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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Best Pizza in Milwaukee

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Balistreri's
812 N. 68th St.
This is Wauwatosa's destination for a good pizza. Family friendly, the old-time pizzeria offers many thin-crust pizzas along with a few other items such as Sicilian steak, veal and pastas. But pizza is the reason the place is always so busy. (J.B.) $$. CC. FF. 475-1414

Dom and Phil De Marinis
1211 E. Conway
Born of a family schism that led brothers Dom and Phil to open shop just two blocks away from matriarch Mama De Marinis' longstanding Italian restaurant, this blue-collar neighborhood Italian restaurant offers a similar menu and similar signature pizza as the original De Marinis, only in a larger and modestly more updated dining room.  The pasta dinners and sausage, pork chop and chicken parmigiana sandwiches are nothing fancy, but they are dirt cheap, and the pizza is good deal for the price, with heaps of toppings loaded over a slightly chewy thin crust. (E.R.) $$ CC.  RS, FF, FB, OD. 481-2358

Joey Buona's
500 N. Water St.
Buona's is about Chicago style Italian. This means fine Italian beef sandwiches but also those stuffed pizzas that will feed an army. The décor is compelling in one of Downtown's landmark buildings. The menu broadens to include other Sicilian-American dishes but the pizza and beef are the reasons to come. (J.B.) $$$. RS. Handicap access. 272-8662

Lisa's Pizzeria
2961 N. Oakland Ave.
Vintage red-and-white checkered tablecloths remind customers of Italian restaurants from days past. The pizza's vintage in its own right, baked with a crispy-crackled crust, plenty of zesty sauce and toppings to boot. Consistently rated as an East Side favorite. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. Service bar only. 332-6360

Maria's Pizzeria
5025 W. Forest Home Ave.
Visit Maria's Pizza, its three generations of family owners and its loyal clientele for a glimpse into 1950s dedication and charm. Established over a half century ago, Maria's is decked out in festive Christmas lights, paint-by-number religious pictures and Tiffany-style lamps. You'll smell the delicious sesame seed garlic bread from a block away and the tasty breaded appetizers will have your mouth watering in seconds. Italian classics such as spaghetti and lasagna are available and the enormous, signature thin crust pizzas are made to satisfy any appetite. (S.M.) $-$$. Cash Only. 543-4606

Pizza Shuttle
1827 N. Farwell Ave.
Pizza, wings, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, pasta, seafood, gyros, shawarma, pita, subs, wraps, calzone, stromboli, every sort of greasy appetizer, garlic bread, bread sticks, homemade soups, salads, sundaes, shakes, malts, floats, cheesecake, funnel cake, cookies, soda and beer are on the vast menu.  “Best Of” awards for take-out, late night, cheap eats and fast delivery fill a wall.  The retro dine-in area has a front wall of windows, a classic photo booth and a Pac-Man video game.  (J.S.) $. CC. Handicap access. 289-9993

Pizzeria Piccola
7606 W. State St.
Just order at the counter and find an upstairs table. The menu centers on Neapolitan pizzas, single-sized with a thin center crust and doughy edges. All toppings are traditional Italian in combinations that can't fail. There is also sautéed mozzarella as a starter, an arugula salad, pastas and decent paninis. A small selection of wine and beer is also served. (J.B.) $$. CC. OD. Handicap access. 443-0800

Riverfront Pizzeria
509 E. Erie St.
Inside you'll find a bar along with many windows facing the RiverWalk in a renovated warehouse space with marbleized concrete floors and a high ceiling with exposed beams. The excellent pizza is the focus, but the menu also offers appetizers, salads, pastas, sandwiches and a limited number of entrees. Geared toward casual, Riverfront Pizzeria is a fun place to be. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 277-1800

Rustico Pizzeria
223 N. Water St.
Rustico is a more casual venue than its sister restaurant, Zarletti. The menu focuses on pizza with a few salads, pastas, paninis and appetizers. Outdoor dining is directly on the RiverWalk. The pizzas rank with Milwaukee's best. The past prima vera is lovely with the flavor of grilled vegetables, while the pasta della nonna is as good as Zarletti's. The menu is affordable, making it a fine Third Ward dining option. (J.B.) $$. CC. FF. SB. Handicap access. 220-9933.

SoLo Pizza
2856 N. Oakland Ave.
SoLo is the new name for the former Oakland Trattoria. The menu is more focused on the wood-fired pizzas although entrée salads and a few pastas remain. Design your own pizza here. There are three sizes and the cost for the many toppings is minimal, even for anchovies and prosciutto. The new interior is more vibrant. Tile mosaics have flame designs and a lot of sizzle. $$. FF. RS. Handicap access. (J.B.) $$. CC. Handicap access. 964-2850.

Transfer Pizza
101 W. Mitchell St.
The crust at Transfer is exceptional, thin and a bit puffy at times. The options are numerous. The white pizzas with roasted garlic are a delight, but the red sauce also rocks. Lunch here is one of the finest bargains in town. Look for live music on Tuesday evenings. (J.B.) $-$$. FB. Handicap access. 763-0438.

Zaffiro's Pizza
1724 N. Farwell Ave.
The setting is definitely tavern, but they serve the best traditional thin-crust pizza in town. No such toppings as duck sausage here; just one cheese is used and nothing is wood-fired. Stick to pepperoni, pork sausage and anchovies. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. RS for 10+, FF, FB. LT. Handicap access. 289-8776.