By Bryan Pirolli in Paris—
When people ask how I ended up in France, I tell them I got stalled on my way to Italy and haven’t bothered to move. It’s partly true – I have plenty of Italian blood in me and often feel the need to go “home.” But Italy is well represented in Paris, at least gastronomically, from amazing gelato to fantastic pizza, so there’s really no reason to leave.
The French have added a few touches that you won’t find in other pizza-consuming countries. A fried egg on top, with runny yolk, is a surefire sign that you’re in a French pizzeria. White pizzas aren’t typically found in Parisian establishments. Also, remember to mind your manners and use a fork and knife – no decent pizzeria will serve you a slice of pie like in New York.
With an endless variety of expensive pizzerias and dive joints to be avoided at all cost, it’s not always easy to know what will be good and what’s a scam. But when I need my pizza fix, recalling my days in Naples, I have my list of inexpensive go-to addresses that keep me from booking my next flight to Rome.
76 rue Mazarine
While it seems like a run of the mill pizzeria in the tourist-laden St-Germain neighborhood, Pizza Cesar served up the only pizza I ever had in Paris that sent my mouth back to Naples. From the perfect Neapolitan crust to the fresh toppings, I momentarily lost any desire to travel back to Italy. Inexpensive and with an excellent bottle of rosso suggested by the Italian owner, I couldn’t have asked for a more comforting pizza experience.
67 Rue Bichat
I’ve talked about it before, and no, it’s not even owned by Italians, but the Franco-American couple who have launched the Pink Flamingo Pizza franchise make a mean pie (pictured, top). While the best pizzas are not quite cheapo prices, the Dante, topped with fresh tomatoes and basil, will only you set you back €9.50 if you take it to go. The crispy crust and gooey cheese blend are the perfect companions for a bottle of wine during a Canal-side picnic this summer.
Pizza San Antonio
1 rue Verrerie
Often frequented by the trendier gentlemen set in the Marais, this unassuming pizzeria seems just like another restaurant on a square full of cafés. The quality is just fine and the service usually fast, but I go for their inexpensive pizzas served up on a terrace with fantastic people-watching opportunities. It’s one of the best places to kick back à l’italiano on a sunny evening.
43 rue Saint Denis
If you’re partying in the neighborhood around Les Halles, late night food abounds, catering to the post-bar tourists and locals that fill the streets at night. Crepes, gyros, and paninis can be found on every corner.
But if you want to sit down with a pie, Pizza Enio is a good standby choice. With Henri II’s fountain of the Innocents just outside, the centrally-located restaurant will serve you a standard, no frills pizza for cheap and with very little wait.
If you just want cheap, easy pizza delivered to wherever you are (hostel, hotel, apartment), skip Domino’s and Pizza Hut and give Speed Rabbit a try. Created in 1991 while the American pizza chains were making their way into France, Speed Rabbit is the French equivalent, with enticing offers on their pizzas (buy 2 get one free) like their American competitors. The pizza itself is nothing to write home about, but if it’s late and you need something to go with your beer or bottle(s) of red, it will definitely be an experience!
Your favorite pie in Paris?
Have you found any other inexpensive pizzas around town that have made you shot mamma mia!? Share with us in our comments section.
Also in our guide: Need a hotel to go with that pizza? Our correspondents have visited, inspected and reviewed budget hotels in Paris, all centrally-located, clean and affordable. Swing by our Paris guide for more information.