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20 Praiseworthy Pizzas

08/29/2017 03:36PM ● Published by Style

Lombardi’s—America’s first pizzeria—opened its doors in New York City’s Little Italy in 1905. More than a century later, the family-owned business is still serving up the Margherita that put it on the map. Whole-milk mozzarella, tomato sauce, grated Romano and fresh basil atop a thin, coal-baked crust continue to attract visitors from all over the world. The Big Apple will forever lay claim to the nation’s oldest pizzeria, but that certainly doesn’t make California slices any less celebrated. In fact, some of the state’s most mouthwatering pies are right here in our own backyard. Whether you crave wood-fired, deep dish, vegetarian, classic or something slightly unconventional, you’re sure to find a new favorite among Style’s list of the very best pizzas. In no particular order


Papa Gianni’s Ristorante

3450 Palmer Drive, Suite 1, Cameron Park, 530-672-2333


ORDER THIS 

Build-Your-Own Pizza: Toppings include pepperoni, salami, sausage, meatballs, ham, eggplant, zucchini, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, pineapple, bell peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms, anchovies, jalapeños, garlic; $14.95-$16.95 + $1-$1.50 each additional topping


 IN THE KNOW 

Stop by Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m. and get a mini cheese pizza for $6.95 ($.50 each additional topping) and add a green salad for $2.


 Bene Ristorante Italiano

423 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3415


 ORDER THIS 

Portobello Mushroom Bacon: Tomato sauce, portobello mushrooms, hickory smoked bacon, mozzarella; $22-$33


 IN THE KNOW 

The marinara, pasta, bread and pizza crust are all made from scratch, every day, and feature Molino Caputo flour that’s imported from Naples, Italy. Lunch specials and pizza-by-the-slice are both available.


Squally’s On the River

7310 CA-49, Lotus, 530-622-1213


 ORDER THIS 

Pulled Pork Pizza: BBQ sauce, pulled pork, pineapple, onions; $12.50-$21.95


 IN THE KNOW 

Beautiful outdoor deck overlooking the river with occasional live music on the weekends. Available to rent for private parties. 


Milano Pizza

3958 Cambridge Road, Shingle Springs, 530-676-1616


 ORDER THIS 

*Rancho Pizza: Zesty basil red sauce, cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, homemade ranch; $6.99-$25.99


 IN THE KNOW 

Lunch specials are served Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and include a three-topping calzone for $5.99; large, one-topping pizza for $11.99, or personal, two-topping pizza and soda for $6.99. 


Marco’s Café

7221 State Highway 49, Lotus, 530-642-2025


 ORDER THIS 

Middle Fork Mushroom: Mushrooms, feta, tomatoes; $4.99-$6.75


 IN THE KNOW 

Live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings; open mic on Thursday nights. All seating is outside. Open seasonally for the rafting season.


The Little Italian Place

2530 Pleasant Valley Road, Placerville, 530-621-1680


ORDER THIS 

Sweet Pig: House-made sausage, pancetta, prosciutto, pineapple fig jam, provolone, mozzarella; $20


 IN THE KNOW 

Live jazz/blues every weekend. Reservations are recommended.


THE ORIGIN OF PIZZA

Kids ask the darndest things, but when it comes to “Where does pizza come from?” it’s easy to assume you know the answer. According to wonderopolis.org, an educational resource created by the National Center for Families Learning, the truth depends on a number of factors. For starters, how do we define pizza? The preparation of oven-cooked flatbreads dates back to ancient times in the Middle East, while ancient Greeks and Romans popularized the use of toppings like olive oil and spices. The invention of pizza as we know it today—a combination of tomato sauce, cheese and toppings—is attributed to Raffaele Esposito of Naples, although historians have noted street vendors were selling flatbreads with toppings years prior to his creation of the Margherita in 1889. It was that year when Esporito famously prepared a pizza with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil for King Umberto I and Queen—you guessed it (!)—Margherita of Italy.


TOP IT OFF

A 2016 Harris Poll asked adults in the U.S. to name their favorite and least favorite pizza toppings. Did yours make the list? 

