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Apr 30, 2010 03:09 PM

Stanziato's - Great pizza - Danbury, CT

Finally a great wood fired pizza place in Danbury, CT. Been there 5 times since it opened....great selection of pies and salads. Affordable prices and very fresh ingredients.

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  1. I went here today. Best pizza in Danbury and the area by far. Finally a properly done Neopolitan marghertia in the area. Never thought I'd see the day. Lunch is a great deal, especially because the cost of adding mozzarella di bufala ($4 extra, but I'm guessing it's imported) is offset by the lunch time prices. Will definitely be getting pizza from here whenever I can and I encourage others to check it out if you're bored of the pizza around here and a fan of the particular style.

    5 Replies
    1. re: alexinct

      Finally got a chance to try this place out yesterday. Their lunch deal is unbeatable ($7 for almost all pies; $11 for a pie plus a salad!) but I'm sorry to say I didn't consider the pizza GREAT. Good, yes. Not great. Probably didn't help that our order got a little messed up (mixup with the server who took the order over the phone) and I'm sure the ride home in the box didn't help the crisp-ness of the crust.

      I was disappointed to find red sauce on my "white" pizza, which was described on their website as "not made with tomato sauce." It kind of overpowered the ingredients I really WANTED to taste (bacon, garlic, mozz, parm, roasted onion) and made the overall pizza a bit "heavier" than I was expecting.

      Otherwise, the crust had a good flavor and texture and the ingredients were definitely high quality and very fresh. But I'm going to have to say my all-time fave in the area is Carminuccio's in Newtown. Their crust is thinner, crispier and fantastic. That pizza almost never fails to wow me. (Once or twice it was just good, not great, but most of the time, it's amazingly awesome, and I've probably had pizza there or from there a dozen or more times in the past couple of years, since discovering it through RoadFood.)

      And now that I've read this thread, I want to try Lauretano's, just to compare! :-)

      1. re: saturngrrl

        Been meaning to post again, thanks for spurring me!

        I went back a short while ago and tried a bunch of pies, and I like them much better than the first time. I think their white pies are MUCH better than the red (which I had the first time). And much better than Lauretano's. I was particularly happy with the Goat Cheese / Garlic / Mozzarella / Chopped Spinach pie.

        As for the sauce mistake, hey, that just sounds like a mistake. It happens.

        1. re: Jim Leff

          I will have to try some of the other "white pies!" I actually sent an email and the chef wrote me back and said he "drizzles" less than an ounce of red sauce on the bacon pie and it does not, in his opinion, overpower the other flavors. OK. Fair enough. I felt the opposite was true, but who am I to argue? LOL! But I would not have ordered that one if I had known. Next time, I'll ask them to hold the red sauce. :-) Or, I will try the goat cheese one. That sounds good, too.

          So I should just skip Lauretano's, then? Have you had Carminuccio's? What's your take? I'm curious...

          1. re: saturngrrl

            Not a big fan of Lauretano's. I just brought them up as another example of "better than the usual drek". You won't leave Lauretano's elated...but not miserable, either.

            Not a big fan of Carminuccio's. I use them, perversely, just for slices. They're fancier pies seem unfocused and really pretty ordinary, though people I respect love them.

            Look, sensational pizza lies just a few miles east, in New Haven County. There's nothing wrong with poking around for errant goodness in Fairfield, but, really, the big pizza-hunting energy is most rewardingly expended over there, IMO. At least for the time being (stuff changes!).

        2. re: saturngrrl

          That's very odd, saturngrrl. I've had the bacon pizza twice and have not detected any hint of tomato! Very strange. I'll try to remember that the next time I try it.

          I think Carminuccio's is better than most of the pizza around here but their ingredients seem to be of lesser quality than Stanziato's.

      2. Agreed - this is great, great pizza. These are no soggy, generic slices - these are individual crisp thin crusted circles of pure pizza goodness. My house is evenly divided on favorites - my husband loves the bianco with it's simple combo of mozzarella and ricotta and my fave is the bacon - sweet caramelized bacon paired with crispy bacon and mozzarella. Add in the fact that Matt the owner is genuinely concerned with his customers being happy and full, this is a most welcome addition to the west side of Danbury.

