Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants

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peppertree
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2003/10/09 16:28:58 (permalink)

Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants

I have found that when I crave a pizza and I am in a geographic area that is not good for pizza, I have found better tasting and better quality pizza in mom and pop sit-down service Italian restaurants.

Even the Italian chains have a better quality pizza than the pizza chains.

Have you found that to be true?

Do you remember any particular pizza that was good at an Italian restaurant?

Especially in a non-pizza area?

One place that comes to mind, is when I used to visit Miami Beach a lot, I found an Italian restaurant on 73rd Street near Collins Ave. called Mama Vivi's. Decent pizza there.

Here in Austin, there is Italian called Little Italy and the pizza there is not so bad. In San Antonio, there is an Italian restaurant that is great, called Boccone's. There pizza is very, very good. The owner is from Connecticut and has menus and picture of Italian restaurant from Italy on the walls.

#1

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    Hillbilly
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/09 17:25:04 (permalink)
    Last night I got a reasonably good pizza at "Centro", a new italian restaurant (with coal fired brick oven) on Locust at 10th in downtown Des Moines.
    Four old North Carolina favorites come to mind: the "Open Kitchen" in Charlotte, "Roselli's" in North Wilkesboro, "Steve's" in Winston Salem and "Piccola Italia" in Raleigh. The Open Kitchen is one of my all time favorites for any Italian food, and Piccola Italia isn't far behind. Roselli's is a true Roadfood place, located in a very rural location in a converted farm outbuilding (probably a chicken house), but "Mama Roselli" could sure put out food to please.
    #2
    spadoman
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/09 17:51:15 (permalink)
    I try pizza almost everywhere I go. Some are good, some are not, it is a crapshoot.

    Back in the 1970's when I still lived in Chicago, I had about a half dozen places I would go for a good pie, a few of them served Italian food other than pizza, but the best pizza was from a pizza restaurant that served mainly pizza.
    BTW, the best back then was the original Due's, a spin-off from Uno's on the near North side. They had good pie, but then again, in those days, I would eat almost anything and it tasted good!
    The other place was in Melrose Park and called the Division Lounge, somewhere around 15th and Division st.
    Anyone know if that place is still there?
    #3
    Billfish
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/10 01:59:14 (permalink)
    The Northeast Coast,New england and Mid-Atlantic area seems to have a lot of Italian genre restaurants that turn out to be actually operated by Greek immigrants.
    I myself am a fan of the Greek concept of pizza,usually shiny with oil,substantial and buttery crust,and liberal with both cheese and sauce.When i encounter one of these places I will invariably jump in and order pizza as opposed to their spaghetti or veal items.More often than not,the pizza is a winner,although it would surely meet with disapproval in Brooklyn.
    Oddly enough,one of my favorite pizzas was at a cafe on Massachusetts' North Shore,defunct for almost 20 years now,and run by a genial and good hearted fellow of Armenian descent,whose brother was the mayor of the city.But it may have been more about the ambiance and tightly-knit regular bar crowd that hung out there,not to mention the sweet barmaids and the doting waitresses.I sure do miss those days.I miss the pizza too.
    Bill
    Georgetown DE








    #4
    hatteras04
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/10 10:02:58 (permalink)
    Though it's probably not a real popular spot with the people on this board, I like the pizza from Buca Di Beppo's. It's a long thin rectangular pizza that they serve with a bottle of oil to splash on right before eating. I think it's really good.
    #5
    skylar0ne
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/14 15:06:05 (permalink)
    Originally posted by Hillbilly:
    quote:
    The Open Kitchen is one of my all time favorites for any Italian food,


    I gotta agree with you totally on the Open Kitchen in Charlotte. That's some of the best Italian anywhere. Back in my dating days, you knew you were special if your date took you to either the Open Kitchen or the Gondola...it was a great Italian place back then too.
    #6
    seafarer john
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/14 17:22:47 (permalink)
    Just yesterday we went to Aloy's in Poughkeepsie. The place has hardly changed in the 60- plus years it has been in business even though it has been through several changes of ownership.

    It is a full service Italian restaurant with a large menu ranging from Apizza to Ziti. They still make a thin crust square slice apizza and the price is right. The small pie, enough for us two senior citizens, cost $5.00. I absolutely agree that you are much more likely to find a good pizza in a full service Italian restaurant (but probably not a RISTORANTE)) than in any sort of chain joint.
    #7
    Lone Star
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2003/10/14 17:34:36 (permalink)
    In Houston, it would have to be Collina's Italian Cafe.

    We have lunch there about once a month, and all of their food is divine. The rosemary-garlic breadsticks with olive oil are absolute heaven.

    They have had great reviews here in the Bayou City.

    One of the reviews states:
    "The Only Houston area restaurant to be recognized by Pizza Today as one of the top 100 pizzerias in the U.S. January, 1997 & January, 1998".


