Exploring Ithaca's huge variety of delicious pizza picks

February 4, 2016

This week, 14850 Dining is looking around town for some great pizza. There are few topics more polarizing than what constitutes "real pizza," and depending on where you're from, your definition may vary quite a bit!

Ciao's Dirty Lorenzo pizza.Ciao's Dirty Lorenzo pizza.Wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads have spread around town, and we love the 11-inch pies at Ciao on North Triphammer Road. Share an appetizer and a pizza for an affordable meal! Vegan cheese and gluten-free crusts are available, or get a salad on top of your pizza. Our favorite's the Dirty Lorenzo.

Agava on East Hill cooks lots of things in their wood-fired oven, including the roasted cauliflower, but it's really there for the flatbreads. They include creative choices like beet and goat cheese, or the Chupacabra with bacon, smoked garlic, and mushrooms.

The Finger Lakes Flatbreads tomato-basil, topped occasionally with heirloom tomatoes.The Finger Lakes Flatbreads tomato-basil, topped occasionally with heirloom tomatoes.The original area flatbread, though, is at Finger Lakes Flatbreads at the Ithaca Farmers Market, the same booth as Just Desserts, offering awesome pastries and breads. Try the tomato basil flatbread or see what seasonal items are around, like a cheddar and apple flatbread or a southwest flatbread.

We're not in Chicago, but Ithaca does have great deep-dish pizza at The Nines. This square pie is their forte, with a broad array of toppings and a thick crust. The four square slices easily feed two or three people, four if you add appetizers. Their creative toppings include fried eggplant slices and spicy meatballs, and of course they have the usual items as well.

For the traditional round pizza set, Ned's Pizza in Ithaca's northeast offers crisp and flavorful pizza that's well made, and it's great -- when it's hot and fresh. Stick with sauce and cheese to keep it simple, or try Ned's Favorite, white pizza with chicken, broccoli, garlic, and artichoke heart. 

 

Also in the northeast, the Scalehouse Brewpub and Northeast Pizza (two halves of the same eatery, which began brewing their own beer a few years ago) has affordable daily specials, such as ten bucks for two pints of beer and a personal pizza or order of wings.

Fresh mushrooms, not canned, at Sal's.Fresh mushrooms, not canned, at Sal's.Even better is Sal's Pizzeria in the west end. Around here, we often hear local pizzas compared to that holy grail of the field: the NYC pizza. At the risk of starting an argument, we're going to say this is as close as it gets. The crispy crust isn't too doughy, the sauce has a real tomato flavor, and there's plenty of cheese. Sal's even offers gluten free pizza, using a prepared gluten free crust topped like any other Sal's pizza.

Or try the pizza at Luna Inspired Street Food, formerly the Connection, by the slice or the pie, but with more interesting options now beyond the pepperoni or chicken bacon ranch, which of course are still there. Huevos Rancheros pizza? Charred corn and gouda? Even the "Hawaiian" ham and pineapple has been upgraded with pork carnitas..

Papa John's "buffalo chicken" pizza sports a spiral of hot sauce.Papa John's "buffalo chicken" pizza sports a spiral of hot sauce.Papa John's may be a national chain, but they make great pizza with fresh veggies and lots of creative specialty pies. Their fun buffalo chicken pizza has chicken, sliced onion, bacon, and creamy ranch. For a more traditional approach, try the spicy Italian sausage, and I suggest extra sauce. They've got daily slices-and-soda lunch specials starting at $5, and on "Terrific Tuesdays," slices and fountain drinks are a dollar each.

Or if you're downtown, one of our favorite pizzas in town is at Napoli Pizzeria. Their roots go back decades right downtown, and they've perfected their pie, with a hearty crust, excellent sauce, and plenty of cheese.

There are certainly other pizzas in town, and I'm sure we've missed some people's favorites. Feel free to let us know in the comments which pizzerias we should visit next!

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Wings Over Ithaca

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335 Pine Tree Road
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Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-9464

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AGAVA Restaurant

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381 Pine Tree Road
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Phone: 607-319-4366

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