Best Pizza in Des Moines, Iowa
Marinara sauce, gooey cheese, perfectly cooked crust. Nothing sends my kids running to the dinner table faster than shouting pizza! And because we live in the Midwest, where we learned this tradition, of course, we need the “good ranch” to dip our crust. Luckily there are many great local pizza places around the metro whether you like New York style, thin crust, deep dish, or anything in between. What are the best pizza restaurants? Where will you order pizza from on your next pizza night? Check out some of the most the best pizza places in Des Moines and some of our personal favorites!
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1. Leaning Tower of Pizza
512 SW 3rd Street, Ankeny, IA
For over 50 years, Leaning Tower of Pizza has been serving pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and onion rings. They use a stone deck oven which has been known to create a crispier pizza crust with a soft and airy inside. They also offer a gluten-free cauliflower crust. Customers love their friendly atmosphere and their Pickle Roll Up Pizza featuring corned beef, pickles, cream cheese sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
2. Nonna’s Pizza
1802 N Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, IA
Nonna’s Pizza just opened at the end of 2022 and is already a local favorite that is serving up good pizza. This New York-style pizzeria offers slices of pizza as well as whole pizza and other menu items like salads, pasta, calzones, and chicken dishes. They offer a lunch special including 2 slices and a fountain drink as well as a special discount for students. They also have a gluten-free crust option. Customers love the friendly staff and New York-style authenticity.
3. Wig and Pen
2005 S Ankeny Blvd Suite 300, Ankeny, IA
Join any Des Moines food review group and you will see Wig and Pen Flying Tomato pizza listed as a top favorite. If you love a classic, Chicago-style deep dish pizza, the Flying Tomato pizza with a deep buttery crust, cheese for days, fresh ingredients, and a sweeter marinara sauce is the pie for you. They also have a thin crust pizza and gluten-free options. Customers love their thin-style onion rings and a large platter of cheese fries. Make a stop at its original location. Iowa City Wig and Pen is also not far from the Des Moines metro.
1. Big Tomato
2613 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Big Tomato creates amazing pizzas (voted best pizza by CityView for 10 years) and is literally a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint on Ingersoll. It is also considered one of the best places for pizza late at night. You can order pizza by the slice most anytime and they offer pizza delivery almost anywhere until 3 a.m. They have popular fresh toppings such as green peppers, red pepper, and fresh mozzarella, but they also have cajun shrimp, hot dogs, spam, and more to create a unique pizza. Definitely a best pizza in Des Moines contender!
6108 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA
This favorite Southside restaurant serves pizza, homemade pasta, sandwiches, and salads. Bordenaro’s, or Bordy’s as it’s affectionately called by locals, also offers a gluten-free cauliflower crust. Customers love their double-breaded onion rings and thin crispy pizza crust. For those of you like my dad who grew up in the St. Louis area, they cut their pizza into squares instead of wedges.
3. Fong’s Pizza
223 4th Street, Des Moines, IA
Fong’s, located in downtown Des Moines, is a unique fusion of Asian, Italian, and Polynesian flavors created as a tribute to the previous restaurant that was in the location, King Ying Low, which was the oldest Chinese restaurant in the US. They offer pizza by the slice during lunch, happy hour, and late at night as well as full pizzas, appetizers, and salads. Unique offerings include items like their Pizza Rolls, essentially pizza ingredients inside of an eggroll, and their popular Crab Rangoon Pizza with a crab rangoon base, asiago and mozzarella cheese, and green onion topped with crispy wontons and a sweet chili sauce. This pizza was also featured as a favorite by Chef Alton Brown from Food Network. Need an appetizer? Try their twist on spring rolls the Pizza Rolls!
