Tampa, FL

Grabbing a Slice in Tampa: 3 Popular Pizza Parlors

Gayle Kurtzer-Meyers

I'm a pizza junkie. Grabbing a slice of delicious pizza is one of the tremendous gustatory pleasures that just about everyone experiences. Choosing a fantastic pizzeria in Tampa is not too hard when you have a shortlist of the three best pizzeria locations in your neighborhood. From New York to Neapolitan, grabbing a tasty slice means it is party time. Bring on the pepperoni.

Eddie and Sam’s NY Pizza

Today I feel like eating a NY Pizza in a traditional NY style. Grabbing a slice, fold, and go. So for a taste of New York, I knew to stop by Eddie and Sam’s to fold up a slice of my dreams just like I would eat in the Big Apple. My slice of choice is always pepperoni with extra cheese. This time was no different. I can't help myself; I like what I like. But you can pretty much request any combination that suits your fancy. I am convinced the fresh flavor and soft texture of the pizza dough derives from the water. Proprietors ship in the water from New York to guarantee that undeniably New York-style crust for their pies. Brought to Florida in 1998 after 1982, Eddy and Sam’s has been a long-time downtown favorite for locals and visitors alike. A casual streetside vibe pops into this local favorite spot any day for a slice, and soda makes for a delicious meal. I will hold off on the extra cheese on my next visit as Eddie and Sam's are already generous with their toppings. There is no skimpy pizza building at this joint.

Known for their pies, Eddie and Sam’s serves up all of the traditional choices and offers a few Italian dishes alongside their famous garlic knots. Customers rave about Eddie and Sam’s vast slices of pepperoni and sausage, served up on a red-checkered paper, ready to fold up and devour. Instead, load up your creation with one of Eddie and Sam’s numerous topping choices or order a yummy calzone or spaghetti and meatballs. Did someone say meatballs? I went back and picked up an order to go. They were the best meatballs anywhere.

My mind said yes to dessert, but my belly said no, so I skipped the gelato and cannolis. Although, I have had them in the past and can vouch for their scrumptious flavor.

Finish up your authentic NY-style meal with one of their 24 flavors of authentic Italian gelato or cannoli. A visit to this casual pizzeria will leave you full and dreaming of a trip to New York for more of their authentic dishes.

  • Open Tues -Thurs11am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 11am-10pm
  • 203 E. Twiggs St
  • 813-229-8500

Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria

Another pizzeria jewel not to be missed in downtown Tampa Florida is Bavaro’s. A quaint, brick-walled restaurant that harkens back to the old world and Naples, Bavaro’s has been around since 2009 and now has a few locations outside of this original one. Serving up mouthwatering pies and homemade pasta at Florida’s 1st Neapolitan style restaurant, Bavaro’s is a family restaurant that draws an adoring crowd. It feels like you are having a loving family-style dinner. The staff is so outgoing and friendly. I was greeted with a warm welcome. Come on in.

Meat lover's pizza/Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

I ordered a meat-lovers pizza topped with lots of meat, light red sauce, and cheese. I was intrigued that I could watch my pie being cooked in the wood-fired oven. It was entertainment for me and apparently others as a small crowd gathered. Popular pies like the spicy Diavola or the meat-lovers Tre-Carne with three kinds of protein are baked in the authentic Italian wood-fired oven that flash cooks at upwards of 900 degrees. The staff told me that the pies are lovingly made with 100-year-old yeast culture to ensure the best flavor and snap to the crust. In addition, authentic Italian ingredients like the famous San Marzano tomatoes enhance the flavor. My pizza was magnificent. I also found it refreshing to hear staff so proudly give me a little history about the place.

Again I left no room for sweet treats but just looking at them had me drooling. So instead, I was offered house-made tiramisu or the amazing Nutella dessert, a not-too-sweet concoction of the creamy hazelnut sauce spread over a wood-fired dough, topped with delicately sprinkled powdered sugar. Having a pie for dessert is the ultimate in Italian-style dining; check it out if you have room after sampling all of the amazing appetizers, desserts, pasta, and salads at Bavaro’s.

Sit inside at a cozy table, saddle up to the bar, or snag outside seating to munch on arguably some of the very best slices and Italian dishes in town.

  • Open Sun-Thurs 12-9 pm; till 10 Fri & Sat
  • 514 N. Franklin St
  • 813-868-4440

An assortment of pizza/Photo by Narda Yescas from Pexels

Due Amici

Located in Tampa’s historic Ybor City area, Due Amici is a well-known and well-loved Italian restaurant serving up choice slices to locals and visitors alike. This authentic-feel pizzeria in Tampa, Florida, feels like it was transported here right from New York with its friendly bar, brick walls, and community table seating options. This restaurant is perfect for late-night noshing, too, as they stay open slinging pies until 3 am.

As you watch pies being hand-tossed or peruse the many large pies behind the counter, choosing just one becomes challenging. The dilemma of choosing which pizza to try this time was a tough call. Traditional flavoring from imported San Marzano tomatoes is the basis for favorite perennial pies combined with new favorites like the Italian. So I ventured out of my comfort zone and ordered the Italian. It was quite spicy, juicy with a nice blend of ingredients. It was satisfying, and I do recommend it, but for me, I'll stick with my usual as they say to each their own.

A favorite choice Pepperoni pizza/Photo by Ponyo Sakana from Pexels

Other selections include the interesting Lasagna pie as well as a Buffalo Chicken rendition. Due Amici also serves up homemade pasta and other traditional Italian dishes like Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and vegetarian lover’s favorite Lora’s Pasta that features grilled veggies spicy Arrabbiata sauce. Finally, you can top off your meal with a New York-style cannolis, Three-Layer Italian cake, or the always delicious New York Style Cheesecake. I sampled the Cheesecake, and yes, it truly was New York-style creamy and delicious.

In celebration of their famous sauce used on pies and pasta alike, Due Amici now sells their delectable red sauces. You can buy a jar in their restaurant and online to bring home the taste of this fantastic pizzeria and their imported, authentic flavors to your home kitchen. But Due Amici is such a fun place you'll probably want to visit in person. The atmosphere makes all the difference.

  • 1724 E. 7th St
  • Open 9 am-3 am daily
  • 813-443-0906

No matter where you decide to grab a pie in Tampa, you won’t be disappointed with the authentic New York or Neapolitan-style pizzerias all around town. Having a snack slice of Italian goodness in a seaside town might not seem like a must-do meal, but Tampa, Florida, serves up plenty of savory options. You will be in pizza heaven as you fold up a slice from any one of these authentic pizzerias, forgetting you are not in the Old Country – or at least New York – for the meal.

How about a slice?

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I am a Licensed Community Association Manager for the State of Florida and a published author. My top articles are about Florida RE, property management, and the many beautiful venues and activities available in the Sunshine State. Thank you for reading my work and joining me on the journey.

Kissimmee, FL

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