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Good pizza in Phoenix besides Pizzeria Bianco?

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    Classic Italian Pizza in Tempe has a couple of excellent pizzas on their menu. If you're in the mood for New York style then Santisi Brothers in north Phoenix is great. Sicilian crust, then La Famiglia in Chandler is excellent. They also do a mean stromboli, and their New York style is very good too.

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

    10 Replies
    1. re: IamJacksBrain

      I don't live in that area, but my son went to medical school in the area. When I go to a new city, I always seek out the best pizza. Hope I remember the name of this place, I am pretty sure it was called Ralph's or Ralph's something and it was on 59th just south of Bell in Glendale. Their salads and dressing are excellent too. You can dine in or carry out. Let me know if anyone has been there and what you think.

      1. re: cheri

        The pizza place you are thinking of is Ray's; and it is on the NE corner of 59th and Greenway. The staff is largely Albanian and the cuisine is mostly Northern Italian. Their Neopolitan style pizza is what I grew up on so I can't claim objectivity; but I will say it is great. The BEST pizza in Phoenix however is Pizzaria Bianco. Hands down. It is sublime.

        1. re: wateriswet

          No, actually this is the place I was talking about:

          Ralph's LA Hacienda Pizzeria
          15236 N 59TH Ave (south of Bell)
          Glendale, AZ
          Phone: (602) 978-2780

          Great pizza and salads!

      2. re: IamJacksBrain

        I tried Classic Italian Pizza for the first time last night - I'd been meaning to for ages. It was very good. I had a pizza with ham, mushrooms and egg (?) on it. Perfectly crispy, not greasy. My dining partner and I polished off the whole thing. The only disappointment was the caprese salad before the pizza. The basil was really bitter and threw off the flavor of the whole thing. But I will defintely be back.

        1. re: cowateni

          I'm a big CIP fan, but I agree with your assessment. CIP does great pizzas -- as good as Bianco in my opinion, but without the arduous wait for a table. The restaurant is not as strong, however, with salads. Those seems a litte more prosaic with less attention to ingredient quality. Did you try any desserts? I've found those quite good at CIP.

          Classic Italian Pizza
          1054 E Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283

          1. re: silverbear

            I did try the tiramisu. I found it be delicious. I'm embarrased to say that my favorite tiramisu is from bucca di beppo, though, so I'm obviously not an expert.

            1. re: silverbear

              ooo how did you do that little trick silver?

              1. re: abbefaith

                You mean the little balloon icon with the restaurant's name and address? Just use the "Link to a place BETA" link when replying to a post or starting a new topic. It's a new feature on Chowhound.

                1. re: silverbear

                  hehe yes i figured it out after i commented. pretty cool! thanks!

        2. My failsafe is Florencia The Pizza Bistro in Ahwatukee.

          2 Replies
          1. re: themis

            Florencia is our favorite too, we love the Tuscany.

            1. re: firecooked

              I third Florencia. Their Margarita is the best I've had!

          2. j
            JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

            Iamjacksbrain got to Classic Italian before I did, so... I enjoy the occasional pizza from Oregano's, but there is always a wait (but not as bad as at Bianco's). Start out with any appetizer that comes with marinara for dipping (the calamari is good *most* of the time), their marinara is so good I've been tempted to have an appetizer of nothing more than a side of marinara and a spoon. With the pizzas, go for the thin crust if you like to have just a few toppings, the stuffed pizza if you want to pile 'em on; thin crust gets soggy when weighted down with too much of a good thing, and if you don't have a bunch of toppings in the stuffed pizza it feels like you're eating just a ginormous chunk of melted mozzarella.

            And you *must* have a pizzookie for dessert. It is a very serious contender for Best Dessert In Arizona. It's so simple- cookie dough (chocolate chip or white chocolate/macadamia) pressed into a pizza pan, baked until the bottom is dark brown and caramelized but the top is still gooey, then topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate chips. It's a dessert that you just want to relax and savor, but if you do that everyone else in your dining party is going to scarf it down like a pack of hungry wolverines.

            Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

            1. Am I the only one in town that thinks Bianco is overrated? It's good, but nothing close to the press they get. I like Classic Italian Pizza and Sanguini's (in far-east Mesa) better. Actually Sanguini's temporarily closed to switch locations, and I haven't heard their status for a while.

              I also love Oregano's (and their Pizookies), NYPD Pizza, Famous Ray's (N. Scottsdale), La Famiglia, and Patsy Grimaldi's. For delivery, I call the nearest Rosati's which is pretty good for a low-cost chain.

