In Italy, they sell it by the gram. In New York, it’s by the slice. It’s deep-dish in Chicago, wood-fired in California and topped with pineapple in Hawaii. Any way you slice it, pizza tops the list on just about every travel website’s breakdown of favorite foods in America and the world. Here in Sedona, we are no exception. After eating more pizza than we care to admit and polling all of our friends, here we present our recommendations of where to go and what to order when you’re craving a big pizza pie.
P.S. If you’re in the mood to drive to the Valley and wait three hours, we also give you the scoop on Oprah’s recommended pizza joint, Pizzeria Bianco.
Our Fave… White Spinach ($16-$24)
Dave Nuzzo has been making pizzas since he was 5. His dad owned a restaurant in Connecticut for 55 years, and most of Dave’s recipes were handed down from his father (Dave’s grandfather is from Naples, Italy). After owning a restaurant in Madison, Conn., for eight years, Dave was tired of the cold, so he moved to the Verde Valley where he has owned APizza Heaven for 13 years. The restaurant has an authentic trattoria vibe with pictures and maps of Italy hanging on the walls, wooden tables and comfy leather chairs, and a huge, ornate mirror that is the focal point of the main dining room. Skylights allow for plenty of natural light – so do the windows that face the outdoor bar and fenced patio. It’s a pizza place worthy of a special night out.
Our favorite pizza on the menu, the White Spinach, won an award at the Sedona Arts Festival about eight years ago, so at least we know we have good taste. We love the simplicity of white pizzas, which forgo the red sauce in favor of olive oil, garlic, herbs and spices. Dave’s pizza is finished with fresh spinach and whole-milk mozzarella that was bubbling when it arrived at our table. The crust is thin, though Dave says he’ll make it any way you like, and it has a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. In a nutshell, this is one of the most elegant pizzas you’ll find on a Sedona menu. Dave, who is in the kitchen almost every night, bakes his pies on bricks in a 600-degree gas-fired oven. “I’m hands on,” he says. “I know what I’m doing because I’ve been doing it for so long.”
APizza Heaven, 2675 SR 89A in West Sedona (928-282-0519)
Famous Pizza & Beer
Our Fave… Greek ($15.50-$17.75)
Famous Pizza, with locations in West Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, has become, well, famous, for its selection of craft beers. We think it’s impossible to eat at this restaurant without sampling an unusual brew from the far reaches of the country or the world. The selection changes regularly, too. Both locations have small interior and exterior dining options – we love the shaded dining outside at the West Sedona location. It’s a great spot to chill out after a hike.
As for the pizza (also available by the slice), Famous gets creative with toppings, like the Mexican pizza topped with jalapeno and hot sauce. For our money, it’s all about the Greek. The crunchy crust is topped with an olive-oil-based garlic sauce (the pizza makers at this joint love garlic), fresh tomatoes, feta and mozzarella cheeses. They throw in some herbs and spices for good measure. Pair your pie with a nice Belgium ale, and you’re set.
Famous Pizza & Beer, 3190 SR 89A in West Sedona (928-282-5464) and 25 Bell Rock Plaza in the Village of Oak Creek (928-284-3805)
The Hideaway Restaurant
Our Fave… Dieter’s Downfall ($10-$20)
For people in the know – and we’re not just talking locals – The Hideaway Restaurant near the “Y” is a perennial favorite for classic Italian dishes and, of course, pizza. We polled our friends (including a group from California who say their Sedona experience isn’t complete without a visit to this restaurant), and they all voted the Dieter’s Downfall as their pie of choice. And if you’re going to deviate from your diet, this is how you want to do it. The pizza is piled high with homemade sauce, homemade sausage, a blend of cheeses, pepperoni, onions, green bell pepper, black olives and mushrooms. The crust is medium thickness with a good crunch behind it. Need we say more?
The atmosphere at The Hideaway has also contributed to the family-owned restaurant’s popularity. During this time of year, skip the small interior dining room and dine al fresco. The two-tiered terrace is located behind the restaurant, away from the noise of SR 179 and suspended in the cottonwood and sycamore trees high above Oak Creek. Your dining experience changes seasonally. In the spring and summer, the leaves are green and the birds and cicadas sing their songs. In the fall and winter, when the trees drop their leaves, you have incredible red rock views. (The upper terrace is dog-friendly, too.) Pizza with a view – quintessential Sedona.
The Hideaway Restaurant, 251 SR 179 at Country Square (928-282-4204)
Moon Dogs Pizza
Our Fave… Stuff Your Own Calzone (two toppings – $12)
Moon Dogs Pizza in West Sedona is about as basic as you can get. The tiny interior has a few tables, two soda refrigerators and a TV. Outside you’ll find a few plastic tables and chairs. That’s it. But what it lacks in ambience it makes up for in pizza, pasta, salads and hoagies. We like the eatery’s Stuff Your Own Calzone. What’s a calzone? Think of a turnover stuffed with pizza toppings. Moon Dogs’ calzone is a chewy, hand-tossed crust filled with roasted-garlic pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. We stuffed ours with black olives and pepperoni. These guys don’t skimp on the pepperoni, either. The calzone we ordered was layered with the slightly spicy meat. The crust on the top of the crescent-shaped calzone was golden brown and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and herbs. Our calzone came with sides of pizza sauce and ranch dressing for dipping. Three can split one of these for a nice light lunch.
Moon Dogs Pizza, 2490 W. SR 89A in West Sedona (928-204-2200)
New York Pizza & Deli
Our Fave… Prima Veggie ($13.25-$16.50)
Ross and Lois Nurrito are native New Yorkers, and Ross is a fourth-generation baker, so you can rest assured New York Pizza & Deli (New York Bagel & Deli by day) is the real deal. The deli began serving pizza several years ago, and we were instantly hooked. (So are a lot of other people in Sedona, so expect a wait.) We’re partial to the Prima Veggie, which is topped with mozzarella, red peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli. The veggies stay crunchy – even the broccoli – and the red sauce doesn’t overpower the delicate flavors. The crisp, homemade crust is just the right thickness. Not vegetarian? Neither are we, which is why we frequently cheat and add pepperoni to our pie.
The eatery definitely has a deli atmosphere with pizza by the slice displayed in glass cases next to mouthwatering pastries and desserts. The walls are decked out with murals featuring the Manhattan cityscape and black-and-white headshots of celebrity clients. There’s outdoor seating, but we prefer to take our pizza home for a picnic-in-front-of-the-TV kind of evening. These pies are decent size, too. Two of us have never finished a medium in one sitting.
New York Pizza & Deli, 1350 W. SR 89A in Old Marketplace in West Sedona (928-204-1242)