Pizza in Durham - First time at Bocci
Ever since Esposito's closed I've been looking for a replacement neighborhood Italian joint that does decent pizza. Admittedly, Esposito's was "American Italian" and the atmosphere was kind of blah, but they had such things as eggplant parmigiano sandwiches and decent pizza and it didn't cost you an arm and a leg. Well, I've found it - hooray! Today my pizza-loving hub and I had lunch at Bocci (located in the (IMNSHO) hideous-looking Padget Place on Fayetteville Rd. near Southpoint Mall. (Thanks, klaatu47 for putting it on my radar screen.)The interior is cozy with lots of booths. Always a plus. I was a little worried because the menu is pretty huge, but we weren't disappointed by the pizza. We had the thin brick oven pizza with eggplant (a little on the skimpy side) and sausage (just right) and the spinach saute' on the side. (We love greens on pizza and ordering spinach as a topping generally isn't enough.) The pizza was crispy and delicious and the greens were perfect - nice and garlicky with a touch of white wine. I asked the woman at the next table about her pasta and she said it was "the best" - a huge bowl of penne she said was an appetizer. Their pizza looked a bit "burny" around the edges, but ours didn't come out that way at all. It was perfect, actually. Speaks for a hot oven, though. My husband (aka pizza boy) makes excellent pizza himself, so we rarely order out, but he's definitely going back. Next time he's trying the calzone. Keep in mind, it's American Italian - no fancy cheeses, but if you like that kind of thing, give Bocci a try. Oh yeah, the service was excellent. Now if they could just have $2.50/glass house wines like Esposito's did we'd be set.
Weird in that I had pizza at Bocci for the first time this evening, too. We got the NY style and it was pretty good. It wasn't great (a MUST repeat) and it wasn't bad (a never eat there again). I'd eat their pizza again but it wouldn't be my first choice.
As to the rest of the menu, I've eaten at Bocci twice. The sandwiches are not good at all and their pastas are average.
My first in Durham or in the Triangle?
In the entire Triangle, my first choice would be Italian Pizzeria III on W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill. Others I would choose before Bocci include Brixx in Meadowmont in Chapel Hill, Pepper's on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, any of multiple Randy's locations in Durham, Daniel's Pizza and Pasta in Apex, and Lilly's on Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh.
Again, I WILL eat Bocci's pizza again (I only live about a mile away) but it would not be my first choice.
You really should try the thin brick oven pizza at Bocci since you say you're going back, and the greens - if you like that sort of thing. And I suppose I really should try IP3, now that I've heard so much about it. We went to Brixx once when it first opened and were sorely disappointed. Randy's? Really? I love Pepper's for the vibe. The pizza is fine.
Sorry, but the Brixx rec is gonna cost you three CH credibility points. ;-o
Randy's is too inconsistent, IMO. Every once in a while they hit on all cylinders and you get a great pie, but most of the time it's merely adequate.
Vinny's Italian Grill and Pizzaria (Churton Grove Center, Hillsborough) is as good as any pizza I've had in the Triangle, and they're a lot more consistent than Randy's. (There's a location in Apex as well, but I haven't been to that one.) The rest of the food's not bad, either.
Yes it's a chain, but they use top quality ingredients, many of which aren't avaliable at the retail level: All Trumps high gluten flour, Escalon 6-in-1 ground tomatoes (no citric acid = no bitter taste), Grande Mozz and prov, Ezzo pep, etc. And you can buy anything they use, be it ingredients, flatware, serving platters, kitcheware, or what have you. (I have friends who liked the sconces on the walls, and they even ordered some for them!) I buy Grande whole milk mozz there for less than half of what Whole Foods charges per lb.
[NB – In the interest of full disclosure: I do not work for, nor am I related to anyone who works for, Vinny's. I am not compensated in any way for my recommendation.]
pgym and suse, I was asked which places *I* prefer over Bocci for pizza and Brixx and Randy's fit that bill. Did I say either was superb? No, not even close. But, IMO, they are both better than Bocci. Again, I believe Italian Pizzeria III on W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill has the best "authentic" NY style pizza in the Triangle.