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Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

4000 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ - (480) 994-1100
Posted By Chris & Amy Ayers on 1/6/2008 6:27:00 PM
We’d never wish for it, of course, but if we ever found ourselves on Death Row, Grimaldi’s pizza would be our last meal request. Everything about this pizza screams perfection: the slightly burnt crust, baked in a coal-fired oven; the freshest-of-fresh toppings; and the extraordinarily aromatic tomatoes used as sauce (but not in the traditional sense of covering the entire surface of the crust, as these are spooned on curiously amongst the toppings at the end of the process).

Located across the street from the famous Sugar Bowl ice cream parlor, Grimaldi’s seems a bit nouveau riche (much like the swanky Ra sushi house two blocks down) in Old Town Scottsdale, an area known for its western boutiques and touristy nightlife. Their plush veneer, however, cannot possibly hide what is “the most award winning pizza in America,” as the menu boasts. Wanting to save room for dessert at the Sugar Bowl, we ordered a small pizza with Italian sausage, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, and extra basil, and fountain root beer to drink. Fortuitously, our table was right next to the open kitchen, so we got to watch our pie being assembled. First, the dough was hand-thrown and arranged on a wooden peal. Thick slices of fresh mozzarella and thumb-sized “pinches” (the chef grabbed a handful of raw sausage, squeezed little balls between his fingers, and flicked them on the pie) of Italian sausage were then added, along with whole Kalamata olives and mushrooms. Finally, the crushed tomatoes were dabbed on artfully, and fresh basil leaves were scattered over the surface before the pie was thrust into the oven.

The aroma of the pizza as it arrived at our table was utterly intoxicating, and the taste combination of the sausage, olives, and basil was enough to send us into the Roadfood afterlife. This is a fork-and-knife pie, at least until 60-70% of the piece is eaten, and the outside crust can handle the weight and can be lifted off the plate for portable consumption. Every bite was genuinely superlative, and the Mug (a brand that we’d normally avoid) root beer had a head and an unexpected creaminess that flawlessly complemented the pizza.

Having yet to sample Grimaldi’s pizza in Brooklyn, we can’t compare the two. However, this is one of the best pies, if not the best, that we’ve ever eaten—and that includes all the big names (New Haven and beyond) from our home state of Connecticut. Aside from the two other locations in greater Phoenix (in North Scottsdale and Chandler), their fame has allowed them to open satellite stores in Tucson, Las Vegas, and Dallas. Grimaldi’s is our new favorite pizza, and this was one of our top dining experiences of our lives.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Small Pizza with Sausage, Olives, Mushrooms, Basil
Small Pizza with Sausage, Mushrooms, Extra Basil
Small Pizza with Pepperoni and Olives
Mediterranean Salad
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Patsy Grimaldi's of Scottsdale makes pizzas that compare favorably with the best of the East.
"Patsy Grimaldi's of Scottsdale makes pizzas that compare favorably with the best of the East."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle





We adore the toasty browned cheese on the white pies.
"We adore the toasty browned cheese on the white pies."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The Italian sausage’s spiciness mixed incredibly with the bitterness of the Greek olives, and the ultra-fragrant basil was truly the pièce de résistance on this culinary work of art.  Bravo!
"The Italian sausage’s spiciness mixed incredibly with the bitterness of the Greek olives, and the ultra-fragrant basil was truly the pièce de résistance on this culinary work of art. Bravo!"
Chris & Amy Ayers


It's Scottsdale's superior crust that makes us prefer these pies to the ones made in Brooklyn.
"It's Scottsdale's superior crust that makes us prefer these pies to the ones made in Brooklyn."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Pizza here is not inexpensive.  If you load on the toppings, the price can rise dramatically.  Note that we believe the Phoenix location listed on this menu no longer exists.  (Click on the photo for a clearer view.)
"Pizza here is not inexpensive. If you load on the toppings, the price can rise dramatically. Note that we believe the Phoenix location listed on this menu no longer exists. (Click on the photo for a clearer view.)"
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The coal-fired brick oven is key to the fine pizza crust.
"The coal-fired brick oven is key to the fine pizza crust."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Bianco gets all the attention, but Grimaldi's is top notch.
"Bianco gets all the attention, but Grimaldi's is top notch."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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