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Orlando's Absolutely Best Pizza

rudykins Nov 18, 2007 08:58 AM

What is the very best pizza in town? I'm looking not only for old-fashioned NY pies but haerth-baked gourmet ones, indulgent Chicago-style ones, you name it.

The pizza doesn't have to be made in a pizza joint. It can be in a chophouse, a bistro, a trattoria ... wherever it's delicious.

This is for a magazine article--and yes, I'll do my best to mention chowhound.com. I always do.

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  1. katygirl RE: rudykins Nov 18, 2007 01:11 PM

    I'm all about Mellow Mushroom...They have the best crust dusted with parm! Who do you write for?

    1 Reply
    1. re: katygirl
      rudykins RE: katygirl Nov 19, 2007 04:16 AM

      I write the dining column for Orlando Magazine.

    2. b
      Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: rudykins Nov 18, 2007 01:38 PM

      I've had excellent NY-style pizza by the slice at the Italian Village and Del Dio's, both in Casselberry. Italian Village is on 436 and Red Bug Lake Road, and Del Dio's is only about five minutes away from them, on 436 near the 17-92 intersection near Books-A-Million and Office Max. Neither are fancy, but both are consistently fresh, crispy, cheesy, and oh so satisfying whenever I get them.

      Lazy Moon Pizzeria, across the street from UCF on University and Alafaya, has the LARGEST slices around. Arrange your forearms in a triangle in front of you, with your fingertips touching and your elbows on your stomach, and that's pretty close to a slice at Lazy Moon. They are also very thin and crispy, extremely fresh, and they have a variety of gourmet toppings at a perfect little "dive" location, ideal for students.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
        rudykins RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 19, 2007 04:17 AM

        Wow, I've never even heard of this one. Will definitely add it to my must-go list.

        1. re: rudykins
          summeranne RE: rudykins Nov 25, 2007 09:48 PM

          It's been 9 years since I moved from the area and I still miss Del Dio's for both their pizza and their cheese steak sub.`

          1. re: summeranne
            Jaime0428 RE: summeranne Jan 8, 2008 12:00 PM

            Best Philly and Pizza are in Avalon park in east orlando. I don't live there but it's worth the drive. Brionto's is the best Philly and Papa Gio's is the best pizza.

        2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
          Jaime0428 RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jan 8, 2008 12:01 PM

          The sauce at Lazy Moon is gross!

        3. b
          britterbeezer RE: rudykins Nov 19, 2007 08:01 AM

          current favorite is boardwalk (winter park and oviedo locations)...best sauce, slices don't go limp when you hold them!

          1. r
            rudykins RE: rudykins Nov 20, 2007 10:08 PM

            These are excellent options for NY pies. What about bistros and upscale restaurants with exceptional gourmet pies? Any good Chicago-style pies in town?

            6 Replies
            1. re: rudykins
              Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: rudykins Nov 20, 2007 10:19 PM

              Heh, there's Uno Chicago Grill (not even Pizzeria Uno anymore), which makes me race home every time I go there, in order to get to the bathroom in time. That's pretty much the only game in town for deep dish Chicago-style pizza.

              1. re: rudykins
                herbert1 RE: rudykins Nov 21, 2007 08:51 AM

                The current pizza at Primo (JW Marriott, Grand Lakes) is called The Fig and Pig, Black Mission figs, proschuito, riccotta. Hand tossed very thin crust, excellent pie. They only have one pizza on the menu, but they will work with you if you want to create something on your own.


                1. re: herbert1
                  jazzy77 RE: herbert1 Nov 21, 2007 03:31 PM

                  As for Chicago-style, the BJs down by the Mall at Millenia is much better than Uno's. The crust is light and, much like Lou, you don't have to go running for the restroom (or the cardiac ward) if you eat a slice.

                  For NY-style, Gino's downtown is my favorite- closest to NY-style that we've seen, and my husband grew up just outside NYC, and he's very discriminating. We also really like Pizzeria Valdiano (the quattro formagii is really nice).

