Madison pizza round-up

The alphabetical gourmands of Eating in Madison A to Z are up to  “Pizza ____.”  I recently tagged along on their visit to Pizza Oven on the West Side:  the resulting review just went up on their blog.  Seems a good time to set down some of my own thoughts on Madison pizza.

Ian’s:  Pizza without boundaries.  The experiments are exciting even when they don’t work.   I’ve blogged enough already about this cultural treasure. Today Milwaukee, tomorrow the world.  Glass Nickel is a worthy contender in the same genre — the Thai Pie, in particular, is an experiment that’s become a perfected piece of pizza technology.  Also, they have delivery trucks that run on pizza grease.

Thin crust pies.  The best is Pizza Brutta, on upper Monroe, which makes a very thin, irregular, faintly sweet crust with nice blackened bubbles around the rim.  The traditionalist to Ian’s mad scientist.  My second favorite place to eat pizza in Madison.  Try the Portabella.  Greenbush Bar and Cafe Porta Alba (just re-opened in Hilldale) have devoted followings, and are always packed, and make a good thin crust pie; but nothing to match Brutta.  Pizza Oven isn’t in the league of Greenbush and Porta Alba,  but is charming if you grew up in the suburbs in the ’70s, and you won’t need to wait for a table in this cavernous shed-like former Hooters.

Thick crust pies. I’m against thick crust pies.  I don’t even know who, if anyone, makes them here.

New York pies. The best is Casa Bianca, way out west on Junction Road.  I’m told on good authority that the proprietors are not actually New York Italians, but Macedonians who ran a pizzeria at home and kept it up when they moved to Wisconsin; and moreover that they train just-arrived Macedonian immigrants to make New York pies, then send them out to open New York pizzerias in other Midwestern cities that lack one.  Looking this up on Yelp, I see that Casa Bianca seems to have gone out of business.  But I’m leaving this up because I found the story about the Macedonian pizza entrepreneurship lab kind of heartwarming.  I guess your only choice for New York pie now is Pizza di Roma on State, which mimics the experience of getting a big floppy extra greasy slice at a no-name pizza counter in Manhattan pretty much exactly, for better or worse.

I haven’t tried and have no opinion about:  Rocky Rococo’s, Gino’s.  I’ve had mediocre Italian food at and thus have low expectations for the pizza at:  Porta Bella, Paisan’s.  I’ve had good Italian food at and thus have high expectations for the pizza at:  Osteria Papavero (lunch only) and Cafe la Bellitalia.   I am put off by the name of and thus have low expectations for the pizza at:  Pizza Extreme.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Madison pizza round-up

  1. Christine says:

    Delivery trucks that run on pizza grease is the sort of awesome thing that totally makes my day.

    And another thumbs up for Ian’s. It’s also my favorite place for a slice in Madison. I believe the one on Frances has Ian himself working there on Mondays, and I find that the crust tastes noticeably better on Mondays.

    I’m pretty anti- most of the Italian places on State Street. I find neither Porta Bella nor Tutto Pasta particularly good, nor does the look of Gino’s excite me enough to venture in. Osteria Papavero, however, is delicious for dinner as well.

  2. Frank says:

    roman candle on willy street!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 580 other followers

%d bloggers like this: