Best Pizza in Sarasota?

 I don’t use the word ‘love’ lightly, but “I love pizza.”  Just writing that sentence makes me wonder why its so difficult to get a fresh pie delivered at 8am (the time it happens to be as I write this) – hot and greasy right out of an authentic brick oven or whatever magical box happens to produce this Heavenly food.

So, as a self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur, I’ve decided to share a few of the best pizza places in the Sarasota area.  There are a few Sarasota establishments which stand above others as the best places for pizza in Sarasota.

Now, the top slot for best pizza in Sarasota is a tough one.  I’m going to award it to Il Panificio on Main Street but they could’ve easily been penalized because I have such a hard time pronouncing the name of the place.  If I were relating this to you verbally, they could’ve easily missed out.  Il Panificio offers what I, a blue blooded American whose never been out of the country, imagine pizza was before it left Italy.  A thin, crisp flatbread crust with the perfect proportions of sauce and cheese and whatever toppings you can imagine and some that you probably didn’t.  Their Italian Market style eatery is unique and I feel ‘hip’ leaning against one of their high-top tables for a quick slice (or two).  For lunch, you’re spending about 10 bucks for a couple slices and a drink.  They’re not giving it away, but its well worth it and I’m confident that if you’re on Main Street in Sarasota for lunch, $10 isn’t going to seem unreasonable.  For dinner or take out on a whole pie, you’re getting much more for your money.  A large pizza is around the usual $18 bucks and worth every penny.

Second best pizza in Sarasota – and these folks were probably close enough to tie for first is Rico’s.  Where Il Panificio might be the crisp Italian orginal, Rico’s is the New York style pizza that Americans (like me) have fallen in love with.  This is the big slice of you-better-fold-it-in-half, dripping-with-goodness, cheesy bundle of I-want-some.  If you live in Sarasota and you’re reading this article (presumably because you like pizza), then you’ve probably tried Rico’s pizza and you know.  Its just… well, its the way pizza is supposed to be.  It drips a little grease on the paper plate while you eat it.  Mmmmm.  They don’t get any extra credit in this article for it, but their calamari is excellent too – their Bay Rd. location is definitely suitable for the impromptu dinner date after a movie.

Third prize for where to get the best pizza in Sarasota – and this is no easy contest – goes to Pizza SRQ on Palmer.  This place surprised me.  They’re in a great location for the guys that keep everything running during the day, the guys who fix the AC and install your floor – the van guys.  This place was packed at lunchtime.  The owner (its always obvious who the owner is in these places) welcomed me in as if I were a guest in his home.  He obviously knew most of the customers by their first names – my kinda place.   Great pizza, they’re onto something here.  They’re using the right cheese and sauce, correct proportions of both.  The dough though, while still very good, could use just a tiny bit of work.  You know that dough that makes Pizza Hut so terrible?  There was the ever-so-slightest hint of whatever that is.  But I can’t stress enough that these folks are still in the top 3 in the area so we’re still talking about a great pizza worth trying!  (Its also worth mentioning that since I have no affiliation with these folks and this isn’t a paid ad gig, I can be brutally honest.)  Go try it yourself and tell me I’m wrong! 

Think I missed the best pizza in Sarasota?  Think you know of a place better than any of these?  Comment below and let me know!  I’m certainly willing to admit when I’m wrong and I’m more than willing to go to a new place for a slice at lunchtime.  And just in case you’re a business owner who THINKS I should try your pizza and you’re willing to donate a couple of slices in the name of science, I’m not above revising this article if your pizza beats out any of these other good pies.

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2012-09-29