La Más Querida in 2005 to bring a quality pizza a la parrilla with fun toppings.
All about the pizza: Super thin crust, piled with great toppings: artichokes, gruyere cheese, mushrooms, onions, brie, pesto, roasted vegetables and más. It even comes with spicy dipping sauces on the side.
MONZÚ PIZZERIA BAR – José Antonio Cabrera 3975, PalermoThe pizzeria lowdown: The Venezuelan owned pizzeria known for stuffed crust and creative topping combos is pretty much the best thing that happened to the other side of Scalabrini Ortiz.
All about the pizza: Dreams of papa aioli or albondigas and albahaca, Monzú has you covered. Hot tip: sometimes you may be surprised with chorizo inside the crust. Just beware of the explosions of cheddar.
NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA – Gorriti 5881, Palermo HollywoodThe pizzeria lowdown: A real New York pizza slice in Buenos Aires, say whaaaaaat?! This former pop up at salad-sandwich spot MEME has now taken for a lunch and dinner pizza partay.
All about the pizza: NY style pizza, sorta. You know, thin pizza, sold by the slice, and cut in a huge triangle so you can <hypothetically> fold and shove into your face before you shower it with red pepper flakes and parm. Real New Yorkers probably would disagree of its authenticity — mostly because of the non-foldable greasy dough — but the owner, who lived in the US, makes his own legit pepperoni.
Honorable Mention: El Cuartito for history factor, Palacio de la Pizza because it’s the pizza palace, La Guitarrita for the Nuñez folk, Pin Pun because it’s a few blocks from my house, and La Locanda for whenever pizza is on the menu.
And the next pizzerias on my list to visit: PARTENOPE in La Lucila, JESOLO in La Plata