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Tutta Bella

Hi anyone been there recently? We have plans to go to the north one. I haven't had good pizza since I left NYC. I am not expecting the same as NY pizza, just want to taste good pizza.
Please share your thoughts.

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  1. Elaine, Both Tutta Bella and Serious Pie make authentic pizza as you would experience in Italy: Very thin crust, minimal ingredients with cheese and herbs added just before serving. (So the cheese doesn't become a mass of grease soaking through the crust as so perfected by Domino's.) It won't resemble the Pizza you experienced in Little Italy--which is different as well--but you won't be disappointed.

    1. tutta bella has a nice crust but they load it down with a bunch of non-traditional ingredients, which i don't mind, but it makes the pizza soggy, and ruins it, in my opinion. serious pie goes the "less is more" route. great simple pizzas, same with via tribunali on the hill. they make some great seriously italian pizzas.

      1. Tutta Bella - while having convenient parking and being kid-friendly - fell a little flat in my opinion. Their pizzas are good, salads are OK and it can have a fun atmosphere. It can get pretty loud and crowded though (although they give you a free - albeit teeny - glass of red wine while you wait) and I thought their pizza and sauce were a little bland. I needed to add salt.

        My favorite is still Via Tribunali on Capital Hill. Not sure how "NY" it is, but it surely is Neapolitan. Their crust and sauce alone take me back to the winding backstreets of Napoli. Add some mozzarella di bufalo & basil and you have true perfection. Prices can be bit high, but you get better atmosphere and few if any families.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LFP

          There is nothing truly like NY pizza here for whatever reason. I agree that Via Tribunali is the tastiest pizza in town, with Tutta Bella my second favorite or defacto pizza choice if we are all going out for pizza. On the downside Via has a pretty arrogant vibe to it for a pizza joint but at least the decor is pretty cool. I think Serious Pie is overrated and for tourists, just like all Tom Douglas restaurants.

          1. re: LFP

            I desperately miss Harvey's Tavern's sausage pizza, and Gold Creek Pizza out of Cle Elum. Some of the best pizzas on different sides of the spectrum as I've found in this state.

          2. Wasn't their a food writer through town recently that rated our pizza joints? I seem to remember he had a favorite NY-style place that was neither Tutta Bella nor Via Tribunali.

            3 Replies
            1. re: LFP

              I found the article: http://tinyurl.com/ysr47l. Two other places mentioned in this article aren't "pizzerias" - Cafe Lago (I found the crust to be too much like a cracker) and La Vita e Bella. I haven't had pizza at LVB, but heard it's good. Any reports?

                1. re: LFP

                  I think La Vita e Bella bests Tutta Bella on almost ALL levels: Sauce(flavorful, not flat), crust(thin, but not soggy), toppings(not too heavy, tasty flavor combos), service(some of Tutta's staff are useless), and ambience(you can hear your date speak). However, trying to park near LVB might prove challenging, far moreso than Tutta.

                  Now, for something more akin(akin, but not close) to East Coast-style pizza, try Northlake Tavern.

              1. Forget about finding NYC pizza in Seattle. Had pizza (cheese) once at La Vita E Bella and it was soggy and tasteless. Last month the family went to the Stone Way Tutta Bella for the second time and we all agreed it was not good. Bland salads and again soggy pizza.

                1. Pepperoni pizza from Pagliacci is reminiscent of NY-style pizza for me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: staffstuff

                    I agree, especially the Salumi pepperoni pizza. I've enjoyed many middle-of-the-night pizzas in Manhattan and this one is as close as I've ever found on the west coast.

                    I love Tutta Bella, but it's best to have the simple margherita, as I believe that style does not hold up well to being topped. Love the big frosty pitchers of Moretti and salads that are lightly dressed and full of fresh ingredients, especially chicken breast that is well seasoned and still hot in the salad. Mmmmmm.

                  2. We went about a month ago. It is loud. I'm on a low cholesterol/low saturated fat diet, so was delighted to find I could still have pizza because they have one with just seasoned tomato sauce and garlic. No cheese. It was excellent---nice crisp crust, flavorful toppings. My partner was not so happy with his prosciutto/arugula pizza--he said it was undercooked and so the crust was doughy. We plan to go again but he will specifically ask the waiter to make sure that the pizza is cooked sufficiently.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: PAO

                      That's been a common complaint about TB from the beginning. Why can't they cook their pizzas so the crust isn't soggy?

                      1. re: christy319

                        it has nothing to do with the way they cook it, it's because they load it down with too many toppings. someone also told me they were having a hard time not burning pizzas with their oven at the "temperature standard according to regulations" (all that stuff pertaining to their certification), so they turned the oven down. this was before they opened the second location. hopefully, they worked that out.