    Look here for the menu and reviews:

    http://www.collinas.com/
    #8
    bxfinest
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/14 10:40:58 (permalink)
    Sbarro serves decent pizza and Italian food for a franchise chain.


    http://sbarro.com/welcome.cfm?swf=1


    #9
    cocacolakid
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 01:53:23 (permalink)
    Believe it or not, the Olive Garden makes a nice personal sized pizza. It's fresh and you have a decent selection of toppings. Normally there isn't much on their menu that really stands out at all for me, but the pizza is pretty good.
    #10
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 03:36:49 (permalink)
    The best of the best for me was this little place called "Valentino's" in my hometown of Reedley, CA... family run..the best pizza around..the rest of their food was pretty good too....

    On the flip side.. Our favorite Italian place here in Fresno, "Mike's", does an excellent calzone but their pizza is awful! How does that happen?
    #11
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 07:56:06 (permalink)
    Here in the south, I have found a Italian chain that does excellent pizza and Italian food.

    The pizza is wonderful and the veal parma is real veal and very inexpensive. I have attached the website which has their menu and locations. Their dessert cakes are beautifully displayed and tasty.

    http://www.gondolierpizza.com/

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #12
    mayor al
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 08:21:37 (permalink)
    In Jeffersonville, IN, directly across the River from Louisville there are several restaurants on the water with great views of the city and Riverfront activity. One of those is ROCKY'S. It has been around for as long as I can remember in this area, first as a workingman's lunch place, and more recently as a full service Italian restaurant and pizza(eat in) type of business.
    They are known for their whole-wheat crust pizza. Hearty to say the least. Good toppings and generous serving sizes make it a popular place. We usually enjoy items from the menu rather than the pizza, but when the Pizza-Mood strikes it is the place to fill those cravings.
    Check out this review

    http://pizzatoday.com/features_articles.shtml?article=MjIyOHN1cGVyMjIyNXNlY3JldDIyMzI=
    #13
    BT
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 18:55:45 (permalink)
    Best pizza I ever ate, and a food memory I can't get out of my head, was at Villa Rosa, a "white tablecloth" Italian restaurant in Silver Spring, MD in the '50's. If any locals read this, it couldn't still be there could it? The story went that the guy who opened the place learned to make pizza and much else while a soldier in Naples in WWII. The pizza he did turn out was a lot closer to the real Italian style than what Americans eat these days--it had a pretty thin crust, not too much tomato sauce and lots of herbs.
    #14
    BT
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 19:01:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Billfish

    The Northeast Coast,New england and Mid-Atlantic area seems to have a lot of Italian genre restaurants that turn out to be actually operated by Greek immigrants.
    I myself am a fan of the Greek concept of pizza,usually shiny with oil,substantial and buttery crust,and liberal with both cheese and sauce.When i encounter one of these places I will invariably jump in and order pizza as opposed to their spaghetti or veal items.More often than not,the pizza is a winner,although it would surely meet with disapproval in Brooklyn.
    Oddly enough,one of my favorite pizzas was at a cafe on Massachusetts' North Shore,defunct for almost 20 years now,and run by a genial and good hearted fellow of Armenian descent,whose brother was the mayor of the city.But it may have been more about the ambiance and tightly-knit regular bar crowd that hung out there,not to mention the sweet barmaids and the doting waitresses.I sure do miss those days.I miss the pizza too.
    Bill
    Georgetown DE


    I find that in the SF Bay Area, increasingly the pizza places are run by Arabs. Had one across the street run by a bunch of young guys from Morocco--they wore white robes and had lots of pictures of Mecca and such on the walls, but they made some of the best pizza around here (which, sadly, isn't saying all that much). Just after 9/11 I kind of worried about them (in BOTH respects--any chance they were . . . .? And, assuming they weren't, would they suffer any hostility). Far as I know, neither was the case.
    #15
    UncleVic
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/08/17 20:16:15 (permalink)
    Best pizza around here was Bonos Italian Restraunt in Grand Rapids Michigan! The owners where true Italians from the old country and I had the privalege of working for them! They retired about 6 or 7 years ago and the place still serves italian, but now is a sports bar... I've yet to sample the food there (under the new managment)... But when Jackie and Joe Bono where still working it, the food was awesome! When it came to the pizzas, that was old man Bonos field... He made the dough and sauce! And when I say making sauce, it started out as stewed tomatos, run thru a sieve, spices added and simmered the entire day on the stove... Then left out overnight to cool... If I even suggested putting it in the cooler overnight there where some Italian words yelled at me that I've yet to learn, but personally I dont think it was good...

    Rest of our Italian restraunts in town either prefer a Prego Spahgetti sauce as their pizza sauce, or if it's their doctored recipe of something out of a can they seem to love adding pounds of sugar to it... Not sure what happened around here... But it's not good... BUT, when I travel down to Indiana, I'm telling you... I'm in Pizza Heaven! Folks down there (not the chain deals - With the exception of Pizza King or Jacks) know how to make a tasty pie! I'll be heading back down there in a couple weeks and look forward to a real pizza again!

