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Pizza Bianco. Worth it?

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We are heading down to the Four Seasons Scottsdale from July 7-10. Seems like a great opportunity to hit a few of the places highly touted by the Chowhounds.

Plan on going to Binkley's night one. Have never dined there before. Plan on one of the tasting menus. I'm very excited about this one.

Bianco seems like another "must-do" while in the Valley of the Sun. I enjoy pizza, but the stories about waiting 2+ hours for a table make me weary. I can't honestly imagine waiting 2-hours for anything. That said, I'm always open-minded in trying to find memorable cuisine. One question I have is, what is a two-hour wait like during the summer heat? Seems like a hard-core group of people who brave the elements to get at this guy's pizza. Are there any tricks to minimizing the wait? Going early? Going late? Selling my first born? just kidding.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. BTW, doing a search yields a difficult to decipher litany of links in case that was your next question to me.

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  1. Here is a similar thread to what you are asking:
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/96261

    It's outstanding pizza, but the one time we went, we got a part of 9 together so we could take advantage of their reservations for parties of 6-10 people. We had a 20 min wait from the time we let them know we had arrived. They only take a few each night, though. If you don't want to wait it out, lots of people like Cibo which isn't too far from PB and has some good pies. Humble Pie in Scottsdale is really good and has some pies very similar to PB's.

    Also, I think someone mentioned that Binkley's will be closed during July, so you might want to call and double-check that they'll be open.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Firenza00

      Place links.

      -----
      Cibo
      603 N. 5th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 850103

      Humble Pie
      6149 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250

      1. re: Firenza00

        Just checked. You're right about Binkley's being closed in July. Back to the drawing board. I've been thinking about Sassi and Mosaic. Does anyone have any preference between those two places?

        1. re: climberdoc

          Mosaic is far superior to Sassi... Mosaic is more like Binkley's. Chef is extremely talented. Restaurant is beautiful, too. And it's 1 block from your resort.

          Bianco's is special. If you're not going on a weekend night, or a night with a sports event going on downtown, you might not have to wait that long if you go early.

          1. re: girlgourmet

            FYI, Wade Moises has left Sassi....
            He is opening a new Pasta Bar in central PHX......

        2. re: Firenza00

          Since I tend not to seek out pizza in general, I can sum it up like this. I'm not looking for a pizza. I'm seeking THE pizza. My perception from reading CH reviews and last month's issue of Wine Spectator is that Bianco could qualify for the latter. I appreciate the recs for alternatives though.

      2. Re: Bianco.

        Is it worth it? That's so hard to say. It usually boils down to some complicated calculus equation of how much you like pizza versus how much you value your free time.

        That being said, if you decide to go, one way to mitigate the boredom (and heat) of waiting is to put your name down, tell the restaurant your going for a long walk, then head over to the AMC theater in the Arizona Center and catch "Wanted". When the movie is over, your table at Pizzeria Bianco will more than likely be ready.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          That's amazing. You can actually see a movie in the time it takes to get seated at Bianco. I'm going through that complicated calculus in my mind as we speak. A couple of Chowhounds have recommended getting there early. What time is considered early?

          I have also read a good number of good reviews for Marcellino. We love homemade pasta and Italian wines. Anyone had recent experience there?

          My hope is to go somewhere "special" on the first night. Binkley's fit that bill but no dice on our dates. So Mosaic and Marcellino are my current contenders. Second night hope to either brave the heat or see a movie and experience the Bianco craze. Third night leave open. May just want something light. I've had a couple good experiences at Zinc Bistro on nights when I was hoping not to overdo it.

          Thanks for the advice.

          1. re: climberdoc

            With respect to posts about Bianco, I've always translated "early" as meaning "no later than 5:30". ;-)

            In previous posts (many of which I'm sure you read), people note that a line can start to form as early as 4:00, and showing up at 6:00 or later often means a multi-hour wait.

            1. re: climberdoc

              Early on Friday/Saturday means no later than 3:00 ... you'll most likely be first in line.

              Early on weekdays (Tue-Thu) means probably 3:30 ... again, you'll be first in line.

              1. re: climberdoc

                Marcellino's is well worth the evening. Unfortunately, they are about to close. Should have the exact dates, but the Barolo from last week's visit has erased them.

                Sima and Marcellino head to IT during the Summer. First, they lead a trip with foodies/winos, then they visit family for about a month and a half.

                Bianco IS worth a wait, and I do not wait for much. Whether it's worth THAT wait, is up to you. We've always had enough for a reservation, but it was so good, that I would wait. It's kinda' like saying, "OK, I love Ch. Latour, and this IS the '70, but is it worth the price?" Like the Latour, you can tell the stories for years, but have to make the final decision.

