Top Ten Pizza Restaurants in the Boise area!
By Adrianne Goff
Editor’s note: This is the first of an ongoing feature in Idaho Family Magazine that will be written by Associate Publisher, Adrianne Goff. Our TOP 10 lists will highlight restaurants and other businesses in the Boise area that are a good resource and family-friendly. Adrianne will visit each site and write up a brief description and review for each of our TOP 10 lists. The restaurants below are listed in alphabetical order. If you would like to nominate a restaurant or business for consideration, please email Adrianne at email@example.com.
1. Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria
6700 N. Linder Ste 192 Meridian, ID 83646
(5 Boise locations)
D.O.C Calabria – San Marzano Pomodoro tomatoes, pancetta, Capicola, mozzarella, Calabrian chili ricotta, fire roasted tomatoes, arugula and shaved parmesan.
D.O.C Diavola – Fior di Latte, San Marzano Pomodoro tomatoes, spicy calabrese, fresh basil, fresh garlic and crush red pepper.
BBQ Chicken – Fontina, blue cheese, red onion, green onion and cilantro.
What is Neapolitan-Style Pizza? And why is it so tricky to make right at home? Well maybe it’s because the Italian definition for “Neapolitan pizza” is both neurotically specific and incredibly vague. According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, Neapolitan pizza must use water that is clean and free of gas, have a pH of 6.7, the flour must be made with high protein 0 flour, kneaded by hand, be topped only with mozzarella and grated hard cheese, Vesuvian-grown San Marzano tomatoes, and basil, and baked exclusively in a wood fire oven which has reached the cooking temperature of 485° C, (905F) for no longer than 90 seconds. Make sense? Yeah, it’s a mouthful. But I think a tastier mouthful would be to recommend that you just go to Flatbread’s Neapolitan Pizzeria to get your fix. Eagle Co-owner and Director of Operations, Denton Musser exclaims that Flatbread’s Neapolitan-Style Pizza is authentic to its Napoli roots, following the above mentioned protocols To a T; importing the Caputo flour and San Marzano Pomodoro tomatoes all the way from Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country). Also imported from Italy was a beautiful concrete oven and a slab of marble used as a countertop, which interesting enough requires the use of less flour, because the dough won’t stick to it. Their Prosciutto Crudo comes from Creminelli, a 7th generation Saluminarie (loosely translated it means a very skilled meat Artisan.) We sampled several of their lunch sized Pizzetta’s which were all delicious, with our favorite being the Calabria – San Marzano Pomodoro tomatoes, pancetta, Capicola, mozzarella, Calabrian chili ricotta, fire roasted tomatoes, arugula and shaved parmesan. The kids crafted a “make-your-own-pizza” with sauce, cheese and pepperoni to show off their artistic sides. And last but not least was the warm Chocolate Melting Cake with vanilla gelato. Buon appetito!
2. Flying Pie (Meridian)
601 S Main St. Meridian, ID 83642 (208) 888-9500
(5 Boise locations)
Denver Pie – Alfredo Sauce, Whole Milk Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar, Real Canadian Bacon, Mushrooms, Sliced Onions, Green Peppers and Fresh Diced Roma Tomatoes.
Samoan – Provolone, Smoked Gouda, Sharp Cheddar, Pineapple, Real Canadian Bacon and Red Sauce.
Chile-N-Lime Chicken – Black Bean Sauce, Whole Milk Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar, Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Sliced Onions, Verde Marinated Chicken, and Sliced Green Onions.
Whoa talk about hot pizza, as in Habanero hot! Flying Pie Pizza is coming into their 25th summer season of Habaneros. They have four levels of heat: Single, Double, Triple, and Quad (added in 2018) which has Ghost Pepper sauce on it! The pizza is such a fun challenge that it was featured on Man vs. Food in 2009 (only to the triple level, but still that’s three more than I will ever do!) If you’re up for the challenge they will also supply ice cream to help cool the burn and it’s recommended to eat it with a fork to spare your lips. Forget about the lips what about your…. never mind. In fact if you decide to take the Habanero pizza offsite you MUST sign a waiver. Flying Pie was first opened in Boise in 1978 and is now owned by Florian Penalva since 2011. They just celebrated their 40th year! Our favorite pizza was the Denver Pie – Alfredo Sauce, Whole Milk Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar, Real Canadian Bacon, Mushrooms, Sliced Onions, Green Peppers and Fresh Diced Roma Tomatoes. A nice addition to the pies was their very well composed 30 topping salad bar, which had a fresh and flavorful variety of salads, pasta and veggies. This local chain is a local hit and it’s easy to see why because you get what you pay for. If you really enjoyed your meal make sure to honk the horn on the way out. HONK HONK!!
