I swim against the tide on Pizzeria Bianco!
I think it's GROSSLY OVERRATED!!!!!
Here's my Urbanspoon Review:
IMHO Grossly Overrated!
by Foodbme (10 reviews)
Been here 4 times. 1 by my choice and 3 by out of towners who dragged me there kicking and screaming because they read the hype on this place. The wait is ridiculous. The tables are cramped, The wait staff is indifferent and the pizza is average for a wood-fired pizza. Oh, I forgot. The prices are outrageous!
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I am usually decidedly anti-hype, when it comes to restaurants, and I was skeptical if this place could ever live up to its reputation. That said, I couldn't disagree with you more. I thought Pizzeria Bianco delivered everything I could have expected.
Admittedly, I went with one of the more basic choices - the classic Margherita, which is simply sauce, house-made mozzarella, and fresh basil. The crust was charred to perfection. I begin my judging of any pizza by the crust, and this was outstanding - rivaled, perhaps, by the only the pantheon of pizza craftmasters - Pepe's, Modern, Totonno's?
This was a pie for the ages, and I would absolutely go back. With all of that praise, I still don't think that Bianco's makes the best pie in the country, as others have opined. I wouldn't wait hours for one to be delivered to my table. The drawbacks:
- This may be the place that started the modern "gourmet" pizza craze. I like simple toppings - pepperoni, meatball. You can find neither on their menu, but you can get arugula, pistachios, sopressatta, and prosciutto. I would trade all of that for pepperoni and/or meatball.
- Parking is a nightmare. They have their own lot, which is valet only. Ugh. I hate valets. I know it is because I am a control freak, but just let me park my own damn car.
- The price. If you're used to paying $12 for a large, three-topping Domino's pie, this place is going to be expensive. If you value top-of-the-line ingredients for a top-of-the-line product, then this is not at all outrageous.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room: The wait. I was in, out, and fed in under 30 minutes. Of course, I went by myself and wasn't looking for a social experience. Most people don't do that. They go out with friends, etc. This was a stop in the middle of a business trip, so it was just me. I didn't arrive at a particularly off-hour (i.e. 3 pm). I got there just before their dinner rush started - right before 5 pm. I realize that is not the most convenient time for most people to go, but it is not the MOST inconvenient time, either. The place was nearly empty - as a matter of fact, the bar was COMPLETELY empty. The service was friendly, if not a little brusque. It was the IDEAL situation for me. I wouldn't stand in line for hours - especially by myself. BUT...knowing that the place gets crazy crowded, and many consider the wait to be part of the experience (a la Grimaldi's in Brooklyn), then bitching about the wait time seems crazy to me. You don't want to wait - don't go at a time when there is going to be a wait. Griping about rushed service when the place is packed with a two-hour line out the door also seems crazy. The only reason people do that is because most people in Phoenix expect friendlier service. If the same brusque service was delivered at a place like Grimaldi's, which needs to turn tables over in order to serve more customers, no one would blink an eye.
Overall, my experience was an A+. Is it the best pizza I've ever had? I don't know I can say that, but it's in my Top 10, for sure.