Pizza. Just say that simple word and you’ll evoke emotions in nearly every person you meet. Some will shout New York, others will shout Chicago or New Haven. The argument will be fiercely debated and the best part is, everyone is correct.
There is no such thing as “wrong” pizza, every pizza is perfect in its own way. Whether you want it hot out of the oven or cold the next morning, pizza is a universal food that brings people together.
That’s why is comes as no surprise that in a city as eclectic as Portland, Oregon, there are countless pizza places in every corner of the city and some pizza aficionados are actually crowning Portland as the best city for pizza in the country. This is likely due to the rapid growth and influx of people calling Portland home, they bring their love of “their” favorite pizza and set up shop here in town.
The result is a city bulging at the seams with amazing pizza spots, from quick-service slices to fancy Italian eateries, you can pick up a great slice of pizza, walk one block away and pick up a slice of an entirely different kind of pizza.
Any list, no matter how well-intentioned, is going to miss “your” favorite pizza shop because the options are varied and wide. We bring to you these ten candidates for the best pizza in Portland but in reality, no list could encapsulate the rich pizza landscape of Portland as well as account for the divergent tastes of our growing residential population.
If you can’t get everyone in your house to agree on toppings, you’ll never get an entire city to agree on the best pizza in Portland. However, one thing we can all agree on is that pizza is the perfect food to argue over, because even when we’re wrong, we’re oh so right!
The Best Pizza in Portland Oregon
Below is our picks for the top 10 best pizza in Portland Oregon. To snap directly to a specific location, please click the corresponding link in the list below.
- Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
- Ranch PDX
- Escape from New York
- Oven And Shaker
- Scottie’s Pizza Parlor
- Life of Pie
- Hot Lips Pizza
- Red Sauce Pizza
- Handsome Pizza
- Apizza Scholls
10. Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
Our list of the best pizza places in Portland are in no particular order, but we just had to start with Lovely’s Fifty Fifty.
This gem is tucked away in northern Portland and serves up some of the most unusual pizza pies that we’ve ever seen.
It’s nearly a shame to cut into one of these pieces of art and the appreciation of the artistic presentation gives us pause, but only for a moment as the aromas beckon us to enjoy the pizza’s taste as well as its appearance! The menu rotates as fresh and locally sourced ingredients come in and out of season or availability and that means you’ll always get the best pizza in Portland at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty.
This week’s pizza menu is filled with ingredients we’ve heard of but never imagined on a pizza. You won’t find mass-produced “pepperoni” on the list, but you can get a house-made fennel sausage. Porcini mushroom, Shishito peppers, carrots, capers, eggplant, asparagus… the list goes on and it’s making us hungry to try each and every pizza pie they make.
Delicious combinations of garden ingredients blended with an aesthetic eye for artistic appearances and you have yourself the makings of one of the best pizza places in all of Portland.
9. Ranch PDX
In 2017, they opened up the first “Ranch Pizza” after being an amazingly successful pop-up joint.
By 2019 the second location opened up and now they have four locations to order the best pizza in Portland.
Baked in deep pans, Ranch Pizza comes with that thick fluffy Sicilian crust that some people call “Detroit” style if you just get pepperoni toppings, otherwise, it is a Sicilian bread with crispy edges topped with whatever you like.
And whatever toppings you choose, many people have come to dipping their pizza crusts in ranch dressing and if you can’t tell by the name of the restaurant, Ranch PDX knows this and caters to our needs.
Cups of thick and creamy ranch sauce are essential for dipping that spongy crust into after you’ve had a bite. The thick spread of toppings speak for itself and you don’t need the extra sauce, but you don’t “need” to do a lot of things in life, don’t miss out on the good stuff, make sure you enjoy the experience of Ranch Pizza when you’re in Portland.
They have the pepperoni, a cheese, a veggie, a vegan, and the #4 Sausage on the menu, and you can get them as whole pies, halves, or quarters so whether you’re feeding the family or grabbing a slice for lunch, grab it from Ranch PDX, the best pizza in Portland.
8. Escape From New York
We’ll be the first to defend alternative pizza styles; the Chicago deep dish, the Detroit Sicilian, the St. Louis cracker crust… we’ll even defend the Philadelphia tomato pie or the California cuisine pizzas.
But there is no escaping the tried and true original New York style pizza.
This icon of the pizza-serving world is best served by the single slice and that is Escape From New York’s claim to fame, being the first pizza-by-the-slice restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Order a whole pie, grab a quick slice, or hang around out front and enjoy the company. Escape From New York Pizza attracts a clientele that seems to “get it” when it comes to the New York attitude.
