Phoenix, AZ: Home of the country's best pizza?6:56 PM
New York is known for their pizza. Chicago is famous for their deep-dish style. And Phoenix? Best pizza in the entire U.S. of A? According to Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Gourmet, Mario Batali and Oprah just to name a humble few, the answer is yes. So I had to find out for myself on a recent trip to Phoenix.
Chris Bianco, owner of Pizzeria Bianco has been serving up his critically-acclaimed pie since 1996. Located in Heritage Square, Pizzeria Bianco is nestled next to family-friendly spots such as the Arizona Science Center, Arizona Doll and Toy Museum and the Phoenix Family Museum. With only a handful of tables, I've read that wait-times can be ridiculous (like four hours!). Thankfully we arrived right after the lunch rush so did not have to wait to be seated.
The exposed brick and dark wood give the restaurant a cozy, casual but sophisticated vibe (read: not your hole-in-the-wall-mom-and-pop joint). I sat facing the brick oven tucked in the corner, watching staff stretch, toss and shuffle pizzas in and out of the oven. The smells were heavenly.
Our server was very friendly and promptly brought us drinks and answered all of our questions. Pizzeria Bianco's menu is small - which I welcomed as I'm terrible at making up my mind when it comes to eating out. The menu consisted of two small plates (apps), three salads, six pizzas and a handful of extras. We ended up ordering local organic greens with red wine vinaigrette, the Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil) and Wiseguy (wood roasted onion, house smoked mozzarella and fennel sausage).
The salad was perfectly dressed and the greens were crisp and fresh. It was a pretty simple salad... maybe too simple if it were not for the yummiest olives I have ever eaten.
The classic Margherita was, as my 6 year-old put it, "too good." The crust was cooked to perfection. And the ingredients were fresh and delicious. Everything was perfectly balanced.
The Wiseguy is a white pizza. I'm usually not a fan of white pizzas, but this pie has made me a convert. Everything was cooked to perfection and there was not one topping that overpowered another.
My only complaint: it can be pricey. It only comes in one size - personal sized which is about six small slices. The price: $12-$16 for one pizza. My sister ordered anchovies on the side ($5). We got charged an extra dollar for having it on the side instead of a topping (a fair price in my book to keep those things off my plate). I guess with pizza aficionados coming from all corners of the country and proclaiming it to be the best pizza, you can charge whatever you like.
I do not claim to be one of those pizza aficionados, so really not in position to categorically proclaim it to be the best pizza in the country. I will say it was definitely the best pizza I've had so far. Or as my son put it, it was "too good."