Glendale, Arizona: Bold Neapolitan Pizza at La Piazza Al Forno
La Piazza Al Forno
The owners of La Piazza Al Forno in Glendale, Arizona, aren't afraid to take a stance when it comes to defining pizza. On their website, they spell it out:
Pizza: a word that is known all over the world, from Phoenix to New York City, from Europe to Asia. It is a word used to describe many different products. Anything from deep dish to cracker crust, to stuffed crust, or whatever you prefer—it's all there. However, the meaning of the word pizza has been misunderstood over the years. Pizza only means one thing. It is Neapolitan. While the square, round, extra thick or stuffed dough may be what you're used to, it's just not pizza.
Whether or not you agree, at least owner Justin Piazza makes it clear what you will be getting when you walk through the doors: Piazza Al Forno offers wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies, made with "00" flour and topped with San Marzano tomatoes and homemade mozzarella.
We got down to business and ordered two pizzas: the Italian Stallion and the Filetti.
The Italian Stallion ($13) is a carnivore's indulgence. Topped with Schreiner's sausage, pepperoni, Prosciutto di Parma, and sopressata, this pizza flexes its meaty muscles. Somewhere beneath the meat were the San Marzano tomatoes and house made mozzarella, as well as a light, airy crust, but they were practically hidden behind the heavy portions of porky goodness. Each bite of this pie also had a surprisingly spicy kick, and a serious dose of sodium.
If the Italian Stallion represents the ultimate in masculinity, the Filetti ($12) feels more feminine. This pizza was delicate, subtle, and nicely balanced. There were hints of garlic in each bite and this pie showed off La Piazza's mozzarella-making skills. The cheese was creamy, fresh-tasting, and smooth.
The crust was a delight, with a crisp, crackling exterior and delicate char, but the surprising star was the cherry tomatoes. They were perfectly ripe and juicy, with just enough acid to balance the burst of sweetness. It was as if these tomatoes were picked moments before they were placed on the pizza.
Whether you are a meat lover or tomato lover or both, La Piazza Al Forno offers pizza options you'll enjoy, as long as you're not too vocal about embracing all the other styles of pies.