3. Garbonzo’s Pizza
206 E Main St.
Middleton, ID 83644
Country Chicken – Grilled chicken, mushrooms, and bacon with a homemade ranch sauce.
Classic Pepperoni – Tons of cheese and tasty pepperoni.
Meat, Meat & more Meat – Pepperoni, salami, beef meatballs, ham, Italian sausage.
2nd generation owner, Tom Genta has been tossing pies since his father opened the 1st location in Middleton in 1984. Garbonzo’s has the BIGGEST pie in the valley at a whopping 28”, it’s appropriately called “The Giant”! All dough is hand tossed (even The Giant). Next comes generous amounts of local cheese, and house made pizza sauce unless you get the Country Chicken which was one of our favorites, which uses house made ranch, grilled chicken, mushrooms and bacon! The crust can be described as a classic New York Style, aged for at least 2 days. In every bite of this crust you can hear a resonating crunch, as if you were snacking on chips of some sort. Go ahead and pair your meal with a 1/2 gallon (64oz) pitcher of draft beer for just $10 or a mug for $3. And what better way to end this meal than with a hot pan of cinnamon monkey bread with cream cheese frosting. Yum, Yum to all of it! Star residents are in for a treat as this Middleton location delivers all-the-way-to-Star. There is no reason NOT to call for delivery.
12375 Chinden Blvd., Ste G
Boise, ID 83713
Our own creation – Red sauce, tons of cheese, basil, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes and loads of mushrooms.
Pepperoni – Classic pepperoni and cheese.
Meat Supreme – Pepperoni, Italian sausage, linguisa, meatball, green pepper and mushroom.
What makes Guido’s New York style pizza stand out from other New York styles? Owner, Evan Marks claims it’s their commitment to authenticity for one. From the hot ovens, and meticulously placed quality ingredients that are perfectly balanced, down to the disposable white paper plates. Guido’s downtown first opened in 1994 and Guido’s #2 on Chinden 14 years later. Unlike Neapolitan pizzas, New York pizzas are thin and large, as in Guido’s has the largest 18 inch “medium” I have ever seen! Don’t even think that that you will be able to get the takeout box in your refrigerator, unless you’re a Tetris master and move some shelves and condiments around, or just throw them away because this pizza is worth the space. Think of New York Style pizza as a blank palate for your taste buds. You can add any and all ingredients that you want to make the pie “your way”, or you can go with classic options such as: pepperoni, veggie, basil or the slice of the day, which just happened to be a delicious corned beef and sauerkraut. Our favorite was the last pie we had them create; red sauce, basil, garlic, sundried tomato and loads of mushrooms! The ONLY way to consume these massive slices of piping hot pizza is to fold them over, in half (taco style), as you take a bite and go to put your pizza back down the cheese stretches from your mouth back to the plate. Now that’s some fresh cheese. I also want to highlight the pizza sauce, it was different than I have experienced, I am used to pizza sauce with noticeable oregano notes (which I love) but this thick sauce used, wait for it…fresh basil. And wow what a nice change up. Guido’s has tasty fresh-made salads as well and they even make all of their own salad dressings, which is pretty impressive for a small pizzeria. The roasted garlic is hands down the best dressing I have ever had, as in I was licking the last drops out of the container. Go get yourself a slice of this delicious New York Style pizza any time of the day or night.
5. Messenger Pizza
1224 1st St S.
Nampa, ID 83651
Drunken Goat – Goat cheese, roasted figs, B-29 bacon, fresh arugula, reduced balsamic vinegar.
Alfalfa & Omega – Whole wheat crust, sprouts, marinated, cucumbers, feta, fresh tomatoes.
Jalapeño Popper – Sweet cream cheese, house made sweet & sour, jalapeño, pineapple.
Messenger Pizza is located in an old press building in downtown Nampa and owned by Cassidy and Shawn McKinley, they opened Messenger in 2010. Upon arrival you are dazzled with the eclectic decor, exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and upside down umbrella lights. Tables and chairs are intentionally mismatched to fit the funky shapes of the room. A brightly colored chalk board menu lists all of the pizzas, sandwich, salads, baked goods, etc. that they offer daily. Their biggest pie is a 24 incher, the 2nd biggest in the Valley! The dough is made fresh daily and has this thin, crusty crunch to it. All sauces are made in house; marinara, ranch, pesto all of which have a well balanced flavor profile. All of the toppings were fresh, no preservatives are used and that makes a big difference. Out of all of their fun flavor mashups our favorite was the Drunken Goat, which had roasted figs, goat cheese, sweet & sticky bacon (trust me it’s to die for) and arugula. Delicious! Messenger also had a large selection of craft beers and wines by the glass and a daily selection of enormous individual slices.
6. North End Pizza
1513 N. 13th St. Boise, ID 83702
Tri Town – House made turkey meatballs, julienned white onions, dried oregano, basil and parsley.
