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Pizza a Metro (PHX)

We tried Pizza a Metro last night on our way to First Friday downtown and had a wonderful meal. Their pizza (eggplant & mozarella) and fresh bread from the wood oven (pane caldo - served with a delicious semi-carmelized onion/eggplant/olive tempenade) were really delicious.

The show stealer, though, was the gnocchi. They were the lightest we've ever had, and were served in a fresh tomato sauce with basil and draped with melted mozarella. My husband proclaimed that these were the lightest gnocchi he's had in 20 years in Phoenix. As an Italian from New York, that statement holds some weight. He can't have a meal without meat, so he also requested grilled sausage on the side which, while not on the menu, the kitchen had no problem accomodating. It was delicious as well, and I was happy to share with him.

We are anxious to go back and try the other fresh pastas (cheese ravioli, lasagna, cannelloni) as well as other pasta dishes from the longer list of 'standard' pastas (which do appear to be boxed pasta - not that that's a bad thing). There are several chicken dishes on the menu as "secondi".

We had a small Siciliana pizza with tomato sauce, eggplant and mozarella. Their tomato sauce was light, fresh and delicious and I was happily surprised to see pepper in it. I enjoyed watching the pizza cook in the wood burning oven - it's a small place (only 20 chairs), so many seats have that view. The pizza was really delicious. I have to mention how beautiful the meter long pizzas were! I've never seen a pizza that size/shape. They were draping one with prosciutto when we walked in, and it was truly a thing of beauty! When the rightful owners of that pizza arrived for pick-up, they stopped right there and enjoyed a piece before taking it home. The atmosphere in this small restaurant was really nice as frequent customers stopped in for things to go, exchanging handshakes and hugs aplenty with the gracious owner.

What a great find! Yet another example of really great chow in Phoenix can be found in a strip-mall. Even (or especially?) the dingy ones!

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  1. Sounds delicious! In case anyone's wondering, here's place info. That part of town is definitely underserved by us hounds.

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    Pizza A Metro
    2336 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015

    1. i totally agree, mesachow. i love this place. i'd heard about it from another 'hound and have been visiting. alot ;) their ravioli is fantastic. ive gotten the pink sauce both times, and it was stellar. the carbonara was great, the calamari delicious. i hope this adorable little spot is a sign of good things to come in a neighborhood that could use some love.

      1 Reply
      1. re: winedubar

        Tried the place for lunch last week and then promptly went back just a few days later for dinner. I think this is the best of this style Italian in the city. And I couldn't agree more on the gnocchi--best I have ever had. The owner said he is opening a place in Scottsdale but is planning to keep this location open.

      2. I can't even begin to say how much I like this place. The owner is downright charming, especially because he's so genuine, he's not going over the top to try and charm you. I have loved everything I've tried thus far. The cheese ravioli manages to stay fresh and light, even with white sauce. The carbonara is addictive. I am a true red sauce fan in a divided household and this is the first time white sauce has made me cross to the other side. The bolognese is hearty and full of flavor. The beef carpaccio appetizer is a steal at that price and gloriously covered in lemon, making it super bright. Just GO! The man makes tiramisu and cannoli feel more like a feather than a brick--airy and delicious.

        1. thanks to this thread I sent hubby there last Friday since he'd be in PHX for lunch and had asked me to check on here for where he should go, LOL. He loved it!

          8 Replies
          1. re: micapu

            I tried this place a couple of weeks ago and hate to say this but definiely not impressed with the pizza. I have had much better brick oven pizza; bianco's, cibo... I will say the lasagna was very good. Light, fluffy and just great.

            1. re: drewb123

              hi there - i just saw this comment. i don't know if that is a fair characterization, drewb. i don't think pizza a metro is trying to be bianco's, or even cibo. its just trying to be an affordable, comfortable, neighborhood spot.

              i think if you're really hoping every pizza place is pizzeria bianco you're going to have alot of disappointing pizza nights ;)

              1. re: winedubar

                Agree on all points.

                Pizza a Metro doesn't aspire to occupy the same niche as Pizzeria Bianco, so attempting to compare the two is unwarranted and perhaps even a bit unfair.

                But if comparisons are to be made, I would note that I've never worried about how long I would have to wait for a table at PaM and that PaM takes call-in orders. ;-)

                1. re: winedubar

                  I know I know it's just my honest opinion. I expected the taste to be a bit better.

                  I don't know maybe I'm strange, sorry to have written that.

                  I prefer the cibo style and taste as well as NYPD more than a metro. It was a very nice place though just wouldn't crave to go back not my thing.

                  1. re: winedubar

                    Seems to me that the Pizza a Metro marketing gimmick is not the reason to go. Maybe it brings in a lot of revenue, but, I wouldn't order pizza, based on the reviews. It wouldn't be the first time a restaurant with good food made a bad marketing decision.

