Who says you need to make the trek to NYC or book a flight to Chicago for a mind-blowing slice of pizza? Charm City offers residents and visitors a plethora of venues with pizzas that are both delectable and innovative. Kitchens using stone-fired and brick ovens have an added advantage in perfecting their pies. Not only do the ovens offer a smoky touch to the flavor, but the extreme heat in these ovens cook pizza quickly and evenly, ensuring all ingredients are done to perfection. This list has compiled the five absolute best places in Baltimore to get a stone-fired or brick-oven pizza.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Squared
133 W North Ave
Baltimore, Md. 21201
(410) 545-0444

Awarded “Best Pizza” in Baltimore several times over and featured on The Food Network, this pizza joint lives up to the hype and proves it’s hip to be square. Joe Squared defies convention by serving all of its square-shaped pizzas on a metal screen and topping each pie with an innovative amalgamation of toppings. Who would have ever thought chicken, corn and Granny Smith apples could make such beautiful—and delicious—music together, or that a medley including crab and egg could feel so at home atop a crispy crust? Order up the Bacon and Clams Pizza, a succulent combination of clams, maple-smoked bacon and Vidalia onions enveloped by fresh mozzarella, romano, asiago and oregano. The white sauce in this pie is perfectly rich and creamy and the coal-fired oven ensures a crisp and flavorful crust every time.

Related: Best Pizza In Baltimore

Egyptian Pizza Café of Belvedere Square
542 E Belvedere Ave
Baltimore, Md. 21212
(410) 323-7060

The oldest fixture of Belvedere Square, the menu at Egyptian Pizza Café is anything but outdated. A proponent of authentic Egyptian cooking and fresh ingredients, the café is also vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Patrons have the option of ordering the pizza without cheese or soya cheese is available upon request. If looking for a great pie, try the Romana; a rich, satiating combination of mozzarella cheese, garlic herb butter, roasted garlic, red bell peppers, slivered green onions, marinated eggplant and goat cheese on a crispy thin crust—all of this is served with a side of mild salsa for dipping. Just be sure to have some mints available post your indulgence if you bring a date.

(credit: Chazz: A Bronx Original website)

Chazz: A Bronx Original
1415 Aliceanna St
Baltimore, Md. 21231
(410) 522-5511

You don’t need to leave Charm City to get a taste of New York, thanks to the Italian cuisine at Chazz. Oscar-nominated actor, writer and director Chazz Palminteri is both the namesake and brainchild of this homage to the faces and places of Bronx, N.Y. He enlisted the help of renowned restaurateurs Sergio and Alessandro Vitale to develop the establishment into a can’t-miss fixture of Harbor East. Although the restaurant’s coal-oven pizzas aren’t lacking in creative flair—the Contandina’s toppings include an egg served over easy—one of the menu standouts is the Classic NY Pepperoni for $12.95. Although it may not be piled high with a mound of ingredients, the authentic New York taste in this dish is one that can’t be matched.

Di Pasquale’s Italian Market
3700 Gough St
Baltimore, Md. 21224
(410) 276-6787

Di Pasquale’s was established as a corner grocery store dedicated to authentic Italian taste and tradition by Luigi Di Pasquale Sr. 95 years ago. After spanning four generations, the family business has become a beloved staple of Highlandtown with unremitting success and customer satisfaction. A charming Italian grocery store and deli, Di Pasquale’s offers both quantity and quality at reasonable prices. As for its brick-oven pizzas, go with the Tre Carne which includes generous amounts of sautéed chicken, sausage and pepperoni with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella for $11.95.

Related: Best Italian Food In Baltimore

Isabella’s Brick Oven Pizza and Panini
221 S High St
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410) 962-8888

Isabella’s is a small venue that makes for a better place to carry out than dine in, but the friendly staff and blithe ambiance keeps the Italian eatery feeling quaint, not cramped. Despite the limited seating, Isabella’s yields tons of regulars with a myriad of delectable subs, salads and brick-oven pizzas. The crusts of the pizzas are always well-seasoned, crispy and perplexingly durable under the weight of generously allocated toppings. If carrying a large appetite, order the King Richard; a sumptuous pie of fresh mozzarella topped with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni and ham. The dish is guaranteed to leave you happy and satiated at only $9.50 for a 10-inch pie and $14.99 for a 14-inch pie.

Tracy Dye has always had an affinity toward writing and the arts. A fan of exploring all the hidden gems in Baltimore outside of her work and studies, Tracy is thrilled for the opportunity to bring residents all the latest on nightlife and music in the area. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.