Duck Club – Smokey breakfast bacon, fresh jalapeños, cream cheese and berry coulis on an olive oil base.
Hyde Perk – Smokey breakfast bacon, gorgonzola, pears and fresh sage.
North End pizza is located in Boise’s historic Hyde Park area. Boise was founded in 1864 and considered to be a pedestrian city where people walked everywhere, rode bicycles, horses or rode the horse-drawn omnibus lines (streetcars that used horses and sometimes mules.) An electric trolley system was implemented in 1891, just 5 years after the first ever fully electric trolley line was established in Scranton, PA. Boise Valley Streetcars and Interurban trolley systems were used until 1928 until they were forced out by other means of transportation. Then Hyde Park was an exemplification of the Boise’s streetcar suburbs and today the North End is the official mountain and touring bike headquarters of the Treasure Valley. Enough of the history lesson and on to the food. I promise there won’t be a pop quiz. Established in 2016 North End is owned by T.J. and Missy Sayles (co-owners of German bar Prost) and Chris Navarra (owner of Ridge Pizza and Prost German Pubs.) North End’s pizzas can be described as a delicious, quirky mashups of unexpected, yet delicious ingredients. Their crust is a west coast hand toss which is in somewhere between a New York style and a Chicago deep dish. That one has you thinking doesn’t it? Our favorite was the Tri Town – House made turkey meatballs, julienned white onions, dried oregano, basil and parsley. They make their own red sauce in-house and hand toss all pies with mozzarella and provolone. You won’t just get good pizza when you visit North End, you are also guaranteed a great beer and wine selection and a fun atmosphere. North End Pizza is a great addition to Boise’s historic North End.
7. Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill
– 127 E State St. Eagle, ID 83616 (208) 939-0212
– 980 E Fairview Ave, Meridian, ID 83642 (208) 884-1067
– 2007 N Cassia St, Nampa, ID 83651 (208) 461-7333
– 1805 W State St, Boise, ID 83702 (208) 387-2727
– 415 E Parkcenter Blvd, Boise, ID 83706 (208) 429-0011
– 1011 N Meridian Rd, Kuna, ID 83634 (208) 922-2255
The Smokehouse – Hickory smoked tomatoes, smoked gouda, Italian sausage and caramelized red onions.
Carnivore Combo – Pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, and applewood smoked bacon.
Great White – Creamy garlic sauce with marinated chicken, artichoke hearts, roma tomatoes, mushrooms and fresh garlic.
Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill opened their first doors in the Sun Valley area in 1992. Eagle was the 1st Boise location to open in 1995 and soon become a Treasure Valley favorite. After meeting with Chief Operating Officer, John Ryan and the staff of the Eagle restaurant, it’s easy to see why this brand has grown to 6 strong Boise locations. One of the highlights of this visit was watching the kids craft the “kids make-your-own-pizza”. An artist pallet comes out loaded with cheese, choice of 2 toppings and sauce, once the kids finish concocting their creation, the pizza is then cooked and brought back out on a frisbee that the kids get to keep. This was a tasty, fun HIT! We started with their new appetizer called BRIE KISSES which are small chunks of brie cheese, wrapped in a puffed pastry, baked golden brown and served warm with a boysenberry-jalapeño jam. Dough is made fresh daily and hand tossed to order. The crust is sprinkled with parmesan cheese to add a nice flavor and texture just before it goes into the quickest cooking (5-1/2 minute) oven in the valley. All sauces are made in house and the Alfredo sauce is made to order. Our favorite was The Smokehouse which has hickory smoked tomatoes, smoked gouda, Italian Sausage and perfectly caramelized red onions. You can tell that all of the toppings were fresh and sourced locally (freshness you can really taste). Smoky Mountain is partnered with the United Dairymen of Idaho to offer local cheeses from Idaho cows (and they say “happy cows come from California”). They deliver their entire menu, which is vast! From pizzas and pastas to burgers, steaks and salmon. Oh, and the desserts, do not “Fuggedaboutit!” A difficult decision for sure between the blackberry creme brûlée, the grand chocolate cake or the ice cream pie in the sky, OH MY!
8. Spitfire Craft Pizza & Pints
2450 S Vista Ave.
Boise, ID 83705
The Detroiter – Smoked pepperoni under the cheese and natural casing pepperoni on top.
Detroit Hawaiian – Ham and pineapple with smoked pepperoni under the cheese.
Detroit BBQ Chicken – BBQ chicken, red inions, pineapple, olive oil glaze and BBQ drizzle.