4. Gusto Pizza Bar
2301 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Gusto Pizza Co. serves pizza, sandwiches, and salads including gluten-free and gluten-free cauliflower crust. Their Spartacus pizza is popular and one of my favorites featuring mozzarella, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, banana peppers, and romano. I miss their amazing Guido salad (no longer offered) but their salads are all light and fresh. Gusto is known for its uniqueness, lots of toppings, and high-quality ingredients. They have a daily happy hour as well as Friday and Saturday late-night pizza-by-the-slice and drink specials. They have a super family-friendly atmosphere.
5. Sonny’s Pizza Bistro
6594 NW 6th Dr., Des Moines, IA 50313
Sonny’s has been voted Des Moines’ best family-owned Italian restaurant! Many of the dishes they serve are family recipes including house-made sauces, pizza, pasta by the pan, and so much more. Definitely add this pizza place to your bucket list. Don’t forget to take a jar of their spaghetti sauce (a family recipe) home.
6. Mad Meatball
210 Southwest 11th Street Suite 01, Des Moines, IA
Mad Meatball serves up a ton of Italian dishes such as baked pasta and toasted sandwiches and of course specialty pies! They offer catering and host parties for special occasions too. Make sure to check them out for your next party and private events.
5312 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, IA
A staple since 1957, Pagliai’s serves a variety of salads, calzones, pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. They are a popular Italian restaurant! Their sausage is homemade from pork roast and crust options include thin crust, double crust, and pan crust as well as gluten-free. They also offer a military discount. Customers rave about their breadsticks with meat sauce and the good homemade ranch.
West Des Moines
1. 7 Stone Pizzeria
9350 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA
7 Stone Pizzeria is known for both its stone caramelized deep dish pizza and its wood-fired thin pizza. They keep it simple with pizza options, cheese bread, and a side salad. At lunch, they offer toasted hoagies and a half-pizza combo. Customers love their Taco Pizza featuring homemade taco sauce with beef, red onion, cheese, lettuce tomatoes, and tortilla chips as well as their cheese bread which has caramelized edges and a thicker crust.
2. Taste of New York
165 S Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, IA
If you like New York-style pizza, you will enjoy Taste of New York started by the Savelli Family from Brooklyn. They offer both round Neopolitan pizza as well as Sicilian square pizza along with sandwiches, appetizers, salads, and pasta. They also have a unique dish to the metro called Arancini (Rice Balls) which is a ball of Italian rice covered in breadcrumbs, fried, and then served with marinara sauce. They also offer pizza by the slice. The slices are huge and customers also love their garlic knots.
While these pizza places are a little outside of the Des Moines Metro, they are clear favorites and worth the short drive.
1. Papa’s Pizzeria
214 Van Dorn Street, Polk City, IA
Locals and visiting campers/boaters to Saylorville Lake, Jester Park, and Big Creek enjoy visiting Papa’s Pizzeria establishment for the pizza and good service. They have a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, pasta, and pizza and use Graziano’s sausage. If you are feeling brave (and hungry), try their Food Challenge “The Lake Monster” featuring a small pizza, tenderloin, chicken strips, bacon cheeseburger, mac n cheese sauce, and lettuce topped with a bun and served with onion rings. Customers love their taco pizza and their fresh salads, which come in a metal bowl to keep them cold. I also hear they have a good ranch.
2. Pete’s Pizza
118 North Howard Street, Indianola, IA
If you like a little lettuce with your cheese, Pete’s Pizza serves a great side salad topped with a mound of mozzarella cheese that customers love. The cream cheese chunks featured on some of the pizzas like the Rogalla (pepperoni and cream cheese) and the DJ (pepperoni, jalapeno, cream cheese, wonton strips, and sweet chili sauce) elevates the pizza flavor and are a tasty addition. Don’t forget to get an order of their popular cheese bread (did I mention all the cheese?) and enjoy the friendly atmosphere. If you are a cheese lover, your taste buds will go wild!
In Memory of:
Thank you, Paesano’s Pizza, for the delicious pizza and excellent service provided since 1982! They closed in May 2023 to focus on their other businesses and their role as parents.