              7 Replies
              1. re: inkling

                We agree with you that Bianco is fine, but not worth all the hype -- we don't get the "best in America" designation.

                1. re: Sarah C

                  When my wife or I mention our attitude toward Bianco, people look at us as if we've committed blasphemy or something. Lighten up, people -- it's good, but it's just pizza! (and Classic Italian is better! :-)

                2. re: inkling
                  Darrin Chandler

                  You like Sanguini's better? Really? I had high hopes, and loved the idea of an Italian Grocery and Pizza joint close to my house (before they moved). But I found their pies mediocre, and the service was horrible. The groceries were dusty and overpriced.

                  I really thought Pizzeria Bianco was excellent pizza, but tastes vary. *I* think Oregano's is overrated, though pretty good.

                  1. re: Darrin Chandler

                    Maybe a lot of it is personal taste. Sanguini's Margherita Pizza was one of the finest pies I've ever had. It was a wacky little market though -- do you know if they've relocated yet? I'm in Dobson Ranch, so it's a bit of a hike for me to get to that part of town.

                    And don't get me wrong about Bianco's -- I do like it a lot, but their press seems so excessive to me.

                    1. re: inkling

                      When his rent went up, Sanguini relocated once, to a second Mesa location (it was quite hidden). When I drove out to Mesa to try his place, he was loading boxes into a moving truck. He said he'd consistently lost money the last few years and he was moving the wholesale business to Snowflake. I gave him my name and email for a mailing list he was putting together and never heard from him.

                  2. re: inkling

                    Finally someone has the cajones to admit that Bianco is overrated. All the hype leads to the illusion that it's the best. My favorite is Nello's for their sauce and selection of toppings. It's just too bad they are closed Sun-Mon.

                    1. re: ginael

                      Hmmm. "Finally"? That post is over 3 years old now.

                      I like Nello's too, but it is a different style of pizza. I expect that a lot of people prefer one style over another, but trying to set up a dichotomous comparison ("the best" vs. "the rest") across styles doesn't necessarily make sense to me.

                  3. Three Recomendations and sorry to say that they are not in the east valley as so many others are.

                    1. La Grande Orange 40th and Campbell
                    2. Red Devil 28th and Mcdowell
                    3. Grazi- Scottsdale

                    1. Three Recomendations and sorry to say that they are not in the east valley as so many others are.

                      1. La Grande Orange 40th and Campbell
                      2. Red Devil 28th and Mcdowell
                      3. Grazi- Scottsdale

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Leanne

                        Just as a side note...La Grande Orange doesn't serve pizza during all of their operating hours-I believe it's just on the weekends or after certain hours, or both...I have been there a couple of times but never at "pizza time" so I have yet to try it. Also, I do agree with previous posts that Bianco is a bit overrated so I'd be interested to see if LGO is better.

                        1. re: Jess321

                          we love lgo's pizza. they start at 11 am on weekends and 4 pm on weekdays. we're biggest fans of the non-traditional pizzas. and being a carnivore, i even have to agree with the wife that their vegetarian pizzas are the best. we love going with a couple other folks and getting a trio of the roasted corn (goat cheese, corn, roasted tomatoes & basil), mushroom party (sauteed minced crimini, button & oyster mushrooms w/sweet onion & tomato) & avocado (avocado, tomato, basil, lemon juice & lemon zest). i also think the padre is killer (proscuitto, fig, arugula & mozzarella).

                          bianco is still on our must do list.

                      2. We've had terrific luck with repeated visits to La Stalla in downtown Chandler. Also can recommend the pasta - way good.

                        1. Here's a vote for Grazie in Old Scottsdale.

                          1. I would agree that Classic Italian Pizza is quite good, although I know there was a change of ownership about a year ago and I haven't been there since. Also very good is Miele's in Tempe (Guadalupe & McClintock).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 10isdad

                              I second the mention for Miele's in Tempe. ;-)

                            2. Might there be 2 trains of thoughts here?

                              - A destination pizza where you don't mind a wait to share a pie with like minded friends? Usually dinner.

                              - A place to grab a slice to fend off a nagging tummy? Usually driving around on errands, or for a quick escape from work.

                              For the latter, I like Slices (Old Town and Mill Ave) and Joe's (Old Town) - thoughI prefer the $5 stromboli.

                              For the former, it might be Cibos and I hope to try Classic and Biancos. I like Grimaldis, but for others the style doesn't work.

