Restaurant Review: La Piazza Al Forno

La Piazza Al Forno - Entrance and Banner

La Piazza Al Forno – Entrance and Banner (Photo credit: raider3_anime)

When people think of restaurants in Arizona, they usually think of Phoenix and Scottsdale, but there are a lot of great restaurants in other cities near Phoenix, such as Glendale, Cave Creek, and even Chandler and Gilbert.  One such restaurant is located in the Historic Glendale Arizona.

Historic Glendale Arizona is the downtown district of Glendale.  This historical downtown district has over 100 antique and specialty shops; it’s a great place to shop, explore, and of course, dine.  There are many great restaurants in Historic Glendale, and I recently had the opportunity to try one for the first time. 

A few friends and I wanted to find somewhere new for dinner recently, and we had heard about a restaurant called La Piazza Al Forno so we decided to check it out.  Even if you aren’t an Arizona local, you may have seen La Piazza Al Forno on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on The Food Network.  But La Piazza is definitely not a dive; it’s a charming,  family owned Italian restaurant in the heart of old town Glendale.  

La Piazza is a small restaurant but it has a simple, cozy feel. If you’re planning on visiting La Piazza on the weekend, you should make reservations or plan on a wait because it gets busy!  The staff is very friendly; our server was helpful and attentive and made knowledgeable recommendations for food and wine on the menu.  By the way, La Piazza has a wine list that includes many selections of Italian wines.  I wasn’t familiar with all of the winemakers, but the server’s suggestions along with the wine pairing suggestions on the menu were great.  Our table tried a few different wines during dinner and all were wonderful.   

Our dinner party started with a few selections from the Antipasti menu;  Stuffed Shrimp and Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato.  The shrimp was stuffed with crab and was very fresh and a great appetizer for sharing.  We all loved the Stuffed Shrimp but agreed it could have had a little more seasoning (although I would still recommend trying it).  The Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato was fantastic; we could definitely tell that La Piazza uses real, fresh mozzarella cheese.

Now it was on to the main course.  La Piazza is most well known for their pizza, which is certified Pizza Napoletana.  This style of pizza has a thinner crust, and according to La Piazza’s website, “The history of pizza can be traced back 2,000 years to a flatbread baked in Pompeii. This is the same pizza being cooked in wood fired brick ovens in Naples today…while the square, round, extra thick or stuffed dough may be what you’re used to, it’s just not Pizza“. 

I’ll admit that I typically prefer the thick dough that La Piazza claims is “just not pizza”.  Thinner crust pizzas I’ve had in the past tend to be soggy, dry, and lacking in flavor.  But La Piazza was a different story; the crust was crisp and definitely not soggy, and had lots of flavor.  

There were lots of different pizza combinations to choose from on the menu, but lots of reviews we read about La Piazza said that the Italian Stallion was the best on the menu, so we ordered the Stallion along with a recommendation from our server for the Bianca.  The Italian Stallion is a classic meat pie with sausage, prosciutto, pepperoni and sopressata, and the Margherita is a classic made with fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and basil.  

Italian Stallion definitely lived up to the great reviews we’d seen.  The pizza was flavorful, the ingredients and sauce were fresh, and as before mentioned, the crust was fantastic.  We all loved this pizza…it was so good I kept thinking about it the next day and considered going back for another.  Bianca was good, but could have used a little more flavor, maybe more garlic or basil.  I think the next time we go to La Piazza we’ll try the Margherita or Salvatore instead.  Margherita is the classic style pizza with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and basil, and Salvatore is like the Margherita but with the addition of prosciutto.  

Although we had stuffed our faces with more pizza than we should have eaten, we noticed that everyone else in the restaurant was having the cheesecake, so we decided to share a slice to see why it was the dessert of choice for restaurant patrons.  It wasn’t hard to see why everyone ordered it…the cheesecake was amazing.  La Piazza also has several other desserts that look tasty as well, such as Tiramisu and Cannoli. 

Located in charming Old Town Glendale, La Piazza Al Forno is definitely a must try if you want great Italian food in a small, family owned restaurant.  The pizza is fantastic, the wine list is great, and the price is very reasonable for the quality of food and service you’ll receive at La Piazza.  

 

 

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