Modern Apizza | Connecticut’s Best Pizzerias | New Haven

Review by: Michael Stern

Where’s The Best Pizza?

While many connoisseurs of pizza will fight us on this point, we cannot say that Modern Apizza of New Haven serves the best pizza on earth. In our book, it ranks second or third best. But the differences among Connecticut’s great pizzerias are minor. And if even if you do put one of the area’s other holy pizza shrines at the top of your list, eating at Modern ranks as one of the great pizza-eating experiences of a lifetime. For those who prefer Pepe’s, Sally’s, Zuppardi’s, or Roseland, coming to Modern might be like winning only $100 million rather than $125 million in the lottery.

What Makes Modern Apizza Great

“Our brick oven reaches temperature in excess of 700 degrees,” Modern’s menu warns. “Some pizzas may blacken around the edges, and even lose their perfect shape due to contact with the brick floor of the oven.” Ok with us! While a few spots around the edge may be charred (very much so if you order it well-done), the whole pizza has a swoonfully appetizing smoky taste. You see why when you devour slices off the paper on which the pizza rests atop its round pan. The paper appears strewn with charred little bits of semolina from the oven floor, most of which cling to the underside of the crust. They create the slightly burnt hot-bread flavor that typical pizza oven does not produce.

The Bomb

Modern’s specialty toppings include broccoli, sliced tomato, artichoke, and clams casino. That last one pairs clams with bacon and peppers. While crust is what makes New Haven pizza unique, we love Modern’s Italian Bomb. In this case, a multitude of ingredients completely overwhelm the crust. You’ll find sausage, pepperoni, bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Vegetarians can plow into a bomb topped with spinach, broccoli, olives, peppers, mushrooms, onion, and garlic.

White Clam Pie

All of Connecticut’s great pizzerias feature white clam pizza — hold the mozzarella. Modern’s version is grand. The clams taste of ocean sweetness. Plenty of garlic crowns the pie. Without a blanket of mozzarella, the crust puffs up dry and chewy. You’ll crunch crispness even at the wafer-thin center.

Note: Gluten-free pizza is available, made on a mozzarella base.

What To Eat

Italian bomb

Sausage & Artichoke Pizza

Pepperoni & Pepper Pizza


Modern Apizza | Connecticut’s Best Pizzerias | New Haven Recipes


What do you think of Modern Apizza | Connecticut’s Best Pizzerias | New Haven?

2 Responses to “Modern Apizza | Connecticut’s Best Pizzerias | New Haven”

Matthew Lupoli

January 6th, 2009

I have gone to all of the well-known New Haven pizzerias, but I have to say that my undisputed favorite is Modern Apizza. Modern’s crust is absolute perfection; it’s just so nice and thin, charred, and crunchy. Outsiders may get turned off when they see that the crust is all burnt around the edges, but that’s the best part of Modern’s pies. They also use the perfect balance of sauce, cheese, and toppings on their pies. Too much of any of the ingredients causes the pizza to become too heavy and rich.

In New York, I feel that a lot of the pizzerias overdo it with the sauce and toppings; I’m usually full after just one slice (which is probably why they sell it by the slice). At Modern, I can easily finish an entire small by myself and still have room for coffee and cannolis later on. Their calzones are pretty delicious as well; every now and then I’ll get one if I’m in the mood.

My absolute favorite pizza is their white clam pie which they serve with lemon wedges; none of the Wooster Street pizzerias serve it that way. A close second for me would be the plain tomato sauce pie. I heard that this was the original pizza that was made at New Haven pizzerias in the old days so I decided to give it a try. It was absolutely delicious. I didn’t miss the “mootz” at all; all you need to do is just sprinkle on a little grated cheese and it’s perfect.

For me, Modern is first place, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is a very close second, and Sally’s Apizza is a not so close third place. Not only do I think that the pizza at Modern is a “slice” above the other two pizzerias, but I also think that the overall ambience of the dining out experience is better here than at the other two. The staff at Modern will always ask if you need more time, and if you do then they are back within a few minutes. After your order comes, they will come back every now and then to check up on you. I go there so much that I am now on a first-name basis with most of the staff. Unlike at the other two pizzerias, at Modern you will be treated well whether you are a regular or a first-timer.


Bobby Stone

August 22nd, 2008

Modern is one of the three best pizza restaurants in New Haven. People in this area take their pizza seriously, given the area’s Italian heritage. Most of us in the New Haven area view our pizza as the best in the USA. No small claim but check out any of the three restaurants listed to see if you don’t agree.

I’ve been a resident of the area for almost 60 years. In the 1960’s and 1970’s you could find good pizza almost everywhere. However things have been slipping for a while and, in the new millenium, Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Modern (all New Haven) are the only ones still serving old-style Italian/New Haven pizza, which has a thin, slightly burnt, good-tasting crust and a flavorful tomato sauce. Toppings, here in New Haven, only add to a pizza; they don’t make it.

I’d rate Pepe’s number one, Sally’s two, and Modern three, but the differences are small. Expect long lines at any of these restaurants, except in the summer when Yale is gone, and then only on weekdays. None of these restaurants take reservations.

If you are a real connoisseur, order all your pizzas SMALL: it makes them crisper and even better. Also, many old-timers order a “plain” pizza which means no cheese. The crust and sauce are so delicious that toppings really are not needed and can intrude on an already superb product. However, I will confess to enjoying a bacon pizza (less cheese) on occasion.

A white clam pizza should also be enjoyed (clams, no tomato sauce, no cheese). Just garlic, clams, clam juice, and an underlying great bread. Wonderful!


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Archie Moore’s

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Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana

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Sally’s Apizza

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