                        1. re: ccqueen

                          One thing that many of you may not know is that traditionally Neapolitan pizzas are served on the wet side (some call it soggy). It's not because the oven is too hot or there are too many toppings. That's just the way it is.The pizza is wet, not meant to be picked up and suppose to eaten with a knife and fork. It flops over and you lose all the toppings when you pick up a slice becase the center is like wet pasta and you are NOT SUPPOSE TO PICK IT UP. You know what Seattle-ites? That is how it is in the mother land. WET.....

                          This is something that both Tutta Bella and Via Tribunali have been raked over the coals for. We Americans are ignorant to the fact of a whole other style of pizza, that being Neapolitan. Having traveled to Napoli more than once I feel that both do a good job representing Neapolitan pizza--not Sicilian, not Venitian, not Roman and not NYC for sure. If you are looking for the crisp pizza that this country loves so much go to California Pizza Kitchen. If you are looking for the a real Neapolitan pizza hit up Via Tribunali or Tutta Bella

                          Both of these restaurants get my kudos for bringing the real deal to this country.

                          1. re: ccqueen

                            huh...i've heard of temps ranging from 500-1200 degrees, that are ALL adamantly called "the standard temp".

                          2. re: christy319

                            Yes, i've experienced this too. Sad. and i don't get the flat sauce either. I've had wonderful sauce made from San Marzanos, and it can be better than what they sell as "pure".

                        2. Good discussion. In my experience quality NYC pizza can be basically two species: (1) the Neopolitan-inspired, thin crust, utensil-friendly, order-a-pie style (a la lombardi's, grimaldi's, etc); and (2) the fold-it-in half, by-the-slice, greasy, garlic salt style (a la anyone's favorite corner spot). Each can be executed with distinction, and can be craved at different times for different reasons.

                          In Seattle, I think both Tutta Bella and Tribunali make faithful Neopolitan pies that could be fairly put in contention with their NYC counterparts, with Tribunali being the better of the two. I agree wholeheartedly with passionfoodie's point that those who complain about the thin crust and the moisture that prevails in this style misunderstand its roots.

                          I haven't had Serious pie, but I have been told by a friend who works for the Douglas empire that it is of the west coast, sans-tomato-sauce, gourmet toppings ilk often shunned by Northeasterners. Piecora's pizza is overrated and doesn't achieve either ideal.

                          Obviously, by-the-slice NYC-style 'za in Seattle is another story, a story of poverty and despair. Something about Pagliacci's just isn't right, and the other very few slice vendors I've tried aren't worthy of mention. The paucity/impropriety of slices outside a certain radius surrounding NYC--even D.C. suffers--is a mystery of national proportions that has been discussed countless times on these boards, including the recent "regional water theory" thread. The only place I've found that accomplishes a decent slice is Zagi's in Loyal Heights. Actually, I think they do it quite well. After I asked for a little bit of dried herbs and sprinkled these with some garlic salt and red pepper, folding the properly sized fraction in half, I could have closed my eyes and been in another place.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: equinoise

                            Ah, i recall how tasty Lombardi's was when i was in NYC...mmm...i must return.
                            I liked Serious Pie. While abit spendy, and NOT really what i might consider pizza, the arugula pesto/morel shrooms pizza was heavenly.

                            1. re: equinoise

                              Serious Pie is definitely its own thing. The crust is closer to New Haven style (a distinctive variety underappreciated outside New England), the shape and toppings sometimes more akin to Pissaladière. I heard Mr. Douglas describe it as "my idea of pizza" rather than hewing to any particular tradition.

                              We crave it monthly.

                              1. re: terrier

                                So, terrier, what is YOUR fav pie from Serious? I assume you've tried most/all of theirs, and would appreciate your comments.

                                1. re: SeaSybarite

                                  I favor the sausage & pepper pie, followed closely by the soft egg/coppa/arugala pie. My better half likes the soft egg and mushroom/truffle cheese pies best. The others are ok except the margherita which we both found disappointing.

                                  Haven't had the morel/pesto pie yet - but we'll get around to it. :)

                                  1. re: terrier

                                    mmm! I'll def check out the egg/coppa/arugula and truffle/cheese/egg pies. :)
                                    Can't eat peppers unless they're seriously carmelized--is that the style?

                                    1. re: SeaSybarite

                                      I do strongly encourage you to try the pepper & sausage pie, even if you're not normally a 'pepper person.' The peppers aren't thick bell peppers - they're cherry-bomb peppers, a small, globe-shaped chile with just a little bit of heat (much milder than a jalapeño). Having a relatively thin flesh, they do cook to softness on the pie.

                                      This is it's one of the few pies they do that's got a tomato sauce base and the plain margherita pie doesn't gel nearly as well as this one.

