We all know pizza is bad for you, but once in a while, it’s hard to avoid the temptation. I’m no stranger to the cravings and I once spent a week in Italy eating pizza for both lunch and dinner every day. Thank God, I’ve been blessed with a great metabolism. Caleños and maybe Colombians in general, have (like the rest of us) a soft spot for anything that involves cheese and white bread and the pizza is no exception. Every barrio seems to have several pizzerias and they keep popping up. To help you decide where to go I’ve compiled of what I think are Cali’s best pizzerias.
The independent Restaurants
La Rustica is a newly opened pizzeria with a cool decor, good service, and a beautiful wood-fired oven. The style is traditional Italian with a thin crust.
Calle 3 Oeste # 3A-07 in barrio El Peñón, Cali.
Antonia is another newcomer to the market. They have what may be the most interesting combinations, good cocktails, a great wine menu and wood-fired oven. Traditional Italian with a thin crust.
Avenida 9 # 20N-45 in barrio Granada, Cali
Mamma Mia is not really in Cali, but at KM17 on the road towards the Pacific coast. Too good not to mention, though. It’s owned by an Italian-Australian guy and they serve great Italian food and make amazing traditional pizzas. They only open Thursday-Sunday and get packed for lunch.
La Curva is located at KM 2 on the road going up towards the Cristo Rey statue. There’s a 500 meter stretch with at least 12 different pizzerias. I prefer La Curva, which is the first one in line. The pizzas are what I consider to be the Colombian style, which means lots of cheese and combinations such as maduro y tocinetta – sweet plantain and bacon. The real reason for going is the beautiful panoramic view of the city that you’ll have from the entire restaurant.
La Diva is the new hot-spot in El Peñon. Owned by El Sultan restaurant group from Cartagena, everything about La Diva seems really professional. The decoration is awesome, the service attentive, the pizza from the wood-fired oven amazing. My only complaint is the waiting time for a table during rush hours, but hey – that’s what you expect from a quality restaurant. Luckily there are several good cocktail bars surrounding the restaurant.
Carrera 2 # 1 Oeste – 27
Il Forno is a national chain with only one location in Cali. They have a wood-fired oven and serve pretty good pizzas with a thin crust.
Avenida Roosevelt # 39A-20
Karen’s Pizza is a Caleño chain 6 locations in Cali, one in Palmira and one in Bogotá. I’m biased because I know the owner, but they have a high-quality product and only use great ingredients. They have their own cheese factory and you can buy the mozzarella cheese directly from them if you like making your pizza at home. If you have space for an appetizer, make sure to try the Berenjena Milano, which is grilled eggplant with tomatoes, basil, cheese and olive oil.
This may sound out of context, but I mostly go to Karen’s Pizza for their breakfast menu, which is probably the best in town.
They also have an event saloon with a kitchen for kids, which makes it a great place to throw a birthday party.
Salerno with 4 locations in town is another local favorite with a wood-fired oven, who serve pizzas in an “upscale” environment. The product is good without being overly impressive.
Archie’s is a national chain with 4 locations in Cali. Like Karen’s Pizza, they also have the capacity to host birthday parties for kids and for being a chain their product is decent, although a bit on the pricey side.
Some might argue that El Faro Pizzeria bar makes great pizzas. Personally, I think that they are way too greasy and deep dish. My doctor loves it and if that’s your preference, I’m sure you will to0. El Faro is, however, a great place to meet up for drinks with friends and listen to live rock music, which is usually every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They have two locations – El Peñon and Carrera 66.
Pizza, by the way, is not the cheap food it is in Europe. In fact, I often pay more money for a pizza in Colombia that I used to pay in Denmark. It makes no sense that you in some places can get a soup, main course, dessert and juice for $6.000 pesos, and at the same time pay $25.000 pesos for a normal size pizza for one person. Maybe it’s supply and demand. Or maybe a pizza is a luxury in Colombia. All of the places above seem to be thriving and prices do not seem to keep people (and myself) away.
Enjoy and please let me know in the comments if there are other places that deserve to mentioned here.
BTW, the picture comes from none of the above but is me experimenting with making a pizza with no wheat and a crust made of cauliflower.