Greek or Italian? Wood fired or coal fired? Thin or thick crust? From best hidden gem to most creative toppings, we slice up the best pies on the Cape.BY SARAH SHEMKUS
There may be no food more universally beloved than pizza. It is our delight when we want to indulge in something special and our default when we want to please a crowd. It is the topic of passionate debate: Is a Neapolitan-style pie superior to a Greek pizza? Do trendy toppings like fig have any place on a pizza? What is the precisely perfect ratio of cheese to sauce?
(The answers: yes, absolutely, and 2-to-1.)
Whatever your pizza preferences, we have gathered up options across the Cape that should allow anyone to find that perfect slice. Who came out at the head of the class? Check out our pizza superlatives to find out.
Most Intriguing Toppings
When mozzarella becomes mundane and pepperoni seems prosaic, get yourself to Ember to sample its selection of truly creative toppings. The unconventional combinations here include pulled pork with roasted corn, roasted garlic with white beans and pistachios, and even goat cheese with prosciutto and wild blueberry puree.
Those with less adventurous tastes needn’t worry, however: Old-school favorites like meatball and Hawaiian are also on offer, along with a modest selection of entrees.
This popular, year-round spot is often crowded, even in the off-season, but the pleasant property includes an outdoor fire pit, so the wait is more chill than chore.
600 Route 28, Harwichport, emberpizza.com
Before Jason O’Toole launched Pizza Barbone in the spring of 2010, he spent an entire winter perfecting his recipe, serving pizza after pizza to his friends until he had the recipes just right. The effort paid off. The dough he created is the perfect platform for his wood-fired pizzas, yielding a crust that is crisp and chewy—with just enough yeasty flavor to be complex, but not overpowering. The ingredients he uses to top this base are equally appetizing: fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Italian sopressata, truffle oil. Vegetables from the eatery’s rooftop garden appear in salads and on seasonal pizza specials.
390 Main St., Hyannis, pizzabarbone.com
Most Sustainable Pizza
Even the ingredients for the dough are sustainably sourced at Crisp Flatbread. The flour is organic and the salt is from Cape Cod waters. The chicken is free-range and organic, the meatballs are made with grass-fed beef, and the mozzarella is made in-house. Local, seasonal ingredients are used whenever possible—one pizza even comes topped with a local, farm-fresh egg. And the pizzas are not just responsible; they are also delicious. Build your own pizza from the selection of fresh toppings or explore flavor combinations like potato, cheddar, and bacon or duck bacon, goat cheese, and dried tart cherries that will please even the most finicky of foodies.
791 Main St., Osterville, crispflatbread.com
For more than 10 years, The Brown Jug has catered to gourmet tastes with a retail shop offering a selection of cheese, wine, oils and other specialty foods. This year, owner Michael Johnston decided to expand his epicurean emporium, launching a patio café featuring pizza cooked in a wood-fired outdoor oven. As befits the shop’s foodie roots, the menu is full of simple yet perfectly executed choices: a cheese-less Neapolitan with tomato sauce, garlic and herbs, for example, or a pizza topped with mushrooms, caramelized onions and fontina. If you want a taste before winter kicks in, make your way to Sandwich quickly – the pizza operation is seasonal, closing from January to March.
155 Main St., Sandwich, thebrownjug.com
Best Gluten-Free Pizza
WICKED RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR
The name may be a bit nefarious, but this is a restaurant that is out to do good for the gluten-averse, with dozens of gluten-free menu items and staff trained to handle dietary restrictions. As for the pizza, Wicked offers a wheat-free crust that doesn’t feel like a deprivation. The dough is slow-fermented to build flavor and then topped with a wide range of topping options. The menu includes basics like plain cheese, innovative options like pork belly, roasted fennel, and fig glaze, and over-the-top creations like the steak frites pizza, piled with sliced steak and truffle parmesan fries.
680 Falmouth Rd., Mashpee, wickedrestaurant.com
Most Scenic Slice
WELLFLEET TOWN PIZZA
What’s better than a tasty slice of fresh pizza? A tasty slice of fresh pizza enjoyed with a gorgeous scenic view. For our money, the best place on Cape Cod to grab this combo is at Wellfleet Town Pizza.
The thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizza features a slightly smoky crust and a subtly sweet sauce. Meat lovers can dig into a Bulldog, loaded with sausage, pepperoni, shave steak, linguica and bacon, while pizza purists can try the tomato, basil and mozzarella-topped margherita. Once you’ve made your choice, head out to the patio to check out the water views or stay inside to peruse the colorful décor supplied by local artists.