                              I hope to build an outdoor pizza oven this fall if anyone wants to help or has resources/knowledge on how to do this. Please pop me a note.

                              Cheers, Jon

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tastyjon

                                Post the oven question to the Cookware board... I've got some good links

                              2. Cibo @ 5th Ave south of Roosevelt - in big Victorian house on corner with parking in back - wonderful woodfire pies and great wines in a setting that makes you feel you're dining at an old friend's house.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: blur

                                  I will echo the Cibo recommendation.... very good.
                                  As for Bianco's - I LOVE IT
                                  & Oregano's - I HATE IT!!!!!!!!
                                  I guess differences are what makes the world go round!!!

                                  1. re: blur

                                    What is the wait time like for Cibo? Is it as insane as Bianco?

                                    1. re: emokid

                                      We went to Cibo a month or two ago. We got there around 6 or 6:30 on a Wednesday and got right in. It seemed to fill up quick after that, though. As for the food, it was ok. The crust was good when it first came out of the oven, but by the time I was about 1/2 done, it was soggy. That was a big turn-off for me. I've never been to Bianco. Seth Chadwick reviewed Cibo at some point and it was pretty close to the same experience we had.

                                      1. re: Firenza00

                                        I have been to Cibo three or four times, and never have had to wait. Service is always good. I agree about the pizza getting soggy after it has been out of the oven for a few minutes. I am not a fan of their proscuitto, either. It tastes gamey to me (but I only ordered a pizza with it once, maybe they had a bad batch). But besides the soggy problem and proscuitto, I love Cibo. I love the atomosphere there, and the nutella crepe dessert things (especially the one with nutella and mascarpone - yummy).

                                        I quite like Nello's for pizza, too (in Ahwatukee), but that may just be because it's only a mile away!

                                  2. I dream of pizza from Pizzeria Bianco- I think he makes the best pizza in PHX. It is hard to stomach the wait- you wind up drinking too much wine next door before you can even get seated. HOWEVER, I still love it after many years of eating it.
                                    Mrs. Bianco makes one dessert each day and they are usually pretty darn good.
                                    La Grande Orange also makes good pizza- lots of different flavors and good quality ingredients. Not thin like Bianco's but very satisfying.

                                    1. In no particular order, some of my top spots:

                                      - Classic Italian Pizza (Tempe)
                                      - Cibo (downtown Phoenix)
                                      - Pizzeria Bianco (downtown Phoenix)
                                      - LGO Pizzeria (Phoenix Arcadia)
                                      - Sauce (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tucson)

                                      1. When my son was in medical school in the area there, we discovered a place that had great pizza. It is called Ralph's La Hacienda or maybe just Ralph's and it is in Glendale on 59th just south of Bell. We went there a number of times during a few trips to the area. I am a pizza afficiando (sp?) and know good pizza, this definitely was memorable. Great salads and dressing also. They have many other things on their menu as well.

                                        1. Pat's pizza plus is so close to NY pizza its glendale and maybe 7th ave????

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: drewb123

                                            PPP is at 12 ST/Glendale.
                                            I'm not a fan of the surly service, but it's good pizza.

                                          2. The best NY-Style pizza I've had here in the valley is a little tiny place called Bell'Italia in Ahwatukee (SE corner of 48th St and Chandler) The people who own the place are a family from Connecticut who moved out here and couldn't find pizza like what they had back home. IMO, it's much better than NYPD.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: NJgirlinPhx

                                              A personal recommendation for you, NJgirl...give Ray's Pizza a shot.

                                              I'll have to try Bell'Italia as I get down that way quite often, so thanks.

                                              1. re: azhotdish

                                                Oh, thanks, I think I heard about them! I will put them on my list of places to try!!

                                              2. re: NJgirlinPhx

                                                I agree. We haven't been to Classic Italian or Pizzaria Bianco yet so can't compare but Bell'Italia is great. Their ingredients are always fresh and they're generous with the toppings. I don't know that I would quite call it NY-style though. It's probably more similar to the pizzas I've had in the Boston - Worcester area... and that's a good thing!

                                                1. re: Doug in Mesa

                                                  Really? That's strange to me because to me Bell'Italia is just like Pizza 33--our go to place whenever we're back in Manhattan. What do you consider NY Style? Just curious :)
                                                  (this is said in an inquisitive tone, not a confrontational one--I'm not good at infusing tone in my typing :-P)

                                                  1. re: NJgirlinPhx

                                                    Well, I guess Bell'Italia's crust reminds me more of the pies we had in N.E. I would probably cite Buono's as the most similar to what I remember from NYC, and that's not a bad thing either. Most of our NY pizza experiences were in Syracuse and Buffalo. Bell'Italia is our favorite around here so far...

