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Is Anyone Doing Pizza Any Better Than Bambino's?

With *Armitages's First Maxim* in mind (my paraphrase: pizza preferences being hopelessly wide, type-oriented and idiosyncratic), is anyone in Seattle doing this thin(ner) NY-style wood-fired pizza any better?

I had their Caloroso Friday night, and it was fantastic. No, washed down with Pliny the Elder, it was transcendant.

I want to know its rivals, so I may judge them. So far, Delancy, Via Tribunale, Queen Margarite and Serious Pie have all come up bridesmaids for me.

Aloha,
Kaleo

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  1. I haven't had bambinos for quite awhile but I remember it being really good. I think bar del corso is also really good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Boychucker

      Bar del corso is my favorite pie in the city.

    2. My current favorite is Pizzeria 22 in West Seattle (admittedly, location is a factor), very similar to Via Trib, thin crust Neapolitan, maybe not what you are looking for. But if it is, try the Romana.

      I really loved my first visit to Bar del Corso, need to get back. They seem to have a slightly thicker crust than Via Trib.

      16 Replies
      1. re: babette feasts

        Bar del corso is definatley not putting out traditional pies from naples. The crust has a lot of flavor and does not get overly soggy. The ortolana pizza there is ridiculous. Also the small plates are really good.

        1. re: babette feasts

          I keep meaning to get to Pizzeria 22, right in the 'hood! I don't see the Romana pizza on their menu - what is on that pie?

          1. re: gingershelley

            The Romana is tomato, mozz, anchovy, capers, (and maybe basil?). It's the salty anchovy and briny caper combo that does it for me, especially with a drizzle of their house made chili oil.

            Do go, the guys - Cary, Carl, and Jesse - all are friendly and they make a great product. They have a couple of picnic tables outside that get late afternoon sun. Since I'm mad at the other best WS restaurant right now, 22 is my current favorite over here. I'd go more often, but I don't want them to think I'm a stalker!

            1. re: babette feasts

              Babette - DO tell, who are you mad at... I can think of 3 options for 'best' in WS, but 'best' is a pretty broad term! `}

              1. re: gingershelley

                Had a really disappointing night at Mashiko a while ago - a chef friend was in town and I wanted to impress him with a tasting menu there. Got a new server who was clueless, basically sat there twice as long as desired and left hungry. What food we had was good, solely a service issue, but a huge disappointment after what had already been a really frustrating day at work and I was looking forward to something great. Finally went back a week or two ago, fine but too many squealing kiddies. Not the restaurant's fault that I don't want squealing tots with my $100 dinner, but I think I am going to try to only go when Hajime is there and only when I can sit at the bar, because that is when I have had the best experiences. And maybe check twice for hipsters with kids. The noisy wee ones are way less annoying when you are sitting outside in the sun and only spending $30.

                1. re: babette feasts

                  Babette - Sigh, how true Mashiko is harder to enjoy these days with all the kiddo's. I try to go late, and sit at the bar for a better experience.

                  Planning on going to Pizzaria 22 tomorrow for Happy Hour with a friend to check it out; want to try your preffered pie! Shall report back....

                  1. re: gingershelley

                    So, did you go? Did you love it and I have to share, or did you not love it, and more for me?

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      Babette - sorry. Something came up, and my GF had to cancel. We postponed to this Thursday instead. I saw their mobile cart at the WS street fair Friday - and it smelled and looked good - tho I wasn't going to spoil sharing it with someone at the resto, so didn't try it. Plus, it was jacked up fair prices. I am still excited!

              2. re: babette feasts

                Hi, babette:

                Went to Pizzeria 22 tonight... Really liked the buildout and decor. Not exactly sure what distinguishes it from Via Tribunale, but I found it far more *welcoming*.

