The days of Domino’s dominating the Israeli pizza scene with a canned corn-topped pie are toast. While once upon a time Israelis would just surrender to the fact that there was “no good pizza in Israel,” now you can have a debate, in Hebrew, about the best pizzas in Israel, and it could go on for quite some time!

Whether it be a ranking of the best Italian, Roman or New York-inspired slices, or a debate on which toppings make the most scrumptious pie, increased availability of high-quality ingredients, and an overall heightened awareness of what good food really is, pizza is a hot topic in Israel.

ISRAEL21c curated this list of 11 fantastic pizzerias to try next time you’re here.

  1. Fresca Pizzeria Napoletana, Kibbutz Masada (not kosher)
Fresca Pizzeria Napoletana at Kibbutz Masada uses a wood-fired oven from Italy. Photo by Daniel Laila

Drawing unlikely inspiration from a trip to Thailand, this pizzeria, opened by married couple Yoni and Chen Avraham, has been a popular destination spot on Kibbutz Masada in Israel’s northern Jordan Valley since 2012.

Featuring a one-of-a-kind wood-fired oven imported from Napoli, the restaurant boasts a menu that focuses solely on excellent sourdough crust pizzas, Italian wines, beer, cocktails and delicious desserts.

Among the handcrafted pizzas you’ve got to try are Dor’s Pizza with fresh mozzarella, mascarpone, Gorgonzola and pecorino Romano, topped with fresh rocket and basil, olive oil, and sea salt post oven; and Carbonara Pizza, which mimics the famous pasta dish with toppings of pecorino Romano, egg, fresh mozzarella, bacon and fresh basil.

Don’t skip out before dessert, which could be a limoncello-infused tiramisu, a Valhrona chocolate panna cotta, or most decadently, affogato (coffee topped with homemade Madagascar vanilla gelato, and a shot of amaretto liqueur).

The wood-fired oven at Fresca Pizzeria Napoletana. Photo by Daniel Laila
  1. Craft Pizza Jerusalem, Machane Yehuda Market (kosher mehadrin)

Fairly new on Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market culinary scene, Craft Pizza’s delicious secrets are in the name—they treat pizza as the sacred craft it is.

Having consulted prior to opening with American chef and master instructor Tony Gemignani at the International School of Pizza, owners David and Miri Kaplan take their New York-style pizza seriously, serving it up with the friendly hospitality that drew them into the food business to begin with.

Found in the main bustling market, pizza here is sold by the slice or by the pie, and is based on a sourdough crust that follows a traditional three-day process to create. The sauce is made from scratch using Italian tomatoes, and only high-quality mozzarella and parmesan cheese grace the pies along with delicious toppings ranging from smoky roasted beets to anchovies, Kalamata olives, and even chestnuts. All of which can be washed down with a locally brewed Shapiro craft beer.

  1. Caldo Art Pizza Bar, 47 Derech Masada, Beersheva (not kosher)
Photo courtesy of Caldo Art Pizza Bar, Beersheva.

 

Arguably some of the best pizza in Israel’s Negev, Caldo Art Pizza Bar is just steps from Ben-Gurion University in the northern desert city of Beersheva. But don’t let the university student crowd scare you off. This is some serious gourmet pizza (and they have some great handmade pastas too!).

With a menu of 70 different varieties of pizza, some of the more creative pies feature toppings such as pickled lemon, beef prosciutto and shrimp. Sauces range from the traditional red to pesto-based and white. This is a necessary stopping point for lunch on your way farther south, or just for a day out in this college town.

  1. La Piedra, 1 Agron Street, Jerusalem (kosher)
La Piedra gourmet Jerusalem pizzeria. Photo by Avi Sinclair

At this Italian-style gourmet pizza place in the heart of Jerusalem, owner and chef Avi Sinclair makes sure that every pizza fired in the brick oven is handcrafted and delicious.

Sinclair keeps the Neapolitan style while waving goodbye to the traditional strict rules that come with it. This break can be seen in the pizza’s many interesting sauce and topping combinations including a signature pizza consisting of Sinclair’s slow-rise crust made from Italian “00” flour, and topped with crème fresh, mozzarella, smoked salmon, egg yolks and chives.

Other mouthwatering combinations include Modena pizza, which includes red sauce, garlic oil, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, yellow cherry tomatoes and balsamic reduction; and mushroom pizza, which is topped with Gorgonzola cheese, portabella mushrooms and truffle oil.

La Piedra gourmet Jerusalem pizzeria. Photo by Avi Sinclair
  1. Pizzeria Talpiot, 30 Sirkin Street, Talpiot Market, Haifa (not kosher)

New to the up-and-coming dining scene at Haifa’s open-air market, you’ll find Pizzeria Talpiot tucked away right next to the famous Talpiot gourmet restaurant, amid the neighboring fruit, vegetable and dried legume stands.

Like a portal to Italy, the pizzeria offers a menu of irresistible bubbling fresh pasta dishes, such as one that includes winter market greens, wide silky noodles made with flour and egg yolks (which can be seen hanging to dry in the open kitchen), aged parmesan, and ricotta fresca.