                  Gourmet - I shed a tear the day that Luma took their confit duck pizza off the menu.

                  1. re: jazzy77
                    Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: jazzy77 Nov 21, 2007 04:08 PM

                    I walk by Gino's almost every day on my way to work, and it smells so perfect -- just like a pizzeria should. But I've only had it once, since I'm always in such a hurry going from place to place. Greasy, but solid NY-style slices.

                    So you're saying this new place BJs does Chicago style, but less greasy and dangerous? I'm gonna have to try it!

                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                      katygirl RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 21, 2007 05:39 PM

                      Ginos is really best after 2am when you're kicked out of the bars...Then it's really the best pizza you'll ever have...

                      1. re: katygirl
                        jazzy77 RE: katygirl Nov 22, 2007 08:15 AM

                        Yeah, my husband and I almost always hit Gino's after a long afternoon at Orlando Brewing. I also think that Gino's delivers there as well. While, I haven't actually seen the delivery guy show up in person, I have seen many, many people eating Gino's at OB.

                        As for BJs, their mini-pizzas (think Uno's small) have been half price in the bar area on Friday nights between 5 and 7. Their beer quality to good too, so, although I prefer local places, this is a much preferable way to spend Friday night rather than sitting on I-4 waiting to get on the 408 towards home.

              2. c
                coasterphil RE: rudykins Nov 26, 2007 01:40 PM

                If you are looking for true Chicago style head to Giordano's.

                2 Replies
                1. re: coasterphil
                  jdc111 RE: coasterphil Nov 26, 2007 03:10 PM

                  Giordano's is the real deal. Seek it out for some of the best damn Chicago pizza outside Chicago. I went to Giordano's right after being in Chicago and the pizza was just as good as in the Windy City. It better be, because Giordano's still has tons of locations there, as well. Check it out.

                  1. re: jdc111
                    AlyKen RE: jdc111 Dec 7, 2007 07:23 AM

                    That's my vote, too

                2. winechic RE: rudykins Nov 26, 2007 03:57 PM

                  I'll agree to the vote for Giordano's for best Chicago pie in town. Being from Chicago originally, I don't bother with Uno's. I just pulled the Giordano's website up for locations and there is an Altamonte Springs location "coming soon". YEA!!!

                  LAKE BUENA VISTA
                  (407) 239-8900
                  12151 S. APOPKA VINELAND RD.

                  (407) 397-0044
                  7866 W. IRLO BRONSON HWY.

                  I remember the Pizza and Pizzettes at Caffe Positano in Apopka, being good. They haven't been getting great feedback of late, though.

                  Caffe Positano
                  3030 E Semoran Blvd Ste 108
                  Apopka, FL 32703-5909
                  Phone: (407) 774-8080

                  Carmella's of Brooklyn in Longwood has a nice margherita pizza.

                  1819 W State Road 434
                  Longwood, FL 32750
                  (407) 331-6300

                  L'il Anthony's in the Colonial Marketplace, next to Too Jays is great and one of the few pizza's my New Yorker hubby will enjoy. Switched me over from being an Alphonso's (College Park) regular!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: winechic
                    flstnole RE: winechic Dec 2, 2007 03:03 PM

                    Carmella's of Brooklyn has a WONDERFUL Grandma's Pizza that tastes very similar to one you could get in Long Island. Also, I have to second Mellow Mushroom. I could live on their pretzels and esperanza dipping sauce. Brooklyn Pizza on Fairbanks (near I-4) in Winter Park is a top 5 also...great for a white pizza.

                  2. g
                    glowworm RE: rudykins Dec 4, 2007 11:59 AM

                    Mellow Mushroom and Boardwalk are my favorites. Both are top notch.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: glowworm
                      mountdorahound RE: glowworm Dec 6, 2007 11:35 AM

                      Yeah I like lil anthonys too. I also like the icream place across the parking lot!