                Wahine and I split 3 things: The stuffed mushroom appetizer, the salad verde, and the Crudo pizza. We agreed that the appetizer was good, the salad excellent and the pizza... kinda disappointing. The Crudo is a "red" pie, done Margherita style except with prosciutto. I thought the sauce (from Italian San Marzano canned plums) was very flavorful, but so watery it instantly 'logged the pie. I was seated facing the oven, so I watched--it was not a server delay. The pie in general was so wet and underdone that the shears they supply to cut the pie just sort of tore a little before binding up entirely. I'm talking so limp as to defy even the classic Naples "fold and stuff" eating technique.

                However, the table next to ours ordered a Capra (a white pie not on their online menu) that looked perfectly done, unsoggy and luscious. We'll be back to try that one.

                So far Bambino's by a mile. Del Corso's next...

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I think the difference is pretty much in name only, with a common backer and some VT alum as staff. Sorry to hear about the inconsistency, my experience has been generally not soggy, and the crudo is among my usual choices, along with the romana and the inferno.

                  Del Corso can be a little heavy handed, and many small plates feature generous olive oil, which can be great, or add up to too much for me. I think of the more minimalist pies as single serving, but that could be overwhelming with del Corso's. The flip side is they don't skimp on really flavorful toppings, and it's very suitable for sharing.

                  Have you tried Ballard Pizza Company yet? A coworker had a positive report, sounded a bit more substantial than the VT model, maybe you'd be a fan.

                  1. re: babette feasts

                    Hi, babette:

                    Nope, so far have missed BPC, but it's on my list (and close).

                    I think to do this right, I'll have to alternate between the 1st-time tries and Bambino's, so I don't have an inflated imaginary standard.

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Absolutely. Multiple spreadsheets and vernier calipers a plus.

                      I might just have to try Bambino's one of these days.

                      1. re: babette feasts

                        All strictly in the spirit of scientific inquiry, of course!

                        1. re: Jeri L

                          Jeri, Of course!

                          OK, Kaleo...you may think I have a problem, whether it is pizza addiction or merely living in West Seattle is up for debate (not to mention working too much and not having the energy to leave the peninsula)....

                          22 pepperoni, first and last slice, both holding a lovely point. Can't tell you the time elapsed, as there was tequila involved, but the sun is a clue...

                           
                           
                          1. re: babette feasts

                            Hi, babette:

                            LOL., no, your problem is just good food. Wish I had been there... My Crudo needed the kind of help offered only by Boston Medical.

                            I am so pizza-selfish, I really have no predestined fave 'ria here. I actually liked the layout and vibe at 22 better than Bambino's. I'm just looking for great pies.

                            Now I have to try the pepperoni AND the Capra. It may have just been an off night. Thanks for the graphic proof!

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: babette feasts

                              That looks so good! I haven't had pizzeria 22 yet. Hope to make it there soon.

            2. No one does as unique a crust as Tom Douglas at Serious Pie. The only issue is the toppings (which I think need improvement). The dough hydration is close to 100 percent (INSANE!!!). I am trying to duplicate at home- and I am getting close. It is not easy. It is a pizza geeks dream to deconstruct (apple wood, etc). However, the only topping love is the mushroom and truffle pizza there...the others do not do the crust justice, leaving you to continue to look elsewhere for the perfect pizza :)

              Bar del Corso is not even in the running. The pizza is waaaaaay over charred. The ortolana pizza is especially burned tasting (the smoked moz with the over char) tastes like Smokey the Bear prepared it for you. They don't appreciate subtle leoparding...they leave entire black spots on the bottom. Not okay, major fail.

              Delancy's is just a regular woodfire oven pizza...with decent toppings and a decent crust- nothing extraordinary. Good -but not the best.

              I have not been to Bambino's but will now put that on my list to try.

              Right now, I am trying to replicate Serious Pie's fermented and insanely hydrated crust, with the creativity of other places toppings. I love the braised greens of the ortalana with the fennel sausage of a serious pie...the search is darned fun!

              2 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                sedimental, I also love their crust, care to share what your experimentation has garnered?

                1. re: kaplaba

                  Well, that is a huge topic! But briefly, last time, I did a 100 percent hydration poolish with 00 flour. Ferment all day (warm). Then the dough is bread flour at 80 percent hydration (flour, water, salt, yeast). Then cold ferment it all in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.