And their pizzas are no less fresh and delicious, built on an artisan bread crust and including toppings such as grilled eggplant, fresh oregano, and olive oil; “Tamar” cherry tomatoes; Zucchini, fresh zaatar, and garlic; and even clams, brought in from the fish monger around the corner. This creative vision of New York-trained chef Tomer Abergel is not to be missed on your next trip to Haifa.

  1. Brooklyn Pizza, 276 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv (not kosher)

From the owners of the legendary HaPizza (literally, “The pizza”) and Shine in Tel Aviv comes Brooklyn Pizza. A nod to the giant New York-style pie, these pizzas measure 50 centimeters (that’s almost 20 inches) in diameter.

However, you’re more likely to find yourself choosing from their wide selection of single slices. Informal enough to grab on the go, but inviting enough to make you want to sit for a few minutes while you enjoy your bubbly cheese pizza and a beer (or milkshake), you’ll want to try this pizza shop’s intriguing combos, such as the Green Goddess pizza with three cheeses, pesto sauce, zucchini and artichoke, their white pie with mushrooms, or their hot chili and pineapple variety.

Finish it off with a Nutella calzone (we know!), and then waddle out satisfied.

  1. Pizza Flora, 3 Dekel Street and 25 Gaza Street, Jerusalem (not kosher)
Pizza Flora photo by Noam Preisman

A modern airy Italian eatery in the trendy beating heart of the Jerusalem culinary scene just behind the Machane Yehuda Market (and now with a second location in the Rehavia neighborhood), Pizza Flora brings a fresh Mediterranean vibe to the table through a well-thought-out menu.

Presenting pizzas that are bursting with freshness, including the signature Pizza Flora, a classic Margherita pie topped with fresh rocket leaves and aged parmesan cheese; and varieties topped with grilled zucchini strips, roasted sweet potato; soft boiled eggs, chili, and of course, fresh basil from the market, the food here aims to be simple, well-made, and market-fresh.

Pizza Flora eatery. Photo by Noam Preisman
  1. Pizza Cafrit BaTaboun (Rustic Pizza in a Tabun Oven),37 Shir HaShirim Street, Moshav Berekhya (kosher)

In a moshav southeast of the coastal city of Ashkelon lies an unlikely spot for a rural Italian restaurant with Israeli, Georgian and North African influences. Pizza Cafrit BaTaboun is the vision of local resident, chef, and owner, Chef Michael Harnoy.

He utilizes the greenhouse produce southern Israel is known for, such as bursting cherry tomatoes and succulent eggplants, in his menu of pastas, pizzas and savory pastries that are fired in his stone tabun oven.

Set in a small space with tables covered in red-and-white checkered tablecloths and an expansive and lush yard just off the moshav’s main drag, this is the perfect one for sampling unusual pizzas (shakshuka pizza and maqluba pizza are menu items), and bubbly khachapuri boats, baked just moments ago in the tabun oven that is the centerpiece of Harnoy’s whole operation.

  1. Al Taglio Pizzeria, Yochanan Ben Zakai Street, Tiberias (not kosher)

You can easily spot this new Roman-style pizza eatery from the Vespa parked in the entranceway. Run by the owners of Fresca Pizzeria Napoletana in Kibbutz Masada, the pizza at Al Taglio bears a stark contrast to the Napoli-style pizza of their other restaurant.

Here, pizzas are made in the Roman manner, as wide thick strips of pizza piled with any given combination of wholesome antipasti toppings set over a base of focaccia-like artisan bread.

Toppings range from smoked salmon and avocado to Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, pineapple, chili and fresh herbs. Choose your favorite from the display case, and sit to enjoy a fresh and satisfying Italian snack while you take in the modern Roman scene displayed on the wall.

  1. Kaparuchka, 19 Achava Road, Arad (not kosher)

One of the few places where you can get a proper anchovy pizza in Israel, Kaparuchka is a casual Russian-inspired pizza parlor in the picturesque desert town of Arad that’s turning out brick-oven pizzas, as well as a variety of foccacias, calzones and an entire vegan-friendly menu.

Located above the Dead Sea where the Negev meets the Judean Desert, the restaurant exists in one of the most scenic places in the world to sit and enjoy your tiramisu dessert.

  1. Rafaello

8 Fliman Road, Castra Mall, Haifa

Kiryon Mall, 192 Akko Road, Kiryat Bialik (kosher)

Alon Fashion Shopping District, Kibbutz Ein Shemer

With two locations in the Haifa area and one outside of Pardes Hanna on Kibbutz Ein Shemer in the Sharon region, Rafaello was one of the first authentic Italian restaurants to appear in Israel.

Known for their open kitchen and use of Italian products for decoration, crispy polenta and beef carpaccio are popular dishes, but so are their brick-oven pizzas, which can be ordered with prefixed topping combos, such as pepperoni, olives, red onion, and fresh rocket; goose breast, fried egg, red onion, mushroom, and parmesan over a white sauce; or goat cheese, feta, and mozzarella with pesto sauce and a topping of field greens.