By LeeAnn Sharpe
La Piazza Al Forno Gourmet Brick Oven Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen, 5803 W. Glendale Ave., in Historic Downtown Glendale. 623-847-3301 Hours Mon-Thur Lunch 11am-3pm Dinner 5pm-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9pm Select Sundays. Website: www.lapiazzaalforno.blogspot.com
Their menu states, “Our passion is crafting delicious Italian meals using simple time honored recipes… Just like the original Pizzerias and Trattorias of Italy, La Piazza is a place for friends and family to gather for good food.”
It was just by chance that my friends and I ended up at La Piazza. But what a fortuitous chance that was. Just south of Murphy Park at 58th Ave & Glendale, it’s tucked away in an almost hidden store front. The food was excellent and the people very friendly. And the prices were very moderate with generous portions.
We all started off with a side salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cheese and cucumbers with a nice Italian dressing, $3. A basket of Italian Bread was $1.50. They offer a short beer and wine list. We had a nice house red wine $5.25 glass. They also offer Calamari $7, Shrimp $7, and Bruschette $3 for Appetizers and a good variety of salads as well.
My favorite has always been Chicken Marsala and its one dish I always compare at any new Italian restaurant. The Chicken Marsala is a grilled chicken breast topped with mushrooms in a Marsala Wine Sauce with a side of pasta $10. It was delicious and large enough serving to make two meals. It made a great lunch the next day!
Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce $7 or with Meatballs or Italian Sausage $9, both were tasty and filling. My friend is sensitive to too spicy foods, but enjoyed the meatballs saying they were just right. Just like Momma used to make! Another had the Italian Sausage and was very pleased with the taste and texture. Some places are too greasy, but these were perfect and flavorful.
The menu offers Ravioli $8, Parmigiano $8, Scampi $12, Linguine $10, Rigatoni $10, Lasagna $9, and Fettuccine Alfredo $8, as you would expect from any respectable Italian restaurant. They offer a selection of sandwiches including Meatball $6, Sausage & Peppers $6 and The Godfather $6.
But saving the best for last, you have to try their pizza! The wood fueled brick oven pizza brings you back to the classic pizza of years past. The crust has texture, volume and flavor to it and is crispy and tasty. Fresh ingredients like mozzarella, ricotta, basil and garlic generously top a pie you can pick up in your hand and feel some weight. They offer a nice menu of “Specialty Pizzas” with a wide selection of traditional (not designer) toppings for only $11 for the 14” to $17 for the 16”. If you want a pizza with real taste, check this one out. It’s a real treat after too many plastic and cardboard tasting pizzas the chains serve up. Now that I’m spoiled for good pizza, it will have to be La Piazza’a!
A family operation, La Piazza Al Forno owned by the Piazzas, (Justin, Rachel, Dennis, Anita and the kids), will make you enjoy family dinners out without breaking the bank and in an atmosphere you will feel comfortable. And the food will make you smile as much as the company!