                  It is technique as much as anything. The dough is difficult to work with when it has that much water in it. You have to use the stretch and fold method. It won't spin or knead. It is easier to shape it into a stretched oblong.

                  Technical: I cook it under 700 (650 to 700). Apple wood, use a larger side fire than with a Neapolitan and cook the pizza further away ( not in a hurry with this style). I am pretty sure the dough is made with the poolish and a mix of flours. These techniques give good flavor and good cornicione. Cook without cheese at first to let the middle dry out and puff, liberal cornmeal on the board, when removed, drizzle with oil and sprinkling of grey or pink salt.

                  I feel like I am getting closer. Last time I actually had a guest spontaneously say "hey, this reminds me of Serious Pie!" So, at least I am moving in the right direction. Even if I never really get it....I am certainly enjoying the quest :)

              2. Have you tried Ballard Pizza Co. yet? It's Ethan Stowell's newest joint. Huge slices, very foldable, and my new favorite in town.

                I have yet to visit Proletariat or The Independent.

                2 Replies
                1. re: PrawoJazdy

                  Hi, Prawo:

                  No, not yet, but as I said above, it's on my list. What do you like there? What do you consider to be their best(s)?

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Pepperoni is my default standard, and I'm loving theirs. I've sampled a few others (mushroom, 'shroom & pep, sausage & something I can't recall), and all have been excellent. The slice pies don't seem to have as wide a range as the house combos, but that may just be a result of when I've been there.

                2. I went to Bambino's for the first time. What a terrible experience. They were out of several items on the menu. They were extremely slow. The waiter was uninformed about everything but beer. When I asked a question about a wine on the list, he actually said " I am just a waiter, I don't know much about the wine". The pizza was meh. Not bad, but no quality there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sedimental

                    Y'know, I finally got around to trying Bambino's a few weeks ago and I was 'meh' on it too. I don't even remember which pie I had, just that the crust was nowhere near thin. Maybe I just don't understand NY style... I'll stick with Neapolitan.

                      1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                        Hi, TCW:

                        Not sure about right now, but they have the Elder in whenever possible. Also good cask wines.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Bummer man. Oh well - it's not as if we're short on excellent quality brews here. I've never tried Bambino's but am looking forward to doing so. Maybe with a nice pint of Lucille.

                      2. It's that smoked mozzarella that they use on the Calorosa. I can't figure out why more pizzerias don't use it.

                        I used to love Bambinos, but their crust (the outer end) seems to have gotten progressively larger and tougher.

                        1. OK, this thread may be dead, but I've not seen one of my favorite joints mentioned: Post Alley Pizza at Post and Seneca, near the Pike Place Market.

                          Two caveats: they don't sell beer and wine as they are small and geared towards lunch, and the pizza is sold by the slice and so heated for you. You can get a pie, but I never have. They are open 11-4 or 5 most days, but Fridays you can probably catch them later as they market dinner to the condo crowd nearby.

                          Anyhow, to the goods. The pizzas are great, both very creative and traditional. I just had a black bean and sausage with scallions that was amazing. The guys, Mark and Shane, have a great story--they used to run a favorite hole in the wall in PPM, the Market Grill, serving wickedly fresh salmon and halibut sandwiches and the best clam chowder. They left and bought Post Alley Pizza almost two years ago.

                          They source as much as possible from Pike Place, they make everything scratch, the sauce is a beautiful balance of tangy and herbed, and the crust is thin, crisp, and delicately tasty. Toss in that they carry Mexican Coke (the drink), and it's a perfect lunch. It's a place that foodies and chowhound ers can be happy, though foodies may think it too casual.

                          I like Serious Pie, and agree with the commenters about the divinity of their crust. Taking nothing from Pie, if you find yourself near the waterfront or Market do yourself an inexpensive favor and hit Post Alley Pizza up. They also do take out, and local delivery.