Pizzeria Talarico.

Pittsburghers love to argue about pizza as much as they love to eat pizza. 

So we knew we’d get strong response when we asked readers if we left their favorite place off our roundup of the 19 best places for pizza in Pittsburgh right now

Amid the flood of replies, a few readers swore their devotion to pizza outside of Pittsburgh. “Step one — leave Pittsburgh,” replied one reader. “Step two — go to NYC, Boston or Conn.” But most advanced spirited arguments for their favorite pizza places and told us to spread the word.

Here they are — all the write-in nominations for Pittsburgh’s best pizza, including one we never saw coming.

  • Marianne Melle said that Villa Reale on Smithfield St. is the “best-kept secret in Pittsburgh!” Mike Brinza also vouched for them.
  • “When will you discover Santoro’s in Castle Shannon?” asked Rachel Vermillion Betta. “Best pizza in the city and the meatballs will blow you away!”
  • A pretty good list, but with a few noticeable places missing from the list,” said Matthew Fochs. “Specifically, number 20 needs to be Slice Island (in the basement of Spirit in Lawrenceville).” Good call, Matthew. Their pizza is indeed great and they also have vegan options. Matthew also mentioned Pasquarelli’s Pizza in McKees Rocks, claiming them as the inventor of stuffed-crust pizza.
  • Keith A. McHugh noted, “Never judge a book by its cover. Just found a hidden gem in Bethel Park on 88 called Patsy’s Place. Their pizza is outstanding, made fresh to order. Their breakfasts are supposed to be pretty good also but their pizza is definitely worth trying.”
  • We also heard from someone we ran into at a gym that Angelo’s Pizzaria in Bloomfield is where it’s at. We looked it up and they’ve been making great pizza with fresh ingredients — the true Italian experience, they say — for 30 years. We’ll get there soon, promise.
  • Danielle Spinola told us, “We love the white pizza at Luciano’s in North Park as well as the red pizza at Bellisario’s in North Park too.” Traci Shuler Spangler also vouched for Bellisario’s, which has been renovated and recently reopened after a fire last summer.
  • “When I visit my daughter at Duquesne, we like Pizzaiolo Primo in Market Square,” said Amy LeSuer.
  • “Looks like y’all forgot Benny Fierro’s, though,” said Tyler Jacob Thompson. 
  • “Ummm Rockaway Pizza (in White Oak),” said Andrew Belsick. “The closest thing to NYC pie here.”
  • “Please add Universal Pizza (in Penn Hills) to your list, if only because their gluten-free crust is virtually indistinguishable from a regular crust!” said Cindy Bahn. “For those of us who cannot eat gluten, it’s amazing to eat a pizza with crust that tastes the way I remember a regular crust tasting. Most gluten-free crusts taste like cardboard, but Universal Pizza has found a way to make a delicious, puffy, gluten-free crust.”
  • “This list without Beto’s Pizza is invalid,” asserted Dave Ketter. (We had much debate over Beto’s as we worked on our last pizza story. One of us has trekked many miles to dine on Beto’s not-quite-melted cheese, while others consider their cold toppings a total deal-breaker.) 
Pizza at Threadbare Cider from the kitchen of Executive Chef Jay Wess.

The folks at Threadbare Cider also kindly invited us to check out their pizza. And some of us have and agree it could have easily made the list. The Roasted Apple pizza with slow-cooked Fallen Aspen pork, which we haven’t yet tried, sounds amazing. 

And more votes were also counted for Fazio’s Pizza in Lawrenceville, King Crust on Bower Hill Road in Mt. Lebanon, Proper Brick Oven & Taproom Downtown (A fave of our publisher) and Piazza Talarico and Papa Joe’s Wine Cellar in Lawrenceville.

Even the Brick-Side Eatery at Montefiore Hospital got mentioned — where, we must admit, we would never have thought to look for fabulous pizza. 

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.