Saturday, February 13, 2010

La Piazza Al Forno

Located in Downtown Historic Glendale, Arizona, La Piazza Al Forno is an Italian restaurant that specializes in wood-fired pizzas. It was featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

We ate there before going to the Glendale Chocolate Affaire (read that post here). It was located right across from the park, and there was an outdoor seating area that would be a wonderful place to people-watch and enjoy the awesome winter weather. It was a small, simple place, and had the brick oven right in the middle of the room.

(As an example of how small the place is - we were seated at a two-person table against the wall, opposite the brick oven. It was previously set up as a four-person table, but they split the two, by moving one table away, to make 2, two-person tables. We were seated and our server came over to get our drink orders. The space was so tight, there was literally just enough room for her to fit between the two tables. Then, another couple was seated at the table next to us. They got comfortable and proceeded to move their table about a foot closer to us, saying they just wanted to get out of the aisle. Well, that prevented our server from having enough room to get to us. So, for the rest of the dinner, we handed her our glasses for drink refills, and she handed them back, and she handed us our food instead of placing it on the table. It was different, and I certainly did not mind. I understood. But, I felt bad for our server. She did the best she could without making the couple move their table back. I guess the point of that story - besides trying to illustrate how small the place is - is don't move your table. It is there for a reason. If you don't like it, perhaps you should politely request another table and be seated somewhere else.)

Anyway, back to the food. On the DDD show, they featured a dish called "Baked Spaghetti Pie", and Guy raved about it, if I recall correctly. So, we ordered that dish to split between us, along with a calamari appetizer. Now, I enjoy Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Guy Fieri cracks me up! I wonder if we have very different tastes though, because I did not think the baked spaghetti pie was anything to feature. It was not very crunchy or crusty, like I think most baked things would be. It was not gooey with cheese. There was a very gooey glob of cheese right on top, but that was it. And, at one point, the sauce reminded me of the canned Chef Boyardee I used to have as a kid. I know! It doesn't sound so great. It really was just spaghetti, formed into a square. Pretty plain and nothing special. We added some black pepper, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, and it was better. My expectations may have been too high, since it was featured on the DDD show, and he thought it was great. Guy and I will have to disagree on this one.

The calamari wasn't bad, but I thought the breading was kinda bland. But, the calamari was prepared well and the dipping sauce was tasty.

When - and if - we go back to La Piazza Al Forno, I think we'll order a pizza. That is what they specialize in and that is what they have received awards and recognition for, so it is probably what they do best. You can check their reviews from their website, by clicking here.

(I give it 2 smiles out of 5.)

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