This city has seen, in the past few years, an increase in quality pizza kitchens slinging artisan pies on wood-fired crusts. Respectable pizzerias of every variety, from chef-focused concepts sourcing exotic ingredients to mom-and-pop hole-in-the-walls tossing simple feel-good pizza. Some honorable mentions include the Venice-based Piola in Midtown, Luna Pizzeria off Kirby and non-pizza specific concepts like Sixty Vines in Rice Village. Yet, despite the pizza renaissance Houston has enjoyed as a product of the city's overall culinary awakening, one James Beard-nominated Italian kitchen remains comfortably seated atop the proverbial pole. That is, chef Ryan Pera's flagship restaurant, Coltivare Pizza & Garden.
Boasting a rustic Italian menu capable of raising a few eyebrows in the Old Country, Coltivare is Houston's definitive pizza experience. Pera's pies are difficult to categorize in a traditional sense. While similar in some ways to Neapolitan — both in their charred edges and minimalist preparation — Coltivare pizzas boast a raised and doughy crust that steals the show, despite being topped with an impeccable array of epicurean delights. Our favorite of Pera's creations is the sinfully salty chicken, prosciutto, tomato, sage and saba. A sauce-less bianco pie, the lack of tomato sauce allows the crust to take center stage, while the liberally distributed La Quercia prosciutto adds a luscious savoriness that pairs beautifully with a glass of something red.
3320 White Oak, Houston
Readers' Choice: Star Pizza