The menu is a “take it or leave it” kind of message. Single page, half of it is a paragraph on the freshness of the ingredients, so your options are limited and people seem to love that.
Get it traditional cheese only, or choose from the standard nine toppings you’d expect at any pizza joint only don’t ask for a side of ranch dipping sauce or you’ll get an odd look; New Yorkers don’t “dip”. Grab your slice, fold it in half and escape to an authentic pizza experience.
7. Oven and Shaker
Sometimes you want that street-corner greasy slice, but there are also days where you wish you could grab a seat, order up a fine beverage and enjoy some of the best pizza in Portland.
Your wish has been granted in the name of Oven and Shaker pizza.
This is a casual but upscale bar and restaurant in the Pearl District where you can relax and still enjoy a great pizza pie. When the restaurant brags about bringing their bricks for the pizza oven over from Milan, Italy, you can rest assured they take their pies seriously. The executive chef knows Italian foods and assures you that Oven and Shaker pizza will be the best pizza you can get in Portland.
There is something so perfectly authentic about the oven charred crust you can only get from a blazing hot pizza oven. Oven and Shaker have the traditional options for you, the pepperoni, the mushroom, Italian sausage, but if you’re looking for a tasty pizza that isn’t classified as “too experimental”, give the Fennel Diavolo or Maple Pig pizza a try.
You can get additional toppings and create your own pizza concoction but no matter what you order, you are sure to enjoy the best pizza in Portland at Oven and Shaker.
6. Scottie’s Pizza Parlor
When you think of the local neighborhood pizza joint, you’re thinking of the best pizza and you’re thinking of Scottie’s Pizza Parlor in Portland.
You may not have been here yet, but that local spot in your old childhood stomping grounds?
Yeah, that place is alive and well in the Hosford-Abernethy area of Portland, Oregon. The storefront isn’t large, the menu isn’t known as being unique or adventurous, but the tastes are authentic and the pizza is among the best in Portland.
Large 18” pies are made fresh daily and if you show up to one of the event days, you can order limited items such as Stuffed Crust Sundays, or the first Friday of every month Scottie’s goes “after dark” and from 10 pm to midnight has oversized 28” pizza pies by the slice!
If time is limited and you can’t hang around at the neighborhood pizza parlor, you can get a Scottie’s to go and it is the only pizza you will live as much when you get it home as when it comes from the pizza ovens at Scottie’s.
They twice bake their pizzas to get that flavorful texture and when you order a par-bake to go, they let you make the second heating become the final touch so no one has to have soggy or wasted pizza!
5. Life of Pie
More than a neighborhood pizza place, Life of Pie Pizza is actively looking to build their local neighborhood by becoming an integral part of the culture and a beacon of not only the best pizza in Portland, but some of the best people as well.
Two locations on opposing sides of the Willamette River, Boise and Northwest Slabtown, Life of Pie brings that perfect wood fire char crust to the people and they do it with a smile hoping their pizza and their encouragement will make your day all the brighter. And we’re here to tell you, it does.
There is no gimmick here at Life of Pie Pizza and we’re not saying that gimmicks are inherently bad, sometimes finding a niche and hook to attract customers is what makes the difference between a successful storefront and one that goes bust. However, the folks at Life of Pie Pizza just make the best pizza in Portland, serve it through quality staff, and allow their food to speak for itself.
The Pizza is amazing, fennel sausage, goat cheese, leeks, arugula, and other fresh ingredients are expertly placed around the puffed-up crust and that crisp bottom ties it all together for a fantastic pizza meal to share with friends new and old alike.
4. Hot Lips Pizza
Who doesn’t want to promote their local spot that thrives in their neighborhood?
Well, Hot Lips Pizza started out serving the best pizza in Portland back in the 1980s and has expanded to a thriving business with multiple locations, a beverage line of their own, and a loyal customer base that tells you that if you’re in their city, you MUST try Hot Lips Pizza!
They have a catering service that has provided over 500 pizzas at a time, so no job is too large for them and if you walk into any of their locations, you’ll see why everyone wants to have Hot Lips Pizza at their next event.
We can get a good slice of pepperoni pizza on any street in Portland, but in order to stand out from the crowd, to truly make your mark in the pizza business, Hot Lips Pizza has discovered that sometimes people want something unusual.
