The best under-the-radar pizza joints in Tampa

The Best Under-The-Radar Pizza Joints in Tampa

Photo courtesy of New York New York Pizza via Instagram

By Tyler Francischine

February 5, 2024

As every foodie knows, Tampa’s most popular dish is the Cuban sandwich. After all, the lunchtime favorite’s storied past is tied to the Big Guava’s history as the cigar-making capital of the world. Dig a little deeper into Tampa’s culinary scene, however, and you’ll discover a diverse crop of pizzerias and Italian restaurants where pizza lovers can get their fill of New York-style slices, deep-dish Chicago-style pies, and everything in between. Here are just a few under-the-radar spots across Tampa, all prepared to satiate your next pizza craving.

Santoro’s Pizzeria

The Best Under-The-Radar Pizza Joints in Tampa

Photo courtesy of Santoro’s Pizzeria Facebook page

From its brightly painted façade to its chicken cutlet-topped pizzas to its Italian ices, everything at Santoro’s Pizzeria screams, “There’s no place like New Jersey”—and that’s exactly as owner Travis Kaiser intends. Before Kaiser became a restauranteur, he worked as a police officer in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, and even managed a couple run-ins with Jersey Shore cast member Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. These days, Kaiser keeps the Seaside Heights spirit alive at Santoro’s with a daily happy-hour special pairing five drinks with an 18-inch cheese pie. Need to feed the whole party crew? Opt for a square specialty pie like the chicken vodka, created with homemade vodka sauce, or the buffalo chicken pie, topped with a drizzle of bleu cheese.

Lee’s Grocery

Operating out of an unassuming, historic grocery store building, Lee’s Grocery pairs stone-baked pies with juicy and crispy hot wings to create one of Tampa Heights’ brightest neighborhood gems. Locals regularly crowd the small patio of this 140-year-old fixture each evening to enjoy pies like the Bring the Noise, piled high with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, meatballs, and ham, and that’s only after they add the black olives, red onions, green peppers, basil, tomatoes, and of course, extra cheese. Those who prefer to pair their slices with beer will find a varied assortment of local and craft selections.

Cappys

With locations in Seminole Heights, South Tampa, and Tampa Palms—as well as in St. Pete and Riverview, just south of Brandon—Cappys Pizza impresses foodies throughout the Bay with its diverse pizza offerings, serving up both Chicago-style deep-dish pies and larger-than-life, thin-crusted New York-style pizzas. Minimalists will rejoice at the simple perfection of their plain cheese pies, but meat lovers will surely select The Cappy, a pie topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham, onion, green peppers, and mushrooms.

Forbici Modern Italian

The Best Under-The-Radar Pizza Joints in Tampa

Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Food Fight Facebook page

With several gluten-free pasta and pizza options available upon request, Forbici Modern Italian in Tampa’s Hyde Park Village brings classic Italian cuisine into the modern era. Simultaneously, Forbici pays homage to the centuries-old tradition of crafting pizza the Roman way—infusing olive oil into the dough and cooking pies just a bit longer than the Neapolitan style to achieve a light and airy crust. Forbici’s pizzas come in your choice of square or round pies, each containing inventive ingredient combinations like the Calabrian chili, broccoli rabe, and Italian sausage that make the Salsiccia pizza one to try.

Noble Crust

In Tampa’s Carrollwood neighborhood lies a pizza joint that’s home to flavor combinations so unique, you’re unlikely to taste them anywhere else. Enter the “Deep South Italian” menu at Noble Crust. Pies like the Shrimp Puttanesca pair Florida’s own gulf shrimp with mozzarella, basil, garlic, olives, and fried capers, while the Noble Pig changes the game with its Southern brunch-style toppings, including a sunny-side-up egg and sweet sausage. At Noble Crust, you can feed the whole family without breaking the bank. Try the $49 Family Pizza Pack, which includes your choice of three pies paired with a house salad and garlic knots.

Pucks & Pizza

Though not technically located within Tampa city limits, Pucks & Pizza is a Dunedin-based food truck that’s worth the drive, located on US Highway 19 Alternate about 30 miles northwest of the Big Guava. When you arrive, you’ll find crispy, cheesy, Chicago-style deep-dish pies as well as thin-crust “tavern-style” pizzas. Popular pies include The Goon, which heaps piles of sausage, pepperoni, and ham on top of its whole-milk mozzarella, or the sausage and giardiniera, which features hefty helpings of Chicago’s beloved pickled vegetable relish. Only in the mood for a tiny bite? Try a Puck, a 3-inch mini-pizza available for only $5 with two toppings.

New York New York

After drinking and dancing the night away at one of Tampa’s many bars and clubs, there’s only one solution for your late-night, tipsy cravings: a slice from New York New York Pizza. With locations across Tampa in Carrollwood, Hyde Park, Westchase, Ybor City, and the Tampa International Airport, it’s hard to miss out on this time-honored pizzeria. What sets New York New York apart from other late-night slice spots is its commitment to quality. Their dough is always made from scratch and their ingredients are fresh and flavorful. The Florentine pie combines spinach, ricotta cheese, tomatoes, and garlic, while the Four Cheese explores the pairing of cheddar, asiago, and Muenster cheeses with traditional mozzarella.

Due Amici Pizza & Pasta Bar

The Best Under-The-Radar Pizza Joints in Tampa

Photo Courtesy of Due Amici Sauces via Facebook

This pizza establishment located smack in the middle of the Ybor City Historic District may not fly completely under the radar, as locals flock here in droves by day and during late-night hours, but one little-known fact about Due Amici Pizza & Pasta Bar is that their sauces are so coveted, the owners bottle and sell them in stores. After visiting Due Amici and tasting the complexity of their sauces yourself, visit most any Publix or Walmart throughout the southeast US to stock up on their marinara, pink vodka, or arrabbiata sauces to serve as the base of your next DIY pizza pie.

Author

  • Tyler Francischine

    Tyler Francischine is a journalist who writes about travel, arts, culture and community. She's passionate about social justice, the Atlantic Ocean and live music.

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