Have you ever heard of “Detroit-Style” pizza, are you thinking it’s like a Chicago deep dish? Well I can assure you that they are nothing alike! Newcomers to this kind of thick-crusted, Wisconsin brick cheese, white cheddar, and smoked fontina smothered pizza might be tempted to call it deep-dish. After all, it’s a a whole lot deeper than what usually passes for pie around here. Spitfire Craft Pizza & Pints was opened in August 2017 by Joe Sanders and Rich Nichols. Their Detroit-style pizza dough is proofed for 3 days to achieve the optimum thickness needed, then the dough is placed in a rectangular steel pan — about 3/4” thick. The dough is 1st baked with a layer of aged white cheddar, which melts down all along the edges and creates a crusty, golden “grilled cheese effect”. For the 2nd bake, typically pepperoni is placed under the heaps of cheese with the balance of toppings, well, on top. Into the oven the pie goes for that 2nd bake resulting in a pizza that’s crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. This pizza is a game changer for the Treasure Valley as it’s the only Detroit-style in all of Idaho! Our favorite was the Detroit Hawaiian: large thin slices of ham and pineapple with pepperoni under the cheese and finished with thick red smoky sauce over the top. DeliciousOH!
9. Urban Cafe (at Urban Air Adventure Park)
3876 E Lanark Dr, Meridian, ID 83642
Classic Pepperoni – Red sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
Italian Sausage – Red sauce, mozzarella cheese and Italian sausage.
Just the Cheese – Red sauce and loads of mozzarella.
The pizza at Urban Air Adventure Park was by far one of the most surprising finds for our family during this “Best of Boise Pizza Quest”. Their Artisan Pizza Crust is made with extra virgin olive oil and has a long fermentation process which naturally gives the dough its characteristic crispy texture and tender bite. The red sauce has a rich tomato flavor and a bright red color with noticeable Italian seasonings. You won’t find any fancy pizza names here, just good quality ingredients; cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, olives and pineapple, that’s it and that’s all you’ll need for these pies. One of the most important ingredients in any pizza is the cheese, with Mozzarella being the most common. Mozzarella is Italian for “spun paste,” pasta filata refers to the stretched-curd cheeses made famous in Italy, such as Mozzarella, Provolone and String Cheese. Such cheeses are made using a special technique whereby the curd is given a hot whey bath, then kneaded and stretched to the desired pliable consistency (think of pulled taffy). The Pasta Filata Process is what gives the cheese used at Urban Air that smooth, creamy texture and the stretch. Urban Air also offers a tasty gluten-free version. A demand for gluten-free food continues to grow and they rose up and met that need. The dough is crafted of rice flour, potato starch, whole grain buckwheat flour and real Italian olive oil. The dough comes sealed so there is no cross contamination with gluten. Other standouts were the wings served with a sweet and spicy sauce, two styles of chicken strips (regular and gluten-free) so delicious! None of the chicken was greasy and there wasn’t any gristle that you often find in cheap chunks of chicken. This chicken was good quality white breast meat. The adventure park’s attractions are reason enough to visit but paired with the food and the fact that they serve beer, wine and adult juice boxes, yes you heard that right. A-grown-up-juice-box-for-adults, say whaaaat?! What’s not to love? You can choose between 6 different flavors; Long Island Ice Tea, Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Greyhound or a Whiskey Lemonade. We enjoyed it all and will definitely be back!
10. Westside Pizza Company
8489 W Overland Rd.
Boise, ID 83709
The Big Kahuna – Double Canadian Bacon, Double Pineapple, Extra Cheese.
Chicken Bacon Ranch – Fajita Chicken, Real Bacon, Onions on a Ranch Sauce Base.
Garlic Chicken Pizza – Chicken with Garlic, Onions, Mushrooms on an Alfredo Sauce Base.
Rodney Nelson, President of Franchise Development is the owner of the Overland Westside Pizza and has been with the company for over 12 years. The first Boise Westside to open was in Star in 2014, with Overland opening in 2015. Nelson claims what sets them apart is their “fresh approach”. All cheese is from Wisconsin and grated off the block daily, roma tomatoes are vine ripened in California, all veggies are cut fresh every day, meat comes from Chicago’s premier meat supplier, Fontanini and all dough is made fresh daily. Our favorite was The Big Kahuna – Double Canadian Bacon, Double Pineapple, Extra Cheese and Double the Yum! Here’s a fun challenge for you, Westside Pizza has an 8.6lb, 18” Death by Pizza Challenge with 10 toppings (Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Sausage, Pineapple, Beef, Mushrooms, Olives, Onions, Green Peppers, Real Bacon). If you can eat the whole pie by yourself in under an hour and not puke, it’s free and you get $100. Not many have done it, are you up for the challenge? The menu also includes pastas, salads, and tasty appetizers. I was impressed by the chicken caesar, it did not taste like it had anything remade and you could tell that the lettuce was hand shredded that day. Another of our favorites was the pesto penne (here’s an inside secret, ask for them to add a smidgen of their Alfredo sauce) yuhhh hummm!