    #16
    boba8trck
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/10/20 14:11:13 (permalink)
    No, sadly the Villa Rosa has been closed for many, many years. My cousin, Anthony Dellnoci, was the man you who opened the restaurant and remained as its proprietor until the property was sold. Tony passed away back in the 1980s, but I'm sure he would be honored by your commentary. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories!
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    Best pizza I ever ate, and a food memory I can't get out of my head, was at Villa Rosa, a "white tablecloth" Italian restaurant in Silver Spring, MD in the '50's. If any locals read this, it couldn't still be there could it? The story went that the guy who opened the place learned to make pizza and much else while a soldier in Naples in WWII. The pizza he did turn out was a lot closer to the real Italian style than what Americans eat these days--it had a pretty thin crust, not too much tomato sauce and lots of herbs.
    #17
    berndog
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/10/20 15:31:16 (permalink)
    peppertree, you are bring back memories. A wonderful neighborhood Italian restaurant near where I live now named Ricci's makes a great pizza. But, the one I really remember was from my youth, in Hudson, NY., back in the 60's. There was a wonderful Italian restaurant in the town of Claverack, just outside Hudson, known as Fatso's. It had an official name, but I have forgotten it over the years.

    I always thought of Fatso's pizza as "avalanche" pizza, because he put so much sauce and toppings on that crisp crust that they would slide right off if you didn't hold your piece of pie straight when you picked it up. Boy, was that good.
    #18
    saps
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2004/10/20 16:03:14 (permalink)
    I've lived in Chicago all of my life, and have been to Boston several times as well as NYC and tried the pizzas in both places, which were great One of the best pizzas that I have had was in International Falls, MN, about a block away from the Canadian Border. I believe the place was called Bob's Border Bar, and they made great burgers and pizza, although the place looked as seedy as hell.
    #19
    TTTTom
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2005/03/23 22:55:01 (permalink)
    Hillbilly,

    You sure know where to find the best italian restaurant! I have been eating at Piccola Italia in Raleigh for over 25 years and the food is still the best in North Carolina!

    If you folks are ever travelling and want great Fresh Roasted Coffee – I can ship to RV camps.

    Tom
    www.carolinacoffeeandteaco.com

    #20
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2005/03/24 15:37:24 (permalink)
    My favorite pizza in San Francisco is from a quiet little place in the Avenues (west side of town, in the fog belt) called the Greco-Romana Pizza Caffé on Clement at 26th Avenue. They hand stretch the crust, put on a very slight layer of their housemade tomato sauce and then pop it into the oven. They pull it out, pop the bubbles, add the rest of the toppings and put it back in the oven. What this means is there is NO raw bread dough, which gives me indigestion.

    This is so cute. Panos, the original owner, sold out his share to his ex-wife, who continues to operate the Greco-Romana. Panos now works at Kokkari, a much fancier Greek restaurant near the Embarcadero. His ex-wife still makes all the great Greek and Italian specialties by Panos's recipes, which are every bit as good as the divine pizza. Panos and his ex-wife get along just great now that they don't live and work together.

    BT, when you get back I will take you there, but if they are serving pastitsio that day you will have to have a pizza to yourself, because as good as the pizza is, the pastitsio is better!
    #21
    TTTTom
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2005/03/24 16:29:05 (permalink)
    Michael,

    Piccola Italia also makes their own sauce. It is a great sauce, not bitter like some tomato sauce.

    I was in the restaurant one night and a person came in to pick up a take-out. They had a calzone and wanted some extra sauce. When the owner said the charge was $1.00, the guy pitched a fit... even though he looked like he could certainly afford $20. for the sauce.

    These people spend hours making the sauce the unfortunately some doen't appreciate the quality. Great place, don't miss it.

    Enjoy your day,

    Tom
    #22
    Chefl49
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2005/04/25 08:37:30 (permalink)
    A sit down Italian restaurant south of Chicago on I-39 is Pomodori Grill which has a spinach pizza called "Popeye". You can order it with portabello mushrooms also. This place makes their own crust and sauces as well as a homemade foccacia bread.
    #23
    backfrmIraq
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2005/12/30 12:05:27 (permalink)
    Luciano's in White Oak PA...great hand tossed pizza...good Italian restaurant

    In Mobile, hands down Picklefish Pizza, two locations, one in the Dauphin Street entertainment district downtown and one accross from Stanky Field at University of South Alabama...both locations great, but the USA shop has a deck....

    North Beach Pizza in San Fran....back in the early 90's
    #24
    2005Equinox
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    RE: Pizza In Regular Italian Restaurants 2006/01/08 04:51:46 (permalink)
    Little Luigis of Kaukauna. formerly Nick and Gios of Appleton run by a real italian couple. They make their own dough and sauce for their pizza and pasta dishes. They make the best pizza I have ever had. EVERYTHING is made from scratch. They dont overdo the sauce on their pizza either which is a godsend. After one of theirs you dont want to go anywhere else. And it isnt much more expensive than Pizza Hut or Papa Johns.
    #25
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