                                                    1. re: Doug in Mesa

                                                      Ah Okay, that makes sense, Upstate is very different from NYC Metro :)

                                                2. re: NJgirlinPhx

                                                  What pizza(s) would you recommend at Bell'Italia? Also, how are the other items on the menu?

                                                  P.S. If you go to their website, they have a 20% off coupon valid for Mondays or Tuesdays July-August (scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page).

                                                  1. re: PHX Becky

                                                    I'm a sucker for a good plain (cheese only) pie. DH loves the pepperoni and sausage and I sometimes get the green peppers. I will say that I really appreciate the quality of ingredients they use. I don't think any combo would be dissapointing.

                                                    1. re: NJgirlinPhx

                                                      Belle'Italia is mighty fine New England style pizza. The toppings and ingredients are both plentiful and top quality. Highly recommend giving this place a try. Lar

                                                3. For NY style in the East Valley, Venezia's, but you have to get the Party Size so the pieces are big enough to fold and the crust-cheese-sauce proportions are right. Am married to a New Yorker who swears by their pies.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: yamalam

                                                    I've heard Venezia's is very good. In the same general area, my former fave, Pizza Town, is no more, but Buono's at Dobson & Guadalupe offers an honest New York pie, and the 18-inch version is plenty pliable for folding if you're into that. In my part of town, A Slice of Sicily at 38th & Indian School is a very good New York-style choice.

                                                  2. If you want the best pizza in this city, you go to Bianco. If you aren't willing to wait 2 hours for pizza (like myself) you will go to Cibo, Grazie, Grimaldi's, or Oregano's.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: AZBconcierge

                                                      Grimaldi's? Ha! It's bar none THE worst pizza I have had anywhere. I would seriously rather go have the lunch buffet at Peter Piper than go to Grimaldi's again. The overpriced pie featured a burned crust that dominated most bites, sauce that tasted like nothing unless you bit into a basil leaf, homemade mozzarella that reminded me of unsweetened marshmallows, meat toppings that I think were made of rubber, and the roasted red peppers overwhelmed anything that they came close to. Add to this exorbitant pricing and waitstaff that obviously don't care, and I wonder how the hell they're still open.

                                                      Oregano's is for when you're willing to wait one hour instead of two. You really should try getting off the beaten path some, AZB, you'll find some real gems. Classic Italian is very much worth a visit, and there have been some great things said recently about Redendo's up in Fountain Hills.

                                                    2. If you're looking for really good NY pizza we love Carrusotti's on Bell and Tatum. Eddie is from Jersey and knows how to make a mean pie. The Godfather is my new .

                                                      1. where else aside from oregano's has good thin crust?

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: abbefaith

                                                          There's lots of places with good thin crust, but if your'e referring to the Chicago style with relatively sweet sauce, cut into squares, then Spinatos wins, hands down. I usually use the 12th St./Glendale location and have sampled the one on Bell Rd. -- haven't visited the others. I recommend the special spinach pie or the meatball, or both combined. Not cheap, but delicious. Often cops in there -- eating, not enforcing the law ...

                                                          1. re: misohungrychewlow

                                                            spinato's was not my thing AT ALL! I am from NY and met a foemer NY who swore by the place we went 5 months ago or so and oh my goodness i was disgusted. I also don't like oregano's

                                                            1. re: drewb123

                                                              Yo, it's not New York pie, it's Chicago thin-crust pie, FWIW -- don't engage me on east coast pie -- I'm from southern CT -- you lose. Scorched earth ... (and crust ...)

                                                              1. re: drewb123

                                                                I have to echo the disappointment with Spinato's. The 12th and Glendale site is in my neighborhood, so I gave it a try recently. The tomato sauce was excessively sweet to the point that it marred the entire pizza for me.

                                                              2. re: abbefaith

                                                                For the seared cracker-thin crust, Napoli style, Grazie wins, IMO. We also have a couple of outposts of Patsy Grimaldi's, but I think Grazie's organic ingredients, hand-pulled mozzarella, and all-Italian wine list beat it for quality. It's a very rare instance of choosing wood-fired over coal-fired, for me.

                                                                1. re: themis

                                                                  i have been meaning to try grazie forever! i went in there once and no one greeted us for a while, so we left... that was a few years back, so i think i'm over it now and willing to check it out.