                    2. c
                      cjr71244 RE: rudykins Dec 6, 2007 10:39 PM

                      I like giovannis white or fresca pizza the best

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cjr71244
                        Jaime0428 RE: cjr71244 Jan 8, 2008 11:58 AM

                        Giovannis is a repeat offender for FDA health inspections-- try not to eat there i do agree they have decent pizza and the best baked ziti but there kitchens are disgusting! Try Papa Gio's in Avalon Park

                      2. m
                        mellymel75 RE: rudykins Jan 8, 2008 09:41 AM

                        I LOVE La Forchetta in Kissimmee. Real Italian pizza with a thin crust. And the owner, Maria, is the sweetest!

                        1. j
                          Jaime0428 RE: rudykins Jan 8, 2008 11:57 AM

                          I'm from NY and LOVE pizza-- the best is Papa Gio's in Avalon Park if you don't live there it's worth the drive.

                          1. Aochoa RE: rudykins Sep 9, 2009 12:27 PM

                            The best real pizza not NY pizza in orlando is hands down terra mia pizzeria in lake mary. its skinny handmade pizza just like in italy. the ingredients are great and the staff is friendly. i wish there was one downtown!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Aochoa
                              mcanni RE: Aochoa Sep 10, 2009 11:38 AM

                              Terra mia is very good for a personal pie.

                              Regular size try Anthony's Coal Fired on Sand Lake. Taste like the famous places from New Haven.

                              Best specialty is the Grandma's at Carmela's of Brooklyn .

                              1. re: mcanni
                                Rona Gindin RE: mcanni Sep 10, 2009 12:25 PM

                                What do you folks think about Brick & Fire? I just filmed my TV show there but I don't recall ever seeing it mentioned on this board.

                                1. re: Rona Gindin
                                  pdpredtide RE: Rona Gindin Sep 10, 2009 08:29 PM

                                  i love pizza but so far the best ive had is at Valdiano's ne'xt to Winter Park regal,
                                  Ill have to try out anthony's and brick and fire! thanks rona and mcanni!

                                  1. re: pdpredtide
                                    jason32835 RE: pdpredtide Sep 11, 2009 07:52 AM

                                    I love the pizza from Anthony's in Thornton Park. Sit outside and people watch.

                                    BUT, the best pizza in Orlando is actually Palace Pizza in Lakeland. Yes, I know, that is a pretty far to go for pizza, but it is well worth it. Family run by Italian imports, this place is soo good. Fresh ingredients. Nice crispy thin crust and piled with goodness. Try the side salad.. it is covered with marinated veggies and homemade dressing.


                                    1. re: jason32835
                                      watch me eat RE: jason32835 Jan 10, 2010 01:22 PM

                                      Got to disagree on Palace Pizza. The pizza I got there was really heavy handed on everything. The crust was way too thick for what was advertised as a NY pizza, and there was so much cheese and sauce on the pie that by the time I got to my second slice, the crust was a soggy mess. A Lakeland resident told me they their pizza by the slice is always really good. There wasn't any left on the night I visited, but one would think a good pizza should carry over if it was by the slice or by the whole pie.

                            2. watch me eat RE: rudykins Sep 11, 2009 09:57 AM

                              A pretty new one that I found that has really good pies is Riverwalk Pizza in Downtown Sanford. It's in the marina, and is a little take out type place, but I was impressed with their pizza.

                              Someone else mentioned it, but I also like the pizza from Caffe Postiano in Lake Mary a whole lot.

                              I also agree that Carmela's has really good pizza, if you're lucky. I've had some of the best pizzas in Orlando here, but I've also had some of the worst pizzas here. And never order anything other than pizza. Any pasta dish I've had is horrible. Sbarro makes good pizza, but apparently they can't make good pasta or sandwiches at their "upscale" restaurant
                              Lazy Moon definitely has the competition beat out for the largest and cheapest pizza around, and it's not horrible either. I just don't like how the cheese is never melted enough on their pizza.

