Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pizza Paradise Near Phoenix

La Piazza Al Forno
5803 West Glendale Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301

After our drive from the Grand Canyon, checking into the hotel, and a quick nap we were ready to get to the the hockey game we had tickets for. Where to eat though? Of course I had planned where we were going, just wanted to make it a little more dramatic. We were headed to Glendale, so it was an easy decision, La Piazza Al Forno would be our destination.

La Piazza wants everyone to know that they make  "real" pizza. Neapolitan pizza. Pizzas like the ones being baked in wood fired ovens in Naples. They use San Marzano tomatoes, double 00 flour, and mozzarella that they actually make at the restaurant. On their website they discredit square, stuffed, round, and extra thick pizzas, stating that they, "are not real pizza". La Piazza is actually certified by the Italian government to adhere to the set of guidelines based on Neapolitan tradition. With these boastful claims I was very excited to try their real pizza.

We arrived at the restaurant at 5:30 on a Thursday night. We must have hit it at a good time, because we did not have to wait and were seated immediately. This restaurant had a cool vibe to it, but still seemed warm and inviting. That might be due to our waitress, Sandy. She had a lot of tables, but her charming personality was very evident, and she kept things moving. The menu is not overly large. Pastas, salads and appetizers are on the menu, but we were here for pizza, so that is what we got.

Katie selected this Bianca Pizza. Their version of a white pizza had fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, ricotta cheese, garlic, and basil included on it. Katie really enjoyed this pizza. She liked the big cloves of garlic, fresh dough, and top notch ingredients. I ate a piece of hers and it was a little mellower than I like my pizza, but some red pepper flakes remedied that situation. I know that Katie liked the dough here, because she ate all of her crust.

Here's a pizza that is much more my style, the Italian Stallion. This meat lovers dream included Prosciutto di Parma, Sopressata, Schreiner’s Sausage and Pepperoni. When this hit the table the first thing I noticed was it was served smoking hot. There was plenty of meat on this pizza, but it was not greasy at all. All the ingredients worked well together and formed a cohesive unit that made the pizza great. You can tell that they really take the time and care into only adding items that will make a pizza taste great. One of the best pizzas we have had outside of NYC.

I was not really too hungry for dessert, but the Homemade Cheesecake looked really good. I am not really a cheesecake guy, because sometimes it can be chalky, but this was very creamy. It is made on the premises, with a good solid flavor and not too rich. The chocolate syrup was a nice touch. Nice finish to the meal.

La Piazza Al Forno was all it was cracked up to be. The pizzas were great, and the dessert put this place over the top. Prices were pretty fair here. The pizzas are more than enough for one person, and they run $8 to $14. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives visited here two years ago, and the waitress told us that this place hasn't been the same since. Expect a wait on most nights. Also be advised that they are closed on Sundays and Mondays. The restaurant can tend to be a little on the warm side, even in March. The brick oven is probably the cause of this, but this is Arizona so most people are probably used to this already. Well worth the trip here.

Out of five antiques, (because the city of Glendale is known as the antique capital of Arizona), five being best to zero being worst, La Piazza Al Forno gets 4 antiques.

For more information on La Piazza Al Forno, click here:

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