55 Commercial St., Wellfleet
Best Greek – Style Pie
Greek pizza is a staple of New England casual dining, but its signature crust—spongy, crispy and oily (often in a good way)—has sometimes gotten a bad rap. George’s Pizza House is Cape Cod’s best response to the skeptics. A Harwichport institution for more than 40 years, George’s serves up pies slathered with well-flavored sauce and loaded with fresh toppings. The crust is just the right thickness, and baked to the perfect level of crisp-yet-chewy-ness. Add in very affordable prices, and lovers of Greek pizza need look no further.
564 Route 28, Harwichport, georgespizzahouse.com
Best Hidden Treasure
If you want to enjoy Paul’s pizzas—and you probably do—the first challenge is finding the place. Tucked away on a side street off another side street outside downtown Falmouth, this modest local favorite puts the “hidden” in “hidden gem.” Pizzas are all individual-sized 10 inches, making it easy for everyone in the family to get exactly the topping combination he or she wants, from basic pepperoni to seaside specialties like shrimp and scallops. If you scoff at the idea that less is more, try the Paul’s Special, loaded with onions, hot peppers, linguica, sausage, mushroom and optional anchovies.
14 Benham Rd., Falmouth, paulspizzacapecod.com
Best Spot for Pizza Plus
Now in its third year, Rock Harbor Grill is a relative newcomer to the Cape Cod culinary scene, but its wood-fired pizzas are already winning plaudits from discerning diners. There are plenty of traditional options—pepperoni, roasted peppers, mushrooms—but if you’re feeling a bit bold, try the stark crimson pear with bleu cheese, arugula and walnuts or the merguez sausage with feta, mint and tomato pesto.
What wins the restaurant its slot on this list, however, is the eclectic and wide-ranging menu that can accommodate even those diners who (inexplicably) aren’t in the mood for pizza. Selections like peach panzanella salad, fried clams, and Korean BBQ short ribs ensure that there is an option for every palate in your party.
18 Old Colony Way, Orleans, rockharborgrill.net
Best Late-Night Pizza Spots
Whether you’re finishing up a night out or simply have a midnight hankering, Provincetown is the place to be for pizza in the wee small hours. Three Commercial Street spots — Spiritus Pizza, Twisted Pizza and Ice Cream, and George’s Pizza and Bar —are open until 2 a.m., at least on weekends.
Spiritus prides itself on its late-night social scene and unparalleled people-watching. Twisted promises authentic New York-style pizza, and also serves beer and wine. George’s offers well-priced slices and charming outdoor seating. And, of course, all three offer the adventure of a visit to Cape Cod’s most colorful town.
Spiritus Pizza, 190 Commercial St., spirituspizza.com; Twisted Pizza and Ice Cream, 293 Commercial St., provincetowntwistedpizza.com; and George’s Pizza and Bar, 275 Commercial St., georgespizzaandbar.com
‘No Biz Like Dough Biz’
“We know what we’re doin,’” boasts owner John “Jingles” Yingling of Spiritus Pizza in Provincetown. “We’re good at it. My brother makes the dough and my daughters work the register, and overall, it’s just a friendly, family business.” This year marks the restaurant’s 45th anniversary, making it the oldest and most beloved pizza pub in all of Provincetown. Back in the early ’70s, Spiritus was merely a tiny takeout establishment across the street from its current location (193 Commercial St.), where it was open until 2 a.m. serving only cheese slices. Today, the hot pizza parlor and coffee bar offers whole pies as well as individual New York-style slices of the cheesy, crispy, thin-crust pizzas. Of all the toppings available, Yingling suggests the pepperoni: “We use the best pepperoni, and a lot of it!” The homey dining area is livened up by the work of local artists and fliers for upcoming events in P’town, equipped with wooden booths for devouring slices, specialty smoothies and creamy milkshakes. The outdoor courtyard provides a comfortable, social ambiance. What’s more, the staff is always bright-eyed and cheery, even when there’s a line of hungry people out the door. “Like my dad always says,” laughs John’s daughter Monique as she slices a fresh tomato pie, “There’s no biz like dough biz!”
Spiritus Pizza is open from April 1 through Nov. 1
190 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-487-2808, spirituspizza.com