                              For Chicago style, go with Giordano's.

                              I just don't get the obsession that people have with Mellow Mushroom. I hear over and over again that it's the best pizza around, but after several times of eating there, the pizzas do absolutely nothing for me. They taste like low quality chain pizzas to me. Just slightly above a pizza hut or papa johns in my opinion.

                              And that's my opinion of the best pizza around. In case you're interested, I have pictures of the mentioned pizzas up on my blog:

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: watch me eat
                                mcanni RE: watch me eat Sep 11, 2009 03:03 PM

                                I like your blog - keep it up !

                              2. m
                                melpadilla RE: rudykins Sep 18, 2009 08:48 AM

                                I love, love, love Anthony's in Casselberry (Publix Plaza). I've been eating there for over 15 years and in my opinion is still the best pizza around. All their other food is great as well. Yummy canoli's!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: melpadilla
                                  watch me eat RE: melpadilla Sep 19, 2009 09:35 PM

                                  I really should give this place a try again, but I have bad memories of Anthony's from the days when smoking was allowed in restaurants. I don't remember much about the pizza, but I do remember the place smelled horribly like an ash tray and all the employees would constantly go to the "smoking section" as often as possible. Major turn-off for an eating environment for me.

                                  There are only a few places that stick out in my mind back from the days when smoking was allowed in restaurants that I still hesitate to return too, but Anthony's is one of them. I know things have changed now though, so maybe one day I'll return.

                                  1. re: watch me eat
                                    melpadilla RE: watch me eat Sep 21, 2009 01:09 PM

                                    No, its nothing like that at all anymore. They're actually going to be moving to a new space in the same plaza. The new location will be right next to the Blockbuster.

                                    1. re: melpadilla
                                      watch me eat RE: melpadilla Nov 1, 2009 06:09 PM

                                      I gave Anthony's another try a few nights ago. They definitely do have some really good pizza! I found the sauce to be a little bland, but otherwise it was really good!

                                      1. re: watch me eat
                                        melpadilla RE: watch me eat Nov 2, 2009 08:21 AM

                                        Great, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I actually love their sauce, but everyone's taste buds are different. The white pizza is wonderful. I saw over the weekend they moved to their new location, is that where you dined?

                                        1. re: melpadilla
                                          watch me eat RE: melpadilla Nov 2, 2009 08:11 PM

                                          I was there on Friday night and they were still in their old location.

                                          1. re: watch me eat
                                            watch me eat RE: watch me eat Nov 10, 2009 07:43 PM

                                            My thoughts on Anthony's:

                                            Anthony's Pizza & Restaurant
                                            3385 S US Highway 17/92, Casselberry, FL 32707

                                2. e
                                  enigma516 RE: rudykins Sep 25, 2009 02:08 PM

                                  Bella Roma in St. Cloud. If you're from up north and really know pizza, you'll love this place. We eat there at least twice a week. The whole family can eat and practically have their fill for about $23 which is what we pay for 2 18" pies.

                                  192 and Narcossee, try it if you're in the area.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: enigma516
                                    mcanni RE: enigma516 Dec 15, 2009 07:27 AM

                                    I stopped there a few days ago.

                                    Place was a pigs sty. Pizza on counter looked days old. Pizza "maker " looked like he could not boil water. Whole place lookes like it should be closed by the Dof H.

                                    I passed .

                                    Great billboard advertising the place though.

                                    This does not mean the pizza is not acceptable ,but ......

                                  2. dawnviola RE: rudykins Nov 2, 2009 07:38 PM

                                    I have yet to find the "best" pizza in Orlando. If you uncover something, let us know where/when your article is published :-)

                                    1. c
                                      cher7 RE: rudykins Nov 7, 2009 01:07 PM

                                      Park Avenue PIzzeria has the BEST crust; toppings are great too! It's just off Park Ave. on Lyman. We regularly order either pizza or calzone and are never disappointed. Try the buffalo chicken pizza...we've taken it to potlucks and people love it! The one entree I've tried - penne with broccoli & mushrooms in a garlic sauce - has also been deliciouso. Seriously, this place is the best!