Favorite

1. Pepperoni

2. Sausage

3. Mushrooms

4. Cheese/Plain

5. Onions

6. Olives

7. Bacon 

8. Tie: Ham/Canadian Bacon & Pineapple

10. Peppers/Sweet Peppers


Least Favorite 

1. Anchovies

2. Mushrooms

3. Pineapple

4. Onions

5. Olives

6. Pepperoni

7. Peppers/Sweet Peppers

8. Sausage

9. Meat 

10. Cheese/Plain


Steve’s Pizza

3941 Park Drive, Suite 100, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-2100


 ORDER THIS 

*Mediterranean Gourmet: House-made Steve’s sauce, spinach, Greek peppers, red onions, black olives, feta, tomatoes, oregano, ; $7.99-$28.99


 IN THE KNOW 

The Steve’s Pizza VIP Club delivers exclusive offers, specials, promotions and events straight to your inbox (stevespizza.com/join-our-vip-club). They also offer delivery and 14 (constantly rotating) taps in addition to a “bucket of 5 bottles” (mixed and matched beers) for $13. 


Gold Pan Pizzeria

4131 South Shingle Road, Suite 10, Shingle Springs, 530-676-7437


 ORDER THIS 

Dynamite Veggie: Artichokes, mushrooms, green bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, black olives, garlic; $17.75-$24.25


 IN THE KNOW 

Daily lunch combos (served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) include two slices of pizza and a drink for $6; and a small salad, slice of pizza and drink for $7.50. Delivery available Friday-Sunday. Visit their Facebook page for “off menu” items like a Buffalo Chicken Pizza with blue cheese sauce, mozzarella, grilled garlic chicken and buffalo sauce drizzle.


 Sienna

1480 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-771-4700


 ORDER THIS 

Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese: Wood-stone flatbread with balsamic reduction, shallot purée, mushrooms, creamy goat cheese, roasted leeks; $14


 IN THE KNOW 

Swing by between 3-7 p.m., seven days a week, and try the offering above for $9 during Happy Hour.



 Selland’s Market-Café

4370 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 120, El Dorado Hills, 916-932-5025


 ORDER THIS 

*The Owen: Béchamel, mac & cheese, mozzarella, jalapeños, bacon, Parmesan; $15.50 


 IN THE KNOW 

Join the free “Selland’s Friend of the Family Rewards Program” and earn one point per dollar spent at any Selland Family restaurant; 600 points earns you a free Market-Café pizza. 


 Heyday Café

325 Main Street, Placerville, 530-626-9700


 ORDER THIS 

Truffle & Chicken: Garlic cream sauce caramelized onions, chicken, white truffle oil, brie; $16-$24


 IN THE KNOW 

Daily “pizza of the day” special. Save room for dessert—each offering is handmade every morning and includes options like Molasses Gingerbread Cake with Meyer Lemon Sauce. 


Gularte’s Diamond Deli and Pizza

670 Pleasant Valley Road, Diamond Springs, 530-626-0550


 ORDER THIS 

*Tod’s Stuffed El Dorado: Top and bottom crust filled with red sauce, mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, red onions, topped with sauce, Cheddar cheese, green onions, tomatoes; $15.99-$19.99


 IN THE KNOW 

Take-and-bake pizzas are available; “pizza of the week” is $1 off (any size).


RECORD-BREAKING PIES

These Guinness World Record holders turned pie-in-the-sky dreams into reality!

— 

More than 50 bakers gathered in Rome this summer to make the most pizzas ever in just one hour. The result? Seven ovens produced a staggering 1,500 pies.

— 

 In April, New York’s Industry Kitchen started serving up the world’s most expensive commercially available pizza. The $2,700 price tag (that’s before tax and tip) on the aptly named “24K” gets you a wood-fired delicacy topped with Stilton cheese, foie gras, French truffles, 24K gold leaves, and not one, but two different types of caviar!

Scott Wiener of New York holds the record for largest collection of pizza boxes. He has 1,300 different boxes stashed in the closets of his Brooklyn apartment.

Kelvin Medina of the Philippines inhaled a 12-inch pizza in just 23.62 seconds on April 12, 2015. 

