The Tokyo pizza scene is an amazing thing. It's entirely possible that in Tokyo, a city which already offers so much in the way of amazing and unique food, you can also have the pizza of a lifetime.
This won't happen just anywhere. You'll see pizza on offer a lot of places, maybe as cheap as ¥500. While you don't always need a pizza to be a gourmet experience, once you've encountered a white sauce that turns out to be mayonnaise, you'll think twice. No, you're heading to one of a few specialist outlets, and it's going to be amazing.
The pizza you're looking for is Neapolitan-style pizza, but with a Tokyo twist. As Craig Mod at Eater puts it: "A perfect Tokyo Neapolitan pizza is defined by locally sourced wood burned in a locally sourced oven, an extra punch of salt, and a delicateness of dough that extends to the tip of the fire-seared crust."
So where do you go to get it?
One of the 13 seats at Pizza Savoy is well worth lining up for. The lunch set clocks in a ¥1000 and includes a pizza (margarita or marinara), salad and an iced tea.
The hours tend to be lunch from 11:30am–3pm and dinner from 6–10:30pm. Away from the iced tea, you'll find beer, wine and simple cocktails.
A pizza fixture since opening in 2011, Pizza Strada is in Azabu-Juban, which makes a pizza crawl seem frighteningly likely. A larger restaurant (by Tokyo standards), you can also sit at outdoor tables, or even get pizza takeaway (but it's meant to be eaten hot, so maybe don't do that).
The menu includes a tomato base and a cheese base, and you can also create your own. They also offer 'party plans' aka tabehoudai, where you can eat and drink for a set period of time, and Pizza School where kids and parents can learn to make pizza.
Pizza Studio Tamaki
A relative newbie, PST opened in February 2017. Owner Tsubasa Tamaki is an old hand at pizza though, having opened Pizza Strada in 2011, and originally training under Susumu Kakinuma.
You'll find at least a dozen options on the menu, as well as a rotating monthly special. Like Savoy, this is a 'sushi bar-style counter' where you sit around the oven, but the doors open right out to the street, making this small space feel bigger. Choose from a range of tomato or white-based pizzas, or even create your own.
Susumu Kakinuma has been credited with bringing the Neapolitan style to Tokyo, and his Nakameguro restaurant has been dishing it out for 23 years. This restaurant was the original site of Savoy, before he closed it, reopening as Seirinkan. The name translates as the house (館) of holy or sacred (聖) wood (林).
Here again you have two options, margarita or marinara. So choose carefully. And yup, it's the spot that got everyone super excited on David Chang's Netflix show 'Ugly Delicious'.
Enjoy your 🍕discovery!
Have we missed your favourite Tokyo pizza joint? Let us know in the comments.