                                                              3. Perhaps a strange recommendation, but I wanted to try something new at Pita Jungle (Arcadia) on Saturday and ended up ordering the lavosh pizza ($7.95). The crust was nice and crispy and had a slight char flavor that I enjoyed; the toppings were very fresh. It is definitely big enough to share for moderate eaters, and I definitely would order it again.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: azhotdish

                                                                  I agree. PJ's pizza is good (and unusual).

                                                                2. For thin-crust pizzas, I like:

                                                                  Venezia's Pizzeria- Spinach and mushroom (how I miss 'shrooms! I'm allergic to them :(
                                                                  Miele's- white pizza... I dream of those ricotta chunks!
                                                                  Nello's- Spinach, Alaskan King (!!), and both spicy-flavored pizzas... can't recall the names... all of the pizzas I've tried there are great!

                                                                  Classic Italian Pizza- tried a thin-crust here once. Thought it was good.

                                                                  Casino Arizona's Wandering Horse Cafe (at Indian Bend)- try the vegetarian! Many other pizza fans swear by the pizzas here.

                                                                  Oregano's- the Cajun Chicken Pesto is very good! Good thin-crust, although some parts of the square-shaped pizza were soggy. The eggplant lasagna (layers of eggplant instead of pasta) is very good, as well.

                                                                  For calzones:

                                                                  NYPD- THE BEST

                                                                  Nicantoni's - The first calzone I've ever tried, and I thought it was the best until I tried NYPD's. A coworker told me she preferred Old Chicago's, but I found the calzone there to be terrible! But then again, I like my calzones crispy, not doughy.

                                                                  Has anyone tried the calzones at Grimaldi's and Nello's?

                                                                  I've yet to try the pizzas at Amano's Pizza Bistro. Has anyone visited this place recently? Care to suggest pizzas and entrees to try here?

                                                                  I'd love to try pizzas at Bianco's, Grazie, Cibo, and La Grande Orange, but need others to join me! Will someone start a Phoenix pizza meetup group? Is there a Chowhound group I could join??

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: starlightjulian


                                                                    We've used the strength of numbers to get a reservation at Bianco, twice.

                                                                    1. re: starlightjulian

                                                                      I have to second (third?) NYPD. When we come out from LA, which has little NY pizza, we make sure to get a pie at NYPD.

                                                                      1. re: starlightjulian

                                                                        I went to Amano's this week; pizzas were pretty good with chewy, thin, nicely baked crust. Toppings seemed to be applied rather indiscriminately, but I usually redistribute them anyways. Quality was good overall and I was glad to see that the artichoke prosciutto pizza (which was the only one I ordered) came with prosciutto and not canadian bacon (which happens sometimes).

                                                                        Nice interior; cozy and very italian in feel (like Florence with cement brick walls in quirky cave-like spaces, not Little Italy checkered tablecloths)... really nice coffee, but the flourless chocolate torte was hugely disappointing as it looked and tasted more like an oversized piece of fudge.

                                                                        I would definitely go for the pizza again if I were in the vicinity at mealtime; but wouldn't drive over 30 minutes just for that purpose...

                                                                      2. I think Nello's is good. It helps that they have Mirror Pond Pale Ale (from my home town) on tap.

                                                                        1. I don't think anybody has mentioned Rare Earth Coffee and Wine Bar in this thread... Really good thin crust. I favor the Four Cheese and the Margherita.

                                                                          1. Arcadia rats like Mamma Mia on 40th and Indian School, good other Italian take as well. Also something new at Mondrian Hotel, they were passing out free pie at HH the other day and it was outstanding. The restaraunt has changed from Fammia, but the pie was great, wild muchrooms, uncured pepperoni, and truffle oil on the cheese.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: kmarg

                                                                              Did the pizza come from Asia de Cuba, or is there another kitchen at the Mondrian?

                                                                              1. re: silverbear

                                                                                Ralph's was good about 25 years ago when Ralph was still running the show. It's gone down hill quite a bit since then....and like Bianco, it takes a while to get your food.

                                                                                1. re: silverbear

                                                                                  Couldn't tell if it was from Asia de Cuba, but that seems to be the only restaraunt on property these days. Have to try it for dinner soon!

                                                                                  1. re: kmarg

                                                                                    I have yet to get into Bianca but I really enjoyed Cibo.

                                                                              2. A handful of my favorites are Cibo, Oregano's, and Sauce. I can't wait to try the others listed in this thread.