100 Days, 100 Restaurants: Pizza in China, All Styles But Chicago

The best pie in Beijing debate typically comes down to 2 places, Kro's Nest and The Tree. While there are many other options around the city, these two consistently are what pizza lovers desire.

Kro's Nest prides itself on its New York style pizza. I'm not a New Yorker and I've never been a fan of New York pizza and thus, I don't love Kro's. The slices are large and the choices are diverse, but while these pies are good, they don't match up to some of the other offerings around the city. Perhaps I'm too hard wired for Chicago pizza, but the crust on these pizzas doesn't do it for me. The pizzas are overloaded with toppings, a good thing until you realize it results in a crust that's a soggy mess with no crunch. Still, other contributors swear that this is the best New York-style pizza one can find in China and the atmosphere definitely has a US pizzeria feel to it.

Of the things you can say about The Tree's pizzas, one cannot be that they lack bite. A brick oven in one of the main rooms turns out incredibly crispy, tasty classic Italian pizzas. The ingredients are kept to a minimum, but taste definitely is a maximum. This place's thin crust is cooked perfectly and offers a great crunch, the perfect food to go alongside one of their many Belgian brews. The atmosphere is relaxed and isn't quite as good as Kro's, but with good beer and a good pie, what more can you ask for?

There are many other options for pizza around the city, not the least 2 very famous US chains, Pizza Hut and Papa John's. For the uninitiated visitor, China's Pizza Huts come as a shock as they are considered "expensive" and a "date place" by teens and young college students. This isn't your shotgun racks and rednecks dining out destination like in the US, no no, it has class. The salad bar and its strange to foreigners one bowl policy, leading to crazy geometric creations, is a thing of interest to foreigners, but its all about the pizza. Unfortunately, for the fancier digs, the pizza isn't much different from the US, though toppings often vary from Caribbean Spice to "French" Red Wine chicken. Papa John's offers a similar, if a bit more casual, upgrade on their US locations (I've never seen a Papa John's in the US that wasn't carry out only), but again, the pizza is almost identical to what I remember eating on late, drunken nights during my college days. On the subject of American chains, Shanghai has a California Pizza Kitchen (I believe that spot was formerly the Hard Rock, but not sure), but no correspondents have yet to try it.

There are also a number of non-traditional pizza joints that offer pizza, some worth mentioning are Mexican Wave, the Den and Pass By Bar. Mexican Wave and the Den both produce decent versions, but why would you go to either when you can hit up Kro's or the Tree within a 10-15 minute walk? Pass By Bar's pizzas are interesting, including yangrou chuanr and kungpao chicken pizzas, but beyond the crazy toppings, there isn't much going for it. If you're at Pass By drinking (or the Den) and really hungry, consider the pizzas, but it's not worth a trip just for the pizza. Schlotzky's in the CBD offers pizzas for lunch and while they are pretty good (especially the bbq chicken), for RMB40, I'd rather go to the Pizza Company where the pies aren't as good, but you get more for your money.

Dianping gives Pizza Buona top billing in Beijing, though it has only received 14 reviews at this point. Many expats give the nod to Hutong Pizza, though I've yet to try that. Though, despite all these decent (to delicious) options, I've yet to find a good Chicago style pizza in this city, guess there are some things you must go home for.

11. Kro's Nest (also a location in Haidian)
Inside Gongti North Gate, next to Vics

12. The Tree
43 North Sanlitun

13. Pizza Hut (locations around Beijing and Shanghai)

14. Papa John's (locations around Beijing and Shanghai)

15. Mexican Wave
Dongdaqiao Lu,

16. The Den
4 East Gongti Rd, next to City Hotel

17. Pass By Bar
108 Nanluoguxiang

18. Schlotzky's
China World Trade Center, Tower 2, 1 JianGuomen Wai

19. The Pizza Company (locations around the city)

20. Pizza Buona
7 West Gongti Rd

21. California Pizza Kitchen
Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu,

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