From Italy To Chicago: 5 Of Tokyo’s ‘Closest-To-Home’ Pizzerias
The Best Places In Town To Get A Slice of Heaven — As You're Used To
Missing the 'real thing' from back home? Grab a slice or two and satisfy your pizza craving at five of the best expat-friendly pizza restaurants in Tokyo.
Pizza is a contentious food item — there are so many different types of crust, combinations of toppings, and even flavors of tomato sauce to choose from that it’s hard to please everyone with a single pie. Should pineapple be on pizza or not (as a Canadian, I refuse to answer that), or is Sweden’s banana pizza even a real thing — practically every country has its own take on this traditional Italian dish. It’s even harder to find the perfect pizza when you’re in Japan, where chefs put their own creative spin on the pies with toppings like (pause for a deep breath…) jagga mayo (potato and mayonnaise), crab gratin, and mentai seafood (spicy cod roe and seafood mix).
But let’s admit it — sometimes you just need a slice of that heavenly food, as you know it from back in your childhood days when calories didn’t mean a thing and extra cheese was the ultimate happiness. Yes, sometimes, pizza has the power to slay some of the homesickness that newcomers or long-term residents may feel.
For delivery pizza, you can’t go wrong with Domino’s, where you’ll find some of their classic types like Domino’s Deluxe or American (plain pepperoni), and can order online in English. Other options for delivery include Pizza Hut, Pizza-La, and the lesser-known Chicago Pizza which has some of the most generous toppings around. But if you prefer to go out and enjoy your pizza in a restaurant, then you might want to choose one of these places — I guarantee you’ll find the right pizza to suit your palate!
1. Neapolitan Style: Savoy
First opened in April 1995, Savoy now has several locations in the greater Tokyo area (and Fukuoka and Hiroshima, too!), all of which serve their classic Neapolitan style pizza, pasta, and other famed Italian dishes. One of the most popular pizzerias among expats, too, here you are offered the real thing — baked in a 500-degree kiln.
What sets this restaurant apart for many is Savoy’s attention to authenticity: the overwhelming majority of their ingredients are imported from Italy, and arranged in time-honored fashion. I’ve heard from Italian friends that this pizza tastes the most like home to them, so if you are looking for the original taste of pizza, Savoy is your best option.
Stores: Mishuku-dori (1-23-13 Shimouma, Setagaya-ku), Azabu Juban (3-10-1 Moto-azabu, Minato-ku), Sendagaya (2-33-8 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku) and other.
Pizza price: From ¥1,500
2. Neapolitan Thin Crust: Pizza Salvatore Cuomo
Fans of a crispy, thin crust pizza can’t go wrong with award-winning Pizza Salvatore Cuomo, which has stores all across Japan, as well as some location-limited delivery service as well. Their Margherita pizza was awarded the first place in the World Pizza Championship three years in a row since 2006, and has drawn foodies and pizza fans from around the world ever since.
The brand’s restaurants have a casual vibe, perfect for an outing with friends and romantic dates, too. From pizza, baked in a 450-degree kiln, to pasta, prosciutto, homemade Tiramisu and other authentic desserts, here you can find the full package Italian restaurant must-haves!
Stores: Roppongi Hills B2F, Nishiazabu and other stores across Japan. Find the nearest to you here.
Pizza price: From 1,200 (small)
3. New York Style Pizza: Rocco’s New York Style Pizza
Located in Oji, a little far from central Tokyo, Rocco’s New York Style Pizza bills itself as the capital’s only authentic New York style pizzeria. Opened in June 2010, this pizzeria sells the giant slices that many New Yorkers know and love, and, according to an expat friend of mine, “tastes like home.”
Decorated in true Americana style, Rocco’s is also serving Buffalo wings, calzones and potato wedges — the perfect place to go if you’re a homesick American who doesn’t like hanging out at Friday’s, or just want to meet up with some friends for dinner and watch sports on big screens. The best thing about this place is that you can try many different pizza kinds per slice — from just ¥390.
Address: 1-1-24 Oji-honcho, Kita-ku, Tokyo
Pizza price: From ¥2,600 (Medium), or ¥390 per slice
4. Chicago Style: DevilCraft
Opened in 2011, DevilCraft started off as a craft beer brewery opened by three Americans in Japan, but what made them stand out and get noticed by both the Japanese and expat community was their food — specifically, their authentic, deep dish Chicago style pizza. It didn’t take long for the trio to notice that there was a lack of signature food at bars and pubs in Tokyo — and decided to pair the perfect American movie night set: beer and pizza. The rest is history.
Deep dish pizza isn’t very well known in Japan (a friend of mine believed it was another term for lasagna for the longest time) but thanks to DevilCraft, it is now gradually becoming a popular dinner item. If you want to dine at DevilCraft, you really should make a reservation in advance — their hours can be irregular at times, and they get crowded quickly. Reservations can be done online, too!
Stores: Kanda (Ishikawa Bldg 4-2-3 Nihonbashi-muromachi, Chuo-ku), Hamamatsucho (Risewell Bldg 1F, 2-13-12 Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku), and Gotanda (9F Seijitsu Bldg. Nishigotanda 2-7-8, Shinagawa-ku)
Pizza price: From ¥1,250 (small)
5. California Pizza: Pizzakaya
Founded in 2014, Pizzakaya markets itself as the best pizza in Asia, and according to fans, they’re probably not wrong. This pizza restaurant serves gourmet California-style pizza, and is a popular place for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-aware diners, as they are also serving gluten-free pizza — which you won’t find easily in Japan.
Their dough is handmade, toppings are plentiful, craft beer is on tap, and their side menu is very well-rounded (did we mention they also have a four-layered carrot cake?) Like its name says, Pizzakaya has the fun atmosphere of both a pizzeria and an izakaya, and that’s something you won’t find anywhere else. Pizzakaya is also a great place to have a party, although you’ll need a reservation for that.
Address: 3-1-19 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku
Pizza price: From ¥2,200 (medium)
Needless to say, there are plenty of other great pizzerias in Tokyo, but if you are looking for the best in the abovementioned categories, or places to go if you’re a bit homesick and want a taste of “back home” (even if you’re not from Italy or the States), these five restaurants are ideal. Give them a try!