Which City Has the Best Pizza: California, NYC, or Chicago?

Pizza is one of the most common fast food item, not just in the United States, but all over the world as well. What is even great about the pizza is that different types exist, offering different varieties to the pizza lovers in the country.

For instance, pizzas in California try to replicate the craft of gourmet chefs in the state by topping a thin crust with ingredients that are not usually found in other pizzas. Meanwhile, pizzas in New York are known for their big slices that one slice needs to be folded to fit in your mouth. In Chicago, people consider pizzas with deep crusts to be the best.

Battle of the Pizza Slices

To know more about the differences of the famous pizzas in the country, let us take a closer look at each city’s classic slice.


The classic California-style pizza has a thin crust which emulates traditional Italian crusts as well as New York-style pizza. It is also known for its extraordinary toppings inspired by the California cuisine, that is why it is also referred to as gourmet pizza. What makes it distinct from other pizzas is the use of toppings that feature a variety of local produce, which means the toppings include the healthiest and freshest ingredients available.

One of the famous chefs who pioneered the California-style pizza back in the 80’s is Wolfgang Puck. He used gourmet ingredients such a smoked salmon and crème Fraiche as toppings for his thin crispy crusts. Currently, one of the best places to get a taste of California’s pizza is at Pizzeria Mozza, which is created by the tandem of Los Angeles baker Nancy Siverton and chef Mario Batali.

New York

Aside from being recognized as the pizza with the supersized slice, New York pizza is also known to follow the classic Italian tradition of making pizza. Some people even say that the secret to NYC’s great tasting pizza is the city’s famous water, while some believe that it is the recipe itself. Whatever the secret is, New York’s pizza is distinguished even beyond the East Coast.

Traditionally, New York-style pizza is hand tossed and consists of the basic ingredients. It has a light layer of tomato sauce and topped with grated mozzarella cheese. Additional toppings such as meat and vegetables are then added on top of the cheese. It can also be eaten with condiments such as dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, grated Parmesan, and dried chili pepper flakes.     

The oldest pizzeria in the country, Lombardi’s Pizza, has been in the business for more than 100 years can be found in New York City. They claim that they bought Neapolitan food in America when they were established. On the other hand, the most iconic New York pizza is Ray’s Pizza, which can be found on nearly every corner in the city.


The trademark of the Chicago-style pizza is its depth, that is why it is referred to as the deep dish pizza. Sometimes, it seems to be more like a really tasty casserole or a pie crust and is very different from the thin rolled out doughs of California and New York.

Since it needs to be inches deep, the Chicago-style pizza is made and baked in a pan rather than flat on a peel. The deep dish pizza is compared to a casserole because the main ingredients of the pizza are treated more like a filling rather than a topping. The crust is buttery while the toppings are made even more delicious with chunky tomato sauce and lots of cheese.

Usually, deep-dish Chicago-style pizza is layered with sliced mozzarella, a variety of meats and vegetables, sauce, and then grated cheese. Because of its depth, it is best eaten with a knife and fork.

There are several pizzerias in Chicago, but two of the most iconic is Lou Malnati’s Pizza and Giordano’s Pizza. The former opened its first location in 1971 in Lincolnwood, Illinois and now has more than 20 locations in Illinois. Meanwhile, Giordano’s Pizza opened their first store in Chicago in 1974. Since then, they have been making headlines not only in Chicago but across the country as well.

So, which among the three pizzas do you think is the best, California’s, NYC’s, or Chicago’s? It can be really difficult to decide since each has its own distinct flavor and characteristics. It all boils down to personal preference as some prefer thick crust over thin crust, and some prefer the traditional style as compared to pizzas with unique and creative toppings.

Category: General Food

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