The Giant Sicilian at Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria in Los Angeles is the largest deliverable pizza in the world. The 54” x 54” behemoth feeds 50-70 people and will set you back just $249 for a cheese pie. Each additional topping is $19.99. 

Pizzas 4 Patriots is an Illinois-based nonprofit dedicated to sending a slice of home to active service members. On July 4, 2012, they made the world’s largest delivery, sending 30,000, 12-inch pizzas to troops in Afghanistan with the help of DHL.

Joe Carlucci holds the title for “Highest Pizza Toss”—in April 2006, he sent 20 ounces of dough flying just over two stories high at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.


 New Haven Pub and Grill

6022 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, 530-644-3448


 ORDER THIS 

Fulchino’s Special: Garlic, ranch, pesto, onions, bell peppers, Italian sausage; $12.95-$22.95


 IN THE KNOW 

Daily lunch specials. Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Take-and-bake pizzas available. Live music on their spacious outdoor patio (check their Facebook page for days and times).


Spanky’s Pizza

197 Placerville Drive, Placerville, 530-622-5023


ORDER THIS 

3 Item: Cheese, tomato, pepperoni; $7-$17.95


IN THE KNOW 

Game room with pool tables and various arcade games. 


Pizza Factory

1242 Broadway, Placerville, 530-626-3034; 3421 Coach Lane, Cameron Park, 530-677-3611; 6536 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, 530-647-1944


 ORDER THIS 

*Cougar Special: Pepperoni, mushrooms, ham, onions, green peppers, bacon; $8-$24

NOTE: In Cameron Park, ask for the “Bruin Special”; in Pollock Pines, ask for the “Pony Express Special” 


 IN THE KNOW 

Visit their website for printable coupons. Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. they offer a lunch buffet that includes pizza, salad and a drink. At the Placerville location, they host Paint Nite events (“Safari Sunset” on September 12 at 7 p.m., “Aloha Birds of Paradise” on September 17 at 6 p.m., and “Love Banner” on September 26 at 7 p.m.).


Danette’s Brick Oven Pub

2875 Ray Lawyer Drive, Placerville, 530-622-7420


 ORDER THIS 

Bacon Cheeseburger: Dijon marinara, seasoned ground beef, red onions, diced pickles, bacon, tomatoes, house-made Thousand Island dressing; $12.95-$22.95


 IN THE KNOW 

Kids 10 and under can get a pepperoni pizza for $8.50, or plain cheese for $7.50. Happy Hour runs all day on Sundays.



Wally’s Pizza Bar

4079 Cameron Park Drive, Cameron Park, 530-677-5205


 ORDER THIS 

*Thai Curry Chicken: Sweet curry sauce, roasted chicken, yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions, mascarpone, lime, basil, cilantro; $13-$26


 IN THE KNOW 

If you like the heat, “ask for it spicy!” Weekly events include Acoustic Tuesday from 7-10 p.m. and Music Trivia Wednesday from 7-11 p.m.; Happy Hour is from 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close Monday-Friday and includes $4, $5 and $7 cocktails, pints, wines and small bites. 


PEA PESTO PIZZA WITH RICOTTA, SHAVED ASPARAGUS AND BASIL

Recipe and photos submitted by Bella Karragiannidis of ful-filled.com; @ful.filled

FOR THE PEA PESTO:

  • 16 oz. (1 lb.) fresh peas (or thawed if using frozen)
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan (or omit to make dairy-free)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Begin by blanching the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes and then move them to an ice bath to chill. Remove the peas from the water once chilled. Add the chilled peas, mint, olive oil, lemon zest and Parmesan (if omitting Parmesan add a generous pinch of salt). Pulse in a food processor until ingredients are well combined, but not smooth—you want the pesto to have a bit of texture. Taste the pesto for seasoning; add salt to taste as necessary. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Pea pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


FOR THE PIZZA:

  • 16 oz. (1 lb.) pizza dough + flour for dusting
  • Pea pesto (see above)
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, shaved and chilled in an ice bath
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon zest
  • Red crushed pepper
  • Fresh basil


