Comparable to puppies and Sunday brunch, everyone loves pizza—it’s a universal truth. And while you + yours might have a hard time agreeing on the specifics (Red sauce or olive oil? Thin crust or cheese-stuffed? Meat-lovers or veggie-loaded?), no one is complaining when pizza night rolls around. In Columbia SC, we have the ‘za of everyone’s dreams—from giant NY-style pies to distinctive slices covered with unexpected toppings (we’re looking at you, lamb shawarma pizza). Grab your napkins—or your fork-and-knife if you’re into that sort of thing—and come along for a cheese-covered journey through the city’s pizza scene.
Who would we be if we didn’t kick this baby off with a roundup of Columbia classics? True institutions of Columbia SC, these spots have loyal local followings—and for good reason. How ‘bout a meal at the restaurant that is credited with bringing pizza to the state of South Carolina? Yep, Villa Tronco is quite literally the OG of the pizza scene in Columbia. We recommend keeping it simple with the tomato + cheese pizza. Don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken, you know? For ‘za on the run, check out La Brasca’s Five Minute Pizza—a Columbia staple for more than 50 years. And don’t forget to order a cheese salad! Follow the locals to Village Idiot in Five Points. On the pizza map since 1990, Village is a local go-to—especially on trivia night. Try the Village Special or the Godfather. If you find yourself across the Gervais Street Bridge, stop in at Tony’s Pizzalicious in Cayce. Delicious, no-frills slices with arguably some of the best crust in town.
A far cry from Lunchable pizzas (although, we always loved those tbh), these hot spots are serving up the ‘za we all know + love—just elevated a bit. Merge your two favorite comfort foods into one weep-worthy concoction with the Cheeseburger Pie from The Pizza Joint. Adhere to the “more is more” mantra with the Quattro Stagioni from Il Giorgione—complete with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, Parma ham, house-made (!!!) fresh mozzarella and a soft-boiled egg. For our spicy food lovers, order up a slice of the buffalo chicken pizza at Dano’s. Bring an empty stomach, and a friend to help, to enjoy the 5-meat pizza from Tonella’s. Feed your feta obsession and down a slice or two of the Grecian Style pizza from Zorba’s. Build the pizza of your wildest dreams at Thirsty Fellow, and don’t forget to top it off with a finishing oil (we <3 the truffle variety). And if you feel like fueling the recent controversy? Order the Spicy Hawaiian from Za’s—complete with capicola, feta, sriracha and, you guessed it, extra pineapple.
While we respect those who choose to stick to the classics, we’re also big fans of the unexpected. These pizza joints are taking our favorite cheesy food + morphing it into something very unique and very, very delicious. If you’re feelin’ fancy, try the Duck Confit pizza from Terra, perfected with port-soaked cherries. And we wouldn’t be Real Southern if we didn’t also suggest their pimento cheeseburger pizza. Get the best of both sweet + savory worlds with Tazza’s spicy sausage + black pepper honey pizza—born + raised in a wood-fired oven. If you can’t decide between gyros and pizza, order the Lamb Shawarma pizza from Arabesque (which starts with a heavenly, house-made pizza sauce). Or try something really out-of-the-box and go for 1801 Grille’s duck sausage pizza, paired with gorgonzola, arugula and pickled onions.
Keepin’ It Casual
Sometimes you need a pie on the fly, you know? These fast-casual favorites are perfect for when you need to satisfy your pizza cravings + intense hanger—quickly. If you have a few other mouths to feed, make a pit stop at family-friendly Bellacino’s, in Lexington or Irmo. While the pizza is, of course, next-level, you’d be remiss in not trying one of their famous Grinders. Also with multiple locations in town, Papa Gio’s never sacrifices fresh for fast, but somehow manages to do both. If you’re in the mood to try out something a little different than your usual, we recommend the prosciutto & melon pie. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. For those of you who aren’t very good at sharing when it comes to your food (we feel you), grab a personal pizza from Knead Pizza in Lexington (we ❤️ the Carolina BBQ pizza) or Persona Pizzeria on Main Street. Order up the award-winning (seriously, it won an award at the World Pizza Competition in Naples) Chipotle Chicken pizza—a pie made with chipotle dressing, grilled chicken and mozzarella cheese then topped with fresh Pico De Gallo and crème fresh after it’s done baking. Finally, make it a priority to stop into Nicky’s in Five Points—a favorite of college students, locals + visitors alike. Pro tip: start your meal with the garlic knots or pepperoni twists. We’re obsessed.
Cover photo credit: Za's On Devine
If you're looking for more delicious bites in Columbia SC, check out our restaurants page where you can search by category to find exactly what you're craving!