                                      Park Avenue Pizzeria
                                      119 E Lyman Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: cher7
                                        mountdorahound RE: cher7 Nov 10, 2009 11:12 AM

                                        Anthony's is up and down depending on the location. I love the one in casselberry but the one here in Mount Dora Sucks! It made me wonder if there were two different Anthony's! Then there is anthony's coal fired from ft lauderdale,, WAY overrated!!!
                                        My favorite is Lil anthonys at colonial plaza to which I will second from above!

                                        1. re: mountdorahound
                                          melpadilla RE: mountdorahound Nov 11, 2009 12:22 PM

                                          All the Anthony's around town are owned by different people and not affilated with each other. It gets confusing.

                                      2. k
                                        kinglouix RE: rudykins Nov 11, 2009 01:49 AM

                                        This board is an a complete indication of what any New Yorker would agree 100%: the pizza in Orlando is total crap. I can't speak for Giordiano's which is decent Chicago pizza but for NY pizza Orlando has no options. Anthonys is garbage, NY pizza is a minimum 18 inches and thin, Anthony's is 16 inches and complete cardboard. The only Pizza I have had that remotely resembles the NY Pizza experience is Al's in Kissimmee which is just off the John Young Parkway a half mile south of Vine. However, the sauce is battery acid which is commonplace down here. The food in general in Orlando sucks outloud and the Pizza is no exception. I"ve had some of the worst pizza I've ever tasted down in Orlando.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: kinglouix
                                          pdpredtide RE: kinglouix Nov 11, 2009 04:01 AM

                                          have you tried valdianos?

                                          1. re: pdpredtide
                                            kinglouix RE: pdpredtide Nov 21, 2009 07:48 AM

                                            IF it is the place in Winter Park villiage, it's not bad but nothing to go out of the way for. Anthony's, Lil Anthony's and Anthony's in Thornton park are all the same family and again the crust is cardboard and the sauce is acid. It is better than Pizza Hut and Papa John's but no New Yorker would ever drive around the block to seek it out. The closest thing within 1oo miles to real New York Pizza is Bazzaro's in Melbourne which is worth the trip. Check my spelling but those who have been no what I'm talking about and know the difference between it and the garbage served in the Orlando area.

                                            1. re: kinglouix
                                              cavandre RE: kinglouix Nov 21, 2009 08:42 AM

                                              As an ex-NYer now living in Melbourne, I have to chime in on kinglouix's mention of Bizzarro's NY Pizza (it's beachside at the junction of A1A & Rt. 192). It is a very good NYC style of pie, but I don't think that it's still the best in Brevard County. My vote on that goes to Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta in the Rockledge/Vierra area.


                                          2. re: kinglouix
                                            melpadilla RE: kinglouix Nov 11, 2009 12:21 PM

                                            Waa Waa Waa

                                            1. re: kinglouix
                                              zambonicus RE: kinglouix Nov 12, 2009 08:17 PM

                                              kinglouix is mostly right. If you want a real cheese slice, try Brooklyn Pizza on I-drive at the slingshot near WetnWild or Albertini's in Altamonte on 436 @Wekiva Parkway. If you want a New York experience with fantastic pies of all types, try Lil Anthony's in Minneola on 27 a few miles north of 50!

                                              Lil Anthony's
                                              2612 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

                                            2. b
                                              brinapea RE: rudykins Jun 9, 2011 07:22 AM

                                              The Pizza Hub in Winter Haven, Florida **Best Chicago Deep dish pizza in central Florida. They also have other Chicago fare that is out of this world - Italian Beefs, Dogs, Maxwell Street Polish!!!

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