                    1. re: johnseberg

                      i don't think its a marketing gimmick, tho. maurizio is pretty darn proud of the pizza...and i liked it too. is it pizzeria bianco? no. but its pretty darn tasty. give 'em a try - i don't think anything on the menu, pizza included, clears the 20 dollar mark, so its definitely wallet friendly

                      1. re: winedubar

                        We went for lunch yesterday and really enjoyed the food and staff. Shared a salad and loved the mozzarella. Had the very tasty bread strips and onion/eggplant/capers spread too. The food had such a fresh taste - quality. Pizza light and crispy and veggie toppings. Told them we want them to open by OUR house! All the main plates were under $10.

                      2. re: johnseberg

                        I must confess that the pizza-by-the-meter "gimmick" escaped my notice until the end of my second visit to the restaurant, when I saw a couple of the meter-long pies being pulled out of the oven and boxed up for delivery. Consequently, in spite of the restaurant's name, I have never thought of Pizza a Metro simply as "the place with the long pizzas".

                        So, I guess I agree. As a gimmick, the meter-long pizza failed miserably in reaching me. Fortunately, Pizza a Metro, with a committed owner, a welcoming vibe, and good (if not gourmet) food, has more going for it than a gimmick or a clever name.

                2. Bf and I tried this place a couple of weeks ago for dinner. As we were pulling up we weren't sure if we had the correct address as it was in a pretty scary part of town especially at night. It is in a small strip center next to a Circle K and there were people hanging around. We braved it and walked in and were pleasantly surprised to see a really nice restaurant. Right as you walk in you immediately see a huge pizza oven and on the left wall there was a huge wall mural of the owner's home town in Italy. We started with a Caprese salad ($6.95) fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil) and it was very good. The mozzarella was outstanding and the ingredients were very fresh. It was served with the oil and vinegar on the side. Then the owner brought a plate of fresh hot bread, but it wasn't typical bread, it was like a pizza crust cut into strips...it was so good. You could taste that it was freshly made in the oven. We also ordered the Regular sized Frescolina fresh pizza ($14.95, approx 14 inches in diameter) which was tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula. It was very good as well, a little on the salty side which I am assuming was the prosciutto. The only disappointment with the pizza was the arugula. It appeared to be the Spring Mix salad that you can purchase at Costco. It wasn't bad, I was just expecting arugula. Bf ordered the Lasagna ($8.95) which was fantastic. The only thing was that it was a little salty. But it was definitely homemade and delish! As we finished up dinner, we saw them making the longest pizza I've ever seen. We asked the owner and he said that it is the "Metro" size which is a meter long (39 inches). It was huge. Besides the dinner being a little salty, it was a great neighborhood find, a great value, and we will definitely try it again.

                  1. This place is not close to me but is not terribly far either. Do you think it's worth the drive from Arcadia? Do they have a white pizza?

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: azhotdish

                      They don't have one on the menu, but I'm sure the owner will be more than happy to make one for you. He was very accommodating on our visit.

                      1. re: azhotdish

                        No, I don't think it's worth the drive from Arcadia.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Would you give the nod to La Grande Orange in terms of quality? In this neighborhood, I still think it's the best pizza.

                          1. re: azhotdish

                            LGO is very good; I esp. like the roasted corn.

                            Up in NE Phoenix and Arcadia, and you can call me crazy, but I also like Pie Zanos.

                              1. re: drewb123

                                LGO is good, but it's not worth a drive TO Arcadia from other parts of town, either. As for Pie Zano's, I'm about a mile NE of the place and drive past it at least twice a day. Eh. How good can pizza cooked on a Burger King-like conveyor belt be? In fairness, it fails the optimal pizza diameter test (the range is about 12 to 18 inches, give or take) -- it's not really a pizza AFAIAC. It's a snack, not far removed from Ragu and mozz on a toasted English muffin.

                                1. re: misohungrychewlow

                                  Is this restaurant still getting good chowhound reviews in 2009?

                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                    I haven't read anything to the contrary. I really enjoy the pizzas @PAM/Amarone, but If you're just looking for some good pizza one night, Humble Pie is far more convenient for where you're staying (Chaparrel Suites, right?).

                                    1. re: crsin

                                      Place Link:

                                      -----
                                      Humble Pie
                                      6149 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250

                                      1. re: crsin

                                        sure sounded like alot of hooplah and hours of waiting for a table for a pizza.. Will look at Humble pie .

                                        Pizza Picazzo's was recommended highly in Sedona and they too have a location in Scottsdale. Is the Humble pie a better choice to Picazzo's for quality and interesting topping choices?