                                      1. re: terrier

                                        Hmmm...tha DOES sound tasty. I'll have to flex for this one--exceptions MUST be made! thanks for the tip.

                            2. Via Tribunali--best pizza I've had outside of Naples (Haven't been to Pizza Bianco in Phoenix though). Tutta Bella is the Mcdonalds of Neapolitan Pizza (I just don't like these sorts of things being franchised).

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: Nikiforos

                                Two locations equals a franchise? That seems like a gross overstatement to me. I agree that Via Tribunali is the best by far, but Tutta Bella is just fine, especially if you're eating with a big group or kids. It's no McDonalds.

                                1. re: dandelion

                                  Its shooting for it--the writing is one the wall (literally: they have all this "infocrap" on Neopolitan Pizza posted everywhere and you can tell the design has been sussed out for reproduction). No its not Mcdonalds (I eat at Mcdonalds) but it's a Mcdonaldization of Neopolitan Pizza. I understand the sentiment of the proprieters: We love NP, how cool would it be to for it to be available everywhere? I have mixed feelings about it, but ultimitely, part of why I think I love NP so much is its so elusive.

                                  1. re: dandelion

                                    Well, there are 4 locations--two of which are not yet open, but since I know the owner personally, I'm quite sure they are not franchised.

                                    1. re: dagoose

                                      My bad, "Chain" is more appropriate. Again, I empathize with the who ever runs that outfit, and would probably by genuflecting before him if there was no Via Tribunali, but with accessiblity, we lose something (dbl edged sword of globalisation).

                                        1. re: Nikiforos

                                          Well not to burst your bubble, but... Via Tribunali is opening new locations in Queen Anne and Georgetown over the coming months. They've been renovating their space on Queen Anne for ages now, and it looks like a smaller version of the original, complete with the handbuilt oven imported from Italy.
                                          And while I wouldn't consider TB a chain, I agree there is something lacking in atmosphere and character. Via Tribunali wins that battle. I also concur that TB seems a bit chewy and soggy - which, yes NP is supposed to be floppy and I love that, but TB was just... ew.

                                          1. re: qalaur

                                            Well, you burst the stinker...why are we so compelled to duplicate a good thing ad absurdum? At that point, the whole thing turns stupid: the only way to maintain quality, in these circumstances (among other downsides), is to rationalize all the processes (i.e. Taylorism), then we have Mcdonalds (which is fine, but does every cuisine need this treatment?) To be honest though, part of my gripe with TB is purely aesthetic--as written below, the TGIF feel--but everything in it feels like its been designed to be reproduced; Via Tribunali never felt that way. And while there's nothing wrong with being able to enjoy things you like a little closer to home, there's also something to be said about going a little out of your way to get at something special.

                                            1. re: Nikiforos

                                              I think there might be a small difference between 4 locations and 4 million. The best chefs can manage excellent quality at a number of restaurants (Batali, JG, etc). Firing a pizza isn't rocket-science that requires such a chef to be around. If you hire correctly, train precisely, and focus on the small details then you can successfully run the same concept at a few local places without a noticeable degrade in quality.

                                              I do sort of agree that a little of the magic is lost when you start to chain though. Maybe its a false, romantic notion of something being available only in one place (and maybe because if I were to start two restaurants, I'd want them to be different) for me, but it is there.

                                              1. re: eternalX

                                                I cede too that it's a romantic and largely irrational notion regarding uniqueness, but I'm (thankfully) thoroughly susceptible to it.

                                                I also think a chef can run multiple operations beautifully (though I'm not 100% that JG is doing that, and I had a lousy time at Mozza in LA), but those guys aren't just repeating the same operation over and over again--I also don't think they are just make cosmetic changes ala Appleby's. VT, I don't see going nuts; in five years though, I bet, there'll be heaps of TBs in the Pacific Northwest, all largely indistinquishable from one another.

                                          2. re: Nikiforos

                                            Totally disagree. I like Tutta Bella and there is plenty of room in the city to support 4 locations. If they didn't have the Columbia City location, I don't know how often I'd get to the Wallingford location. There's nothing wrong with being able to enjoy the things you like, a little closer to home.

                                            1. re: Boychucker

                                              I also agree with the idea that just because you open multiple locations you are suddenly evil and bad. I think TB is decent and would go takeout every once in awhile if it were nearby....

                                      1. re: Nikiforos

                                        There's a newwr place in Belltown called Bambinos and while the atmosphere (mostly because of the restaurant design) is not to my preference, the pizza is very good. I was not overly impressed with tuttabella, mostly because of its TGIFridays interior design and poor salads. I do like Via Tribunali for crispy thin-crust. I like Piecoras for that NY-sloppy-Ray's-style (cheese only, please) pizza and I also like Pagliachi for everyday pizza by the slice. For whatever reason, their whole pizzas aren't as good as by the slice. Maybe it has something to do with the reheat.