        15 Replies
        1. re: trianglerock

          Menu ( includes some intriguing non-pizza items....baked-not-fried wings, Wood Roasted Chicken sandwiches, nice salads. Is it all good?

          1. re: Jim Leff

            I've had the mixed greens salad and it was great. Fresh tasting and not drowned in dressing, and long shavings of parmesan. Liked it a lot and the lunch special's a real bargain. Haven't had the wings but the two times I've been there I saw them on quite a few tables. You can read my review at yelp.

            1. re: alexinct

              Tried a pie and found it good-not-great. Not sure it's quite as good as Lauretano in Bethel (across from the Sycamore), though I'm not crazy about that place, either.

              I'll try the wings and salad next time I'm out that way.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                I guess I owe a more detailed explanation.

                The pies may, as they claim, be made with love, but love's not enough. They have a charming simplicity to them, but pizza is itself a simple thing, so it requires a subtle, knowing touch to yield a whole that's more than the sum of the (few) parts. That touch is not in evidence least not to me.

                Like many ambitiously foodie-aspiring places outside big cities, there's a certain amount of bluffing going on...telegraphing that they don't quite know what they're doing. For example, the place stocks a handful of crappy, ill-chosen wines, and the wine list recommends one to go with the sausage pizza and another to go with the pepperoni pizza. It's the sort of amateurish baloney you'd expect from bright, entrepreneurial high school kids playing "restaurant".

                It's not enough to aspire to be great. You need talent and deep experience, too. But I don't see either of these things here. Just more or less fastidious by-the-book wood oven pizza making with pretty good ingredients but no discernible "touch". Which is fine, actually, and it's a fine addition to the local scene. It's just not great, IMO.

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Interesting take, Jim! I know absolutely nothing about wine so I couldn't say anything about that. I don't know, I've had pizzas at Co., Motorino, etc. and really like Stanziato's. They're not at that level yet obviously (of course, I've had mediocre pizzas at those places before) and I don't know what they're aspiring to be yet, but it has only been open for three months or so, right? Perhaps the lack of options in this area for anything besides greasy NY-style pizza is slightly inflating my opinion of the stuff I've had so far. I went to Pizza Lauretano a while back and was a bit underwhelmed, maybe it was high expectations. I'll have to try it out again and do a comparison.

                  1. re: alexinct

                    Oh, hey, I'm underwhelmed by Lauertano, as well.

                    Really, it sounds like you and I are in complete agreement: it's good for the area (which is sorely needed in a pizza desert like Danbury), though not first-rate.

                    And, yeah, hopefully they'll get better. But if such high praise continues, they may not feel they need to. Pizza seeks its own level...

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      3rd underwhelmed by Lauretano. Best i had was Una Pizza Napoletana in NYC (ate there the last night it was open before Anthony Mangieri closed up and headed west). I'm anxious to try this but i won't be springing for the bufala. You can buy tubs of it at Costco. My boyfriend makes a really close Mangieri-like pie using the Costco bufala and dough from the Parma Deli in Ridgefield.

                      1. re: BlueSoup

                        Does he have a wood fired oven, BlueSoup? I've read that a cast iron pizza pan yields results that are about as close you'll be able to get without one, so I'm going to pick one up soon. I like the Costco bufala (is it the one in the clear container from Campagna?) too. Wonder if that's where they get it from because I recall reading one time that the only place Mangieri got bufala from in the states was from Vermont, otherwise he imported it.

                        Sadly, I never ate at UPN. Could never convince anyone to go out of their way for a $20 personal pizza with me and never took the train ride down to NYC alone for it.

                        1. re: alexinct

                          alex---he does not have a specialty oven. He has a thicker than average stone that he heat soaks at 500 degrees. He gets a respectable neapolitan style crust from it.

                          so we ate at Stanziato's. I was more impressed than SO. I enjoyed it more than SO did. The crust is thin for my liking, i prefer the more pillowy Neapolitan style of UPN or Keste, this was crispier--not in a bad way, just not my preference. The toppings, however, I found tasty and fresh. I even enjoyed the wine, some syrah/grenache blend (wine w/pizza is not a priority for me, i'm more inclined to have a Coke, but it was fine).