                                        1. re: palmtree38

                                          Pizza Picazzo is okay, but I wouldn't seek it out. They do have more pizzas to choose from than HP but, in my opinion, the crust at HP is *significantly* better than Picazzo's. The cheese and toppings at HP are exceptionally fresh and thoughtfully put together, and I feel a bit more distinctive than Picazzo's.

                                          That said, HP clearly focuses on pizza. They have a few salad choices (I've had the veggie and chopped, both are very good), a couple of sandwiches, one or two pastas, etc. Whereas a place like Pizza a metro has fewer pizza choices, and a pasta-heavy menu. Just depends on what you prefer, and how far you're willing to travel.

                                          On the topic of pizza, I'd be remiss for not at least pointing out Pizzeria Bianco. I know you've read the board, so I'm sure you're more than aware of the place, it's highly touted pizzas, and its infamous wait. This is probably not feasible since I know you will have your kids along, but if they have any interest in checking out the Science Center for the afternoon or something along those lines, it's worth thinking about.

                                          1. re: crsin

                                            so Pizzeria Bianco is the king of pizza?

                                            I just hate the pizza pizza/comino's chains slapped together pizza

                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                              I wouldn't waste time on Pizza Picazzo in Phoenix. There are too many other good options. Obviously Bianco but the logistical difficulties can be overwhelming (especially in the summer). HP is quite good and a good back-up. Pizza a Metro is also quite good.

                                              1. re: avandelay

                                                Humble pie looks fantastic and reasonable. and I couldnt help but notice 3-6 1/2 price wine/beer and cocktails for happy hour.. SWEET..

                                                WE are looking at going to the Science Centre one day so if in this area the Bianco.. IS this place always have huge lineups? 2-3 hours with kids wont work..

                                                1. re: palmtree38

                                                  Pretty much, unless going the route of lining up before opening, in which case your wait would be an hour and half more-or-less, if you happen to get first seating. Like I said, it'd probably be quite difficult with the kids along, unless you or your SO were willing to leave the science center early, and go wait in line (in 110 degree heat, mind you) while the rest stayed at the science center until closing. I knew it was a but ridiculous to even mention, but thought I'd bring it up in case you were really dedicated...

                                                  1. re: crsin

                                                    Another strategy would be to the SO wait in Bar Bianco and call them on the cell phone when the table gets close.

                                                1. re: drewb123

                                                  Is this just a trendy thing to do or is this pizza the best thing ever??.. Heck people wait that long for concert tickets cant imagine waiting that long for a pizza. Reading on Yelp there was some complaints and politics of the waiting proces and losing spots in line. Seems like alot of drama.. :O)

                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                    I don't think there are any politics unless initiated by the customer. Customers who are pleasant wait under the same rules as everyone else. Customers who are belligerent go off and rant about it anywhere they can.

                                                    Nevertheless, I think it would be a bad idea to try to visit Pizzeria Bianco with pre-school children. The wait is long, and the space inside is too cramped for high chairs. A trip to PB for a well-behaved child with a sophisticated palate might make a a great 10th birthday present, but trying to bring very young children just seems like asking for trouble.

                                                    If you'll have the kids with you, go to Humble Pie, Cibo, La Grande Orange, or the Parlor. Save Pizzeria Bianco for a date night.

                                                    1. re: silverbear

                                                      Thankyou! Humble pie it will be! and perfect as it is close by.

                            1. We too love this place...and we regularly drive from 67th Ave and Jomax to get there. This is by far the best sausage pizza I have ever had, and my snobby Italian brother in law agrees. All of the pasta dishes we have had were delicious as are the appetizers.
                              It is in a funky part of town though.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: noodletim

                                What is a funky part of town though mean?? Is this a good thing or bad?

                                1. re: palmtree38

                                  I think, funky is meant to mean bad, in this case. An unfortunate remark, IMO, but, I won't argue the point. I'm more of a city person, so, I wouldn't have a problem going to Pizza A Metro, but, I would probably be a little more consious of my surroundings, especially at night. The sister restaurant, Amarone, is in Scottsdale. When I went to Amarone, I remember thinking I might better like a more down to earth atmosphere that might exist at Pizza A Metro.

                                  -----
                                  Amarone Ristorante Italiano
                                  9011 E Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85258

                                  1. re: johnseberg

                                    Ok I thought you were referring to the Humble Pie being in a funky part of town. As this is where we are going dine for a casual pizza meal.

                                    I didnt think their was too many funky places in scottsdale area.

                                    1. re: palmtree38

                                      I think the term "funky part of town" is open to interpretation. I moved from San Francisco to downtown Phoenix about 10 years ago and I think that Humble Pie is in a pretty funky area of town. Lapdogs, plastic surgery, and and trendy handbags are all things that I can find no explanation for.

                                      1. re: fledflew

                                        haha okey.. you mean some people have too much money and time on their hands lol.. Nice area but funky and maybe a bit too upity for the average down to earth individual...