                Whatever you decide, please post your reflections,

                Hunt

            2. Mosics is wonderful. I did like it here better than Sassi.

              I personally love PB but hate the wait. You might want to try Grazie's Pizza and Wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale. The longest I've ever had to wait was 20 minutes (if that) and they are tiny like PB. Service is great and food is wonderful. The owner serves the wine and walks around to make sure you are doing okay. The pizza is wonderful and very similar to PB. Very fresh and tasty. The salads are great to! For my fiance and I we always share a salad since they are so big, and we each get a pizza (I hate so share it because it's so good), plus I like leftovers which are only a few pieces. I have yet to try the dessert but I'm hoping to save room for it on our next visit. This is one of our favorite places to go (even went there on Valentine's Day - couldn't see spending $200 for a fixed menu and being rushed out of a place). http://grazie.us/

              Another great restaurant is Tarbell's on 32nd Street & Camelback. He changes the menu each season and just does a great job with it.

              Malee's On Main in Old Town Scottsdale is also very good Thai food. The Coco Chili Fish is to die for! www.maleesthaibistro.com/

              Coup des Tarts in Phoenix is another wonderful idea. It is a BYOB but boy is it great. Situated in a tiny house the entire dinning experiance is never a dissapointment. It is certainly worth the drive from your resort. http://www.nicetartes.com/

              House of Tricks located in Tempe is another with a great menu and great charm. Also loacated in a restored house it's hidden from the road in which it sits. I've eaten there a few times and the menu is very different (quail, etc) but was very good. http://www.houseoftricks.com/

              Cartwrights located in Cave Creek is also very good. They have a Southwestern menu and a great looking restaurant. http://www.azeats.com/cartwrights/ind...

              Hope this helps when coming to the Valley of the Sun!

              Enjoy!

              1. Doc,

                First I will say if you truly appreciate hand-crafted artisan Pizza, I have never had better and to me it is worth the effort (although I wish they would just take reservations and make the effort easier).

                During the summer heat, I don't like the method of going down before they open and waiting in line to get in on the first seating. Although I was down in the area yesterday and saw they have installed a covering so at least you wait in the shade, even then the heat can be unbearable. If they had someone taking names before they opened, then that wouldn't be so bad, but they don't and someone from your party has to stand in line and wait. After they open though, you can give them your name and get an estimate on when your table will be ready. In the immediate area are four good options to pass the time (I would suggest though getting back a little early though, don't want to miss your chance). There is a British Pub right across the driveway, there is a Tea Room next to the Pub and then there is Bar Bianco, which has a nice selection of wines, beers and munchies. I typically will go to Bar Bianco (another perk of Bar Bianco is I think they will come in there when tables are being called). Also in addition to these three hangouts, you are only a five minute walk from the Arizona Science Museum, which is a cool (literally and figuratively) hands on Science Museum.

                Some people argue, "It's just Pizza", but to me that is like saying my favorite Sushi Bar "Is just fish". It is just Pizza, but in my opinion and a lot of others, it is the best Pizza I have ever had.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Billy Bob

                  i'm going there with my gf on thursday (we're from L.A.). I wish I would've put out a feeler here to anyone who wanted to go in on a reservation.
                  It's probably too late to get a reservation by now.

                2. Is it worth it? Hmmm...as others have said, it kind of depends on how you feel about pizza, what you think makes a pizza the perfect one for you, and how long you're willing to wait to find out if Bianco's is that perfect one.

                  Personally, although Bianco's is truly excellent, the crust is a little thinner than my ideal; therefore I'm usually not willing to wait hours for it (unless I have friends/family in from out of town who want to experience it).

                  On the other hand, I think I WOULD be willing to wait hours for Bianco's sausage sandwich at Pane Bianco. Luckily I don't have to...well, unless you count waiting for the right day, since it's a "market sandwich" and not on the regular menu. Honestly, pretty much every sandwich that comes out of that place is STELLAR and you don't have to wait hours and hours! So my advice is whether or not you get Bianco's pizza, be sure to make time to go to Pane for lunch one of the days you're in town. And if you're lucky, maybe you'll be there on sausage sandwich day!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Bax

                    I rec Bianco highly. I too ma not a die hard pizza person but always love the bianco experience. It is too bad binkleys will be closed.

                    I have not been to Mosaic but have been to Sassi which I found horrible.

                    I have heard very good things about kai at the Sheraton you can read reviews on this board as well.

                    1. re: drewb123

                      I think it is worth it, my husband does not.

                      We've been twice - once we volunteered to sit at the bar, and were fetched from the bar next door in 45 minutes.

                      Another time we got there at 4, sort of got to know the others who also got there at that time (many of them regulars), they told us to go to the bar next door and come back shortly before 5 and we could rightfully take our place in line which they would hold for us (4th and they did).

                      Another time we went and were told 3 hours - we left.

                      You NEVER have to stand outside in the heat - the bar right next door has great wine, appetizers, even magazines to read!

                      1. re: Eujeanie

                        Agree that Bar Bianco is a welcome reprieve from the heat. Note: it opens at 4, so if you aim for the 3:00 arrival, it can be a long hour out in the heat. What makes the wait bearable is that every time we've gone there, we've made 'friends' with others in line and enjoyed some really interesting conversations with locals and visitors alike.