Preheat oven to 500°F (if you have a pizza stone, preheat the oven with the pizza stone in the top 1/3 of the oven). Shape pizza dough into 1 large round or 2 small rounds, flouring your surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer shaped dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Spread dough with pea pesto, leaving about 1 1/2 inch of dough at the edges bare. Dollop ricotta over the top of the pesto. Place pizza with parchment paper on top of a pizza peel and slide it into the oven onto the pizza stone (if not using a pizza stone, place pizza with parchment onto a baking sheet). Bake pizza for 7-10 minutes until crust is golden and bubbly. Remove pizza from the oven and top with shaved asparagus (drain asparagus from the ice water first) followed by a drizzle of olive oil, Parmesan, chili flakes, lemon zest and fresh basil. Slice and serve.


Ful-filled was created by Bella and her husband who live in Roseville. They’re firm believers that changing the current culture of food and health begins in the kitchen. For more info, visit ful-filled.com or follow her on Instagram at @ful.filled.


Pete’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

2023 Vine Street, Suite 100, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-3400; 6608 Folsom-Auburn Road, Folsom, 916-988-8812


 ORDER THIS 

*The Purist: Olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, mozzarella, feta, Parmesan cheese (no tomato sauce); $15.99-$29.92 


 IN THE KNOW 

In El Dorado Hills, take 50-percent off all pizzas during “Monday Madness” (excludes personal, gluten-free and kids’ pizzas) and enjoy $4 pints of select craft beer. From Monday-Friday (8 p.m.-close) and Saturday-Sunday (9 p.m.-close), they host a “Late-Night” Happy Hour where you can get 50-percent off a small or medium one-topping pizza. In Folsom, kids eat free on Sundays from the kids’ menu (with purchase of an adult entrée); on Mondays, take 50-percent off a medium pizza or larger (dine in) or 30-percent off for takeout, and enjoy all day Happy Hour drinks; on “Wine Wednesdays,” house wine is $4 and premium bottles are half off.


Knuckle Dragger Pizza Company 

6395 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, 530-644-9914


 ORDER THIS 

*Breakfast Pizza: Country gravy, cheese, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns; $8.99-$16


 IN THE KNOW 

Ask for a stamp card—with every 10 stamps, you get a free pizza. On Wednesdays, large, three-topping pizzas are $10. Dough is available for purchase.


Smith Flat House

2021 Smith Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-1003


ORDER THIS 

Nectarine & Prosciutto: Sliced nectarines, prosciutto, caramelized onions, house-made herb oil, fresh arugula salad tossed in citrus vinaigrette, goat cheese; $13-$24


 IN THE KNOW 

Enjoy live jazz by the Caroll Tuttle Trio on Sundays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the Cellar; through October 25, they feature Music in the Courtyard (musicians change weekly) on Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m.



Sauce’d Cocktail House

879 Embarcadero Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-3729


 ORDER THIS 

Red’s Chili Cheese: Sauce’d house-made chili, cheddar/jack cheese mix, tomatoes, black olives, feta, cherry peppers; $14.95-$21.95


 IN THE KNOW 

Try the “Sunday Friends Pizza Party” and get two large wood-fired pizzas for $30. They also offer party delivery and pizza-by-the-slice for $4.50 during Happy Hour (Monday-Friday from 4:30-7 p.m.). 


Pizza Plus

4615 Missouri Flat Road, Suite 12, Placerville, 530-626-9200


ORDER THIS 

*Super Plus Special: Pepperoni, ham, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, bacon; $13.30-$21.65

*Gluten-free crust available


IN THE KNOW 

Don’t miss their weekday lunch buffet from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. featuring all-you-can-eat salad and pizza (plus a small drink) for $8.50. Catering and meeting/party space are available. Accepts competitor’s coupons. 


Sienna, Selland's photos by Dante Fontana. Most expensive pizza photo courtesy of Industry Kitchen. Giant Sicilian photo courtesy of Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria. Queen Margherita-Portrait by Henri Le Lieure, Rome. All other photos by Aaron Roseli © Style Media Group.

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