best pizza in cleveland?

I was in the 8th grade when my mom’s boyfriend (now my stepdad) brought over Little Caesar’s pizza. This marked the first time (as best as I can recall) that we had takeout pizza. Needless to say, I didn’t need to know anything else about this guy – he brought us pizza and thus won us over.

You see, if we wanted pizza, my mom would just make it (and still does to this day). Sure, we ate out occasionally for pizza (my family, specifically my grandma, was very close to the Geraci’s so growing up this was a regular stop for us – though I must admit I find their pizza now not as good as then). And of course there was mall pizza. Throughout the 1980s, I would look forward to trips to Randall Mall solely for a slice of pizza from Scotto’s. The slice was as thin and flimsy as the paper plate it was served on but man was it good. I was also a fan of Antonio’s inside the old food court at Beachwood Place (when they still had that glass elevator in the center, which I also thought was the coolest thing as a kid). Thicker with a slight burn on the cheese. And then there was the two hometown places I remember fondly: Mama Joe’s and the long gone but not forgotten Carlo’s, both in Solon. I have to wonder that if given a slice of any of the above today, if they would taste as good as I remember.

Food itself is incredibly subjective. And when it comes to pizza, look out. You’d think you were discussing politics. Deep dish. Thin. Sweet sauce. Bianca. Foodie pizzas with eggs or truffles or potatoes. To the belief that under no circumstances do any of the aforementioned belong atop a pizza and if so, do not qualify as such. People are a passionate lot when it comes to their beloved pizza pie.

A recent trip to DeGaetano’s in Village Square for family pizza night sparked this post after many people proclaimed their love for their go-to pizza joint on Facebook. And I have to admit; I don’t have one (but am on a constant quest).

Yes, there’s Mama Santa’s in Little Italy that automatically gets the bulk of votes. And I’d throw a few their way, too. I love the atmosphere and you can’t beat the prices. My husband has friends that come up for Youngstown just to pick up some pies to take back home. We can be found there often. But the pizza can be hit or miss for me. Sometimes it’s undercooked and the sauce tastes off to pure pizza perfection.

I have tried Valentino’s, also in Little Italy. People just rave about them. On the couple of occasions I had it, I’m sorry to admit I wasn’t wowed. Maybe I’m not trying the right pizza?

In Cleveland Heights, we’re big fans of Marotta’s. This might actually be my favorite in town. But I tend to forget about this little place and wish we went more often.

On the west side, we were recently introduced to Danny Boy’s via my sister and brother-in-law. They are big fans of this place. And though we could see its appeal, I felt the crust was way too thick and sauce too sweet for my liking. I’ve been told that you can order certain pizzas as thin crust (or at least as thin as they are willing to go) so next time we’ll have to try that.

When I lived in South Euclid, I would often pick up a slice of pizza (or a side of meatballs) from Tasty Pizza in Lyndhurst. This was pretty good and in ways reminded me of Mama Joe’s in Solon.

Finally, I continue to hear positive reviews for Crostatas in Highland Heights and have had every intention of trying for myself, but again, forget about them until it’s too late. But I am eager to and hope that if all I’ve heard to date rings true, Crostatas could become our pizza place.

So, where else should we go? Where’s your go-to pizza place? Or do we give up, pick up some dough from Alesci’s and start making our own?


  1. Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Sweet Basil 26235 Center Ridge Rd. Westlake

  2. don
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    fratello’s–7121 W.130 Parma Hts.–moved from Pearl rd. Real cheese,great sause,sausage,dow.
    I’ve tried many, but this is the best.

  3. E M Fodor
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Best Pizza is Angelos in Lakewood Ohio

  4. Gail
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    angelo`s in Lakewood…Villa Rosa in Cleveland!New to Angelo`s…never disappointed.I have Been going to Villa Rosa my entire life…So good.The one I miss the most who had to move away to Mentor is Maxim`s.I know it sounds silly,but it is best cold or room temp.Grew up on that as well.Nothing like it!

  5. Douglas Murawski
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I have eaten at many pizza places over the last 40 years and the best pizza served is Frankies in North Olmsted. It is always fresh and the best taste – they do not scimp on toppings – just the best pizza’s I have ever eaten.

  6. Faith Bye
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    We love the pizza at Pizza Bogo. They have every kind including special gourmet pizzas or old favorites. They have a great crust which we appreciate being former New Yorkers.

  7. westparkfoodiefreak
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I tried a new pizza place located in a bar; and, no it was not Geppetos/Johnny Malloys.  Its called Brothers Pizza located in Riverside Pub in West Park. It was really pretty good.  They have “unique” pizzas.  For instance, I tried a pizza called a “Mexicali”.  It was probably one of the most unexpectedly flavorful pizzas I have ever had.  They are nice guys with really good food, not just pizza. @brospizzaco 

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