                        1. re: MesaChow

                          Its been about a year since we visited but the wait is no problem, we just sit at the Bar next door and have some wine, olives, cheese ... no problem! Obviously the food is some of the best the valley has to offer. People at Bar, Pizzeria (and Pane Bianco for that matter) are all fun - customers and staff alike!

                          LOL just remembered one night we double dated to a baseball game, started at the wine place - baseball game started and the hubbies went in, we stayed behind and went to the pizzeria instead. :-) They met us after the game! I think we were there for 4 hours between the bar and the pizzeria (and back to the bar). It was a blast!

                      2. re: drewb123

                        Kai is one of my favorites. Probably my "go to" special occasion place for when I'm in the Valley.

                        Sounds like Sassi is out.

                    2. Thanks for all the great responses.

                      I think we'll give Bianco a go on Tuesday. I figure we'll get there around 4. Don't think I want to wait more than an hour in the heat. Once it's possible we'll have a glass of wine (or 3) in the bar.

                      Since I want to maximize my chance of success after this wait, I was hoping some of the Chowhounds could share what pizzas they typically order. Is there a "must-try" pizza there?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: climberdoc

                        The Wiseguy is awesome if you're a meat-lover

                        1. re: nyomi

                          There was a recent thread on 3 must order Pizzeria Bianco pizzas - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/527807
                          There are many opinions on this--mine is to go starving and order everything on the menu!
                          And Marcellino's is fabulous. I went a couple of weeks ago and it was simply amazing. Go there if they have not yet departed to Italy...good luck and good eating!

                        2. re: climberdoc

                          My favorite was the Rosa (red onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary, pistachios), but my husband's favorite, the Wiseguy, was a close second (roasted onions, smoked mozzarella, fennel sausage).

                          We moved to Phoenix in February, and went to PB for the first time last month. I loved the whole 'experience'. It was a last minute decision with another couple and since it was a Saturday, we were prepared to wait. We got there about 5:30 to avoid waiting in line outside, so we able to walk right in with no wait and put our name in. Told it was going to be about 3 hours, we went right over to Bar Bianco, where I was able to snag a seat at the small bar, and eventually as the other couple joined us, we were able to all sit down. We had such a nice time here - what a fun way to pass the time. Great staff, and we met so many friendly people as we drank wine and snacked on grilled focaccia with fontina and prosciutto with the most amazing fresh apricots. One couple who arrived close to when we did had gone in for a drink after deciding a 3-hour wait was too long - yep, enjoying themselves so much, they were still at Bar Bianco when we were told our table at PB was ready.

                          (Note, Bar Bianco will be closed July 4th and 5th and re-open Tuesday July 8th at 4:00 pm.)

                          1. re: climberdoc

                            Rosa and Wiseguy were our favorites. Judging from the two replies so far, others like them as well.

                            Also really good if you like arugula is the Biancoverde. Not for me (not a huge arugula fan) but our friends love it.

                            1. re: climberdoc

                              Get one of each. Take the leftovers home, they reheat very well.

                              Enjoy.

                            2. Climberdoc - If you have to ask, the answer is YES, especially if you are from out of town.

                              The heat is such a bear this time of year, but I would definitely be in line by 3pm. That should get you in the first seating, which is key.

                              My favorite is the Wiseguy.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: mamamia

                                I guess that I was hoping to not have to wait for two hours in the heat with my pregnant wife. I was thinking that by getting there at 4pm we'll wait for an hour in the heat and then hopefully an hour in the bar.

                                1. re: climberdoc

                                  I think if you go at 3pm on a Tuesday you will have yourself to talk to. The restaurant opens at 5...if you come at 4, you will find others there at 4. You will talk amongst yourselves and know the order of lining up before 5 (it is the honor system). Then go to the bar next door for 45 minutes (the nice a/c'd bar). Come out at 4:45, take your rightful place in line, and you're in.

                                  1. re: climberdoc

                                    My recommendation is to go late rather than early -- especially if going on a Tuesday. Check in around 8:30 or 9 and wait in slightly more comfort with the sun no longer beating down on you.

                                2. Grazie's is a pretentious little place in Buckeye for those Verrado residents who are Scottsdale wannabes. Go for lunch if you must try it, but avoid dinner.....it is a tad overpriced for what you get. The pizza is similar to what you would find on a trip to Italy, but not nearly as good. Honestly, if you want the best of the best, go to PIZZARIA BIANCO in downtown Phoenix. That place will satisfy even the most hardcore pizza junky. Or while in the Litchfield Park area....Sabbatino's is outstanding, but not your traditional wood fired pizza.

                                  If you don't wolf your pizza at Grazie's immediately.......it gets soggy and cold quickly. The tomatoes used in their salads are pale and flavorless. The owner's daughter manages the Buckeye Grazi's and is less than professional. I overheard her chastizing a customer for possibly having forgotten to pay for a bottle of wine on a previous visit. I felt that was rather nervy and have not been back since. Really folks, do you want to give your business to an establishment that is so petty?

                                  The end all is.....the establishment is great if you are unable to venture elsewhere, but I predict that they will be closing their Buckeye endeavor within the next 2 years!