                          I preferred it to Lauretano, it is not NYC Neapolitan quality, but still a welcome addition to the heavy, greasy pizzas of Danbury

                  2. re: Jim Leff

                    I wish I could understand your motives as your comments, especially the ones calling him amateurish and insinuating that he's "playing restaurant" are not even remotely about the food. In my opinion, the pizza that he produces is a far cry from all the mediocre junk that we have in the area. Stanziato's is a breath of fresh air - a departure from all the junk that passes for pizza in this town. The owner is a genuinely nice guy who I am delighted to be able to support. The pies that come out of there are really very good - the crust is crisp, the ingredients are fresh and the end result is delicious. That's what I care about - not his "crappy ill chosen wines".

                    1. re: trianglerock

                      My "motives" are the same as anyone's: to suss out great places and to try to communicate why I find a place great...or less than great. We can disagree without impugning each other's motives.

                      But I'm not sure we do disagree. If you'll reread my posting, I agree that this is a far cry from all the mediocre junk in the area. But here's the thing: mediocrity is not my baseline. "Better than crap" is not, to me, a final landing point. I agree the food is very good. But not great. And I don't rave over "very good". That seems to be the only difference here.

                      And it's fine by me that you don't care about wine. Others do. We all have our interests. I think the wine selection is at least as pertinent to an assessment of restaurant quality as the "niceness" of the owner. I, too, like to support nice people, but this is Chowhound, not Nicenesshound.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Jim, I'm curious, what types of wine would you recommend for some of the pizzas? I know nothing about wine like I said (kind of blasphemous for the son of Italian immigrants and whose father makes his own and has been an avid wine drinker for years), but they ask customers on occasion to fill out a suggestion/survey paper if they have time. I could pass it along next time I'm in there.

                        1. re: alexinct

                          It's not a question of "types" of wine, but of brands. As with anything, it's a matter of investing care into finding good stuff. The alternative is to simply offer the usual cheap crap. Most places choose the latter, because it's a lot easier.

                          As for how to find good value inexpensive wines to serve, whole web sites and magazines are devoted to just that. It's way beyond the scope of this thread.

                          In any case, for the record, suggesting one wine to match sausage pizza and another to match pepperoni pizza is ludicrous and amateurish. It's akin to suggesting a Toyota Corolla for driving in early June and a Honda Civic for driving in late June. It's a false dichotomy, plus neither car's nearly special or distinct enough to justify this degree of specificity even if the dichotomy were valid.

                          Finally, re: the latest from Bluesoup, who finds the pizza better than the heavy, greasy pizzas of Danbury but "not NYC Neapolitan quality" (in other words, really high quality): I agree. I agree with virtually everyone's assessment of this pizza: It's pretty good....and welcome given the local drek. There is NO ARGUMENT here.

                          The only thing I object to is raving about pretty good food just because it's better than the local drek. We ought to save the raves for food we deem phenomenal. Otherwise, it's awfully hard to get attention to truly phenomenal places. And this sort of thing might tempt out-of-town Chowhounds to travel out of their way to raved-about places only to find they're merely good and BTLD (better than local drek).

                          If you use Chowhound to research a trip to, say, Indianapolis, you want to easily ferret out the must-tries from the BTLD....even though, for locals, BTLD is certainly important to know about. You hope they don't use words like "great" when what they mean is "BTLD".

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            Dear Mr. Leff,

                            Could you please let us know what wines were on the list at Stanziato's on your first visit to Stanziato's?

                            Thank you for your time.

                        2. re: Jim Leff


                          what was good or not good about the food?

            2. I'd have to say I think this place is overrated. I think its a nice place and the pizza is good but not great. I think First and last cafe has better wood oven pizza> Living here for seven years I have yet to find a great pie.Although people keep trying. Along with Stanzios there are like 2 or 3 other pizza joints that have opened on mill plain rd. All claiming to be the best Ny style pizza and all are mediocre at best. We have been making our own at home

              1 Reply
              1. re: luv2eatct

                Tuscanero's on Mill Plain Road has the worst looking pizza i've seen in a long time. i can't say worst tasting because i didn't dare eat it. I walked in, looked through the glass case and walked right back out. It looked like food court or airport terminal pizza.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. I wasn't that impressed. Solid toppings and whatnot, but the crust was seriously pedestrian and lacking. Laurentano in Bethel, Kitchen Zinc in New Haven and Tarry Lodge in Westport serve much better gourmet pies.

                  And the service was lacking.