In the past few years, New York inspired pizza has become all the rage in Seoul. Whether you want a slice on the go with friends or a pie to large with a large party, here are the best places to go.
Taking inspiration from New York’s Artichoke Basille's Pizza & Brewery, Maddux Pizza in Itaewon recreates the creamy artichoke slice right here in Seoul. Made with white sauce, artichoke, spinach, mozzarella and parmesan, the spinach and artichoke version at Maddux isn’t overly-soupy and layered in cheese, which we think the slice is all the better for. With the crust having just the right amount of crunch to it, the artichoke pizza here isn’t just good because it’s almost impossible to find anywhere else in this city, but it actually stands on its own. Affable owner, Shin Deok-soo, is a Korean national who discovered his passion for pizza during his several visits to New York City (and through episodes of Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles). While the restaurant doesn’t serve any side dishes and there are rumors about inconsistency, you can order a mean meatball sandwich and one of the best Sicilian slices in Seoul. Located in the back alleys of Itaewon, this pizzeria is creating a whole new level of pizza here in the city. (And if you’re a TNMT fan, it’ll definitely have ya singin’ “Pizza Power.”)
Who needs fancy toppings when the original tastes this good? Pizza Iconic’s concept is simple. They make New York style pizzas and perfect them. Selling four different pie combos of cheese, pepperoni, meat lover’s and cheese lover’s—a pizza novice might think there’s nothing special about them. Owner Kim Yun-hyeon’s mission (dating back to his passion for pizza that started in middle school) is almost like an art form—“Which combination of dough, sauce and pizza will be exactly the right one?” Bite into Pizza Iconic’s pepperoni slice and you’ll find yourself a little closer to answering that all-important question. Generous with the pepperoni, their tomato sauce maintains its freshness while the mozzarella cheese is melted to perfection over the thin, sourdough crust. Using ingredients imported from Italy, San Francisco and New York, there is something addictive about his slices even without the lack of fancy toppings. They don’t use any corn syrup or MSG, which will be apparent to any pizza-lover. Since their pizzas are only available as entire pies, they’re straight out of the oven and large enough for some take-home leftovers. (And c’mon, who doesn’t love leftover pizza?)
Catering to more than just pizza fanatics and the local scene, Paulie’s Brick Oven Pizzeria might be the next big thing in the pizza scene for Seoulites. Their menu ranges from everything from the standard cheese and pepperoni, to classics such as the Godfather and the NY Supreme to Paulie’s signature pizzas. Perhaps their most talked-about signature pizza right now is the Devil’s Delight. Finding a strange but delectable balance of sweet and spicy, it’s made with fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, fresh chiles, crushed red pepper and Mike’s Hot Honey (an import found only at Paulie’s). With dough made from General Mills flour, all the pizzas are served fresh from their state-of-the-art brick oven. Located in Gwanghwamun, Paulie’s maintains an upscale feeling without losing the casual atmosphere that many pizzerias have. From their sauces and spices to even the cutlery, attention is paid to all the small details and you can taste it in their non-pizza dishes as well. Case in point? The lemon rosemary wings on their appetizer menu—meaty and zesty with a nice rosemary kick at the end. Soon to be the first restaurant in Korea to have root beer on tap, we have a feeling you’ll be hearing about Paulie’s a whole lot more.
Accessibility to a decent slice of pizza in Seoul is always an issue. But, Slice House Brick Oven Pizzeria has fixed that problem with its location at Express Bus Terminal and high quality—making it the “it” place of the area. Biting into their NY Supreme, there’s an overwhelming feeling of familiarity (the good kind). You can taste each individual topping working in harmony with one another—the crunch of the peppers, with the ripeness of the black olives and the seasoning of the sausage. While they do reheat their slices, on account of their customer volume, they’re rarely on the shelf for too long and put back in the oven for two minutes before being served. Despite this pizza joint’s reputation for slinging out fast food, it’s common for couples or friends to order garlic cheese fries or pasta with two slices of pizza and a beer and make a date out of it. Whether you’re sitting down for a quick bite or getting a pizza to go for a night in watching movies, Slice House is the place for Seoulites on the go.
Founded five years ago, longtime expats and Itaewon locals in the know head to The Pizza Peel in search of a hot slice. Located in a side alley off the main street in Itaewon, The Pizza Peels offers a wide selection of pizzas famous for oozing with cheese and bubbling crusts. While the recipes were first made a by a Canadian who studied pizza making in Naples, Italy, they offer all kinds of pizzas from the Hawaiian to the Canadian to the Texas Ranger but currently define their style as being “closest to New York.” Recommended by the staff is the Buffalo Ranch, which comes with a thick coating of ranch dressing, chicken, feta cheese, bacon and hot sauce. While we would have preferred a bit more hot sauce and larger chunks of chicken, we did enjoy the unique combination of the overall taste. Noteworthy on the appetizer menu is the basket of garlic knots (only attempted by one or two other pizzerias in Seoul), perfectly browned, seasoned and served with a side of marinara sauce. Oh, and if you happen to be a pizza-lover not feelin’ the cheese, rumor has it that The Pizza Peel’s very accommodating to vegan and vegetarian needs.
Beloved by Haebongchon locals for the past three years, Bonny’s Pub has been the go-to meeting spot for those looking to grab some pizza before starting their night as well as the take-out pizza joint for all the house parties in the area. A self-serve beer pub and sports bar founded by a New Zealand owner, the place is packed and full of happy faces waiting for their pizza. While the menu has a slew of interesting options, such as the Snowden (made with carbonara sauce, chicken, bacon, red onion, mushrooms and cheese, finished with ground black pepper) and the Conquistador (with spicy chorizo sausage and capers), the most popular items on the menu are the pepperoni and the Hawaiian. Beneath the generous helping of pineapple, the tomato-based pizza hides chunks of ham and a generous amount of blended cheese. Managing to not be too sweet, the pizza has just the right amount of zest for a Hawaiian. With half-and-half options as well as the ability to personalize your pizzas, variety and selection are two of Bonny’s strengths. Sizes come in “Drinking” (9-inch), “Regular” (13-inch) and “Party” (15-inch). Pizza snobs may turn up their noses to Bonny’s for its reputation as a pub, as opposed to a pizzeria, but with lines out the door, no one can deny that it is loved by the masses.