                                        1. re: eternalX

                                          I disagree with their salads being poor. The Salerno is delicious - fennel, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, cucumbers in a really delicious dressing. It's terrific.

                                          1. re: Boychucker

                                            And served on a pizza crust - very nice

                                            >>>> Hey! Wait a minute!
                                            I just went to lok at the TB menu and the salad-on-a-izza crust seems to be gone.
                                            Too bad, it was a great idea. Maybe I just need to learn to read the menu, or maybe they will still do it on request...

                                        2. re: Nikiforos

                                          Now that Via is working on it's 3rd location, let's call it the Burger King of Neapolitan pizza. If only one could get the quality of service associated with "can I get fries with that" counter staff, perhaps Via could be viewed as something more than an overrated, pretentious, and B.S. filled experience. I'll take a Tutta Bella pie and tip double just not to have to suffer another moment with any Via staff.

                                          1. re: TruDiner

                                            Oy, I hear ya. I had always had very good service at the Cap Hill VT and never understood what people were complaining about. The new VT on Queen Anne, though.... yikes. I don't expect fawning service and bits of flair, but at least replenish my wine, check in on me after my food has arrived, and ask me if I'd like dessert before wordlessly plunking down the check. It was shockingly bad, and I now get what people were always talking about. I had just been very lucky before.

                                            1. re: qalaur

                                              Didn't know Cap Hill VT had bad rep for service. We always had good service there--though not of the caliber delivered by the automatons at BK. I'm not surprised that the new additions have problems though.

                                            2. re: TruDiner

                                              By all means I agree that anyone who feels that Via T is aloof or has bad service should just go to TB (or elsewhere). I will stick with ViaT.

                                              I have had a number of pizzas from each place for the purpose of comparison and although I like both I would give the edge to ViaT. The crusts of both pizzas are comparable but I think the flavors and composition of a few favorities such as napoletana, margerita and salsiccia overall to be more enjoyable at ViaT. I find the tomato sauce at ViaT to be significantly more enjoyable.

                                              Plus, I can't take the constant din of Tutta Bella and perhaps because of the larger space or ability to accomodate larger parties I find that it has taken me longer to be seated and served at Tutta Bella.

                                              I guess the fact that so many have expressed the same complaint about ViaT's service must mean something. However, I just don't get it. I have had very good service from both locations of ViaT (I have been to the QA location twice and CH once since the QA location opened) and even beyond that I have found a few of the waiters and waitresses to be outright likeable. I don't actually crave a close personal relationship with restaurant staff but I do want the service to be professional and genuinely welcoming. I can honestly say that I have never had a long wait for a table, nor gone long without food, wine or water at ViaT. Likewise the waiter or waitress has always checked in a few times a meal and has always asked before giving us the check. They frequently exchange a few pleasantries with us.

                                              In terms of the comment by another poster about wine service I personally find the practice of constantly filling a customer's glass to be obtrusive and presumptious. Often it seems to be at a pace calculated to get you to a second bottle ASAP. I would just as soon use my own hands to pour another glass when I feel ready for one.

                                              1. re: klsalas

                                                I agree on all counts. I thought the service, always, at CH was exactly as it should be: freindly, attentive, brisk, and they don't bug you.

                                                1. re: klsalas

                                                  Finally went back to VT on QA and had a much more experienced server and the hostess stomping about in clunky heels was gone. It was much more like what I had always experienced on Cap Hill (attentive but not hovering or invasive). Looks like my first trip was an aberration, thankfully!

                                                  1. re: klsalas

                                                    Agreed. This isn't a fine dining restaurant. It is a casual, pizza joint. I really like ViaT and hopefully I'll end up there tonight. Cheers!

                                                    1. re: eternalX

                                                      My wife and I will actually be there tonight as well! ... Stop by if you get there ... I am wearing an orange-plaid madras shirt.


                                                      1. re: klsalas

                                                        Didn't read this until today. We arrived at around 9:30 and went straight to the bar. Open seats and great pizza just steps from the block party.

                                              2. I've been reading these posts and keep hearing the term "flat" to describe a tomato sauce. Would somebody describe what they mean by "flat"? No salt? No herbs? What gives? Just curious. Thanks!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: passionfoodie

                                                  Neopolitan pizza doen't use pre-cooked or pre-canned sauce, just crushed/strained San Marzano tomatoes which cook in the oven @ > 900-degrees for a couple minutes. Pizza is often topped with olive oil, basil, and bufalo moz. BTW - the salt is in the crust.