Their pepperoni is good but if you’re up to the challenge then their seasonal specialty pies like the Oktoberfest special Bratlips pizza; bratwurst, onion, mustard glaze, or the autumn favorite the Waldorf; apples, blue cheese, and walnuts. With rotation specialties, regular favorites, and a great selection of vegan options, even if you’re just getting a plain cheese, don’t forget the basil pesto breadsticks!
3. Red Sauce Pizza
Occasionally a restaurant will have an identity crisis and will have a menu full of items beyond their specialty.
Some places struggle with this concept, but Red Sauce Pizza on Fremont excels in a way that brings the full menu into focus and spotlights the best pizza in Portland alongside these other delectable options.
Striving to be more than a pizza shop, Red Sauce Pizza feeds its community and offers its customers the options only on selected days. The best pizza every day, and a new accompaniment on select days throughout the week.
Hoagies on Wednesday and Thursdays, loaves of sourdough bread on Mondays and Tuesdays, and calzone every day but Friday!
When you make your order at Red Sauce Pizza, be sure to study the Azzip menu closely. Yes, I spelled that correctly; the original sign hung upside down and since then, Pizza became Azzip at Red Sauce. But the pizza pies are named after people, not the ingredients.
So you have to spend a minute getting to know your pizza to know why Princess Sarah is sausage and peppers, or the Jill of All Trades is a white pizza with anchovy, ricotta, and green olives. Once you read the menu, make your selection, and order your azzip, you’ll agree that it might just be the best pizza in Portland.
2. Handsome Pizza
Right in the heart of Vernon in northeast Portland is a dual shop that compliments one another like a hand in glove.
Handsome Pizza is sister shop to Seastar Bakery and together they offer great food, locally sourced, and lovingly prepared, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Artisan pizza may be a new concept to some, but it comes as no surprise to anyone living in the area to know the best pizza in Portland is likely these fantastic pizza pies coming from Handsome Pizza. They offer that smoky char on the crust that you can only get from a wood fire pizza oven, and the flavor is perfection.
The prices on the menu may appear elevated, but the folks at Handsome Pizza are making a move away from the “low wage and tips” model of the foodservice industry. By offering their crew a living wage, the love of making pizza shines through.
They also offer, among the plethora of classic and specialty options, one of the best three-cheese pizzas in Portland though it comes in three available names for the same exact pie. It’s called the “Choose You Own Price Pizza” and they offer three price points depending on what you make and what you are willing to pay.
Handsome Pizza not only makes the best pizza, but they are also looking to make a positive change in Portland.
1. Apizza Scholls
East coast and west coast battles have been fought since we made our way across the country to the Pacific Ocean. Lifestyles, music genres, and yes, even our beloved pizza is subject to these arguments.
The name Apizza is a nod to the New Haven-style pizza crust, a distinctively east coast New England “thing”.
Apizza Scholls took that style of coal fire-charred thin crust and brought it to the west coast and now serves some of the best pizza in Portland, New Haven-style. Adding to that old-world ambiance in Apizza Scholls’ shop is the collection of classic standup arcade machines, all kept functioning and all still just $0.25.
In keeping with the Apizza style, many of the pies come with no sauce, which can be added upon request but should be tasted in their original “dry” recipe. The menu at Apizza Scholls is filled with the classics and some must-try specialties as well as a limited supply of calzone.
Among the favorites is The Moxie; pepperoni, spicy peppers, black olives, and the Paulie Gee; hot salami, ricotta, with basil and hot honey added after baking. You can mix and match to build your own, and if you like, you can even ask them to “bake light” if you’re not a fan of that New Haven coal char, but this is easily one of the best pizzas in Portland.
Our Final Thoughts: The Best Pizza in Portland Oregon
Portland is growing as a large influential city in Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest. As the city grows, it gains more residents and those residents bring their culture with them. Their abilities, their desires.
And so we have a great city that is a snapshot of all those who live within her boundaries. Some of us like thin crust pizza, some like thick crust, and all of us agree that we want the best pizza in Portland.
Not only does our large growing population ensure that we have diverse tastes in what we like, but also the supply of talented bakers and entrepreneurs that want to bring their pizza pies to us.
Local businesses all claim to have the best pizza in Portland and all of them are correct. The very idea that we’re all going out and enjoying our local Portland pizzerias, supporting local businesses and sampling their wares, tasting their food, sharing their culture… that is why Portland is growing strong and becoming one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
We can argue over being a cat-person or a dog-person, we can debate the merits of one superhero over the other, but we can have those arguments over good pizza, and the best place to get pizza is in Portland, Oregon.