A Stamford fixture for almost 30 years (over 20 in its current location on Cove Road), Emilia's Italian Deli & Pizza is a family run deli and pizzeria. Open until 7ish (some days until 8, some until 6...call ahead), Emilia's touts "the BEST Italian food in town," and while we can't speak for their pasta dishes and catering, we're certainly in the position to judge their pizza.
Establishment. Emilia's is, in essence, a deli with a pizza oven. We walked into a moderately sized, bright room with various coolers (of both the drink and ice cream persuasions), a deli counter and little else. Expect no more and no less from this establishment, it is what it is. That said, we were rather impressed with their abundant seating (especially compared to most delis), cleanliness, and fine selection of motorcycle magazines to peruse as we were waiting for our food. Emilia's service (Emilia and company) was extraordinarily attentive and personable, possibly because we were the only ones there at the time but more likely because that's how good family restaurants are run. Additionally, their menu is very enticing, but limited to deli specialties such as sandwiches, hot wedges, pasta dishes, salads, and antipastos, as well as both traditional and specialty versions of "Emilia's Famous Pizza."
Pizza. We really liked this pizza. Aside from being one of the better deals in town ($9 for a whopping 18" monstrosity), Emilia's pizza delivers a very original, homegrown taste that smacks of traditional Italian flavors. Their crust was incredibly unique with a crisp base, a crunchy but chewy and airy consistency, and light sourdough notes. Complementing this flavor very well was an abundance of tasty, stringy cheese that wasn't at all greasy but did unfortunately congeal into a thick slab a bit faster than we would have preferred. Another knock against this pie was the utter lack of sauce; what we could taste of it didn't disappoint as it was fresh and simple, but there just wasn't enough on the pizza to carry any substance or play a larger a role than separating the cheese from the crust. However, our topping of choice, sliced meatballs, was extraordinarily substantial, finding its origins as an actual whole meatball (rather than a sprinkling of ground beef masquerading as one) and seasoned to perfection. All in all, this was a very good pizza marred only by the lack of sauce (or excess of cheese?) with a flavor and texture that more than made up for it.
The bottom line. Emilia's is a deli, dressed up with just enough accommodations to pass as a restaurant, but their pizza is excellent and definitely worth trying for lunch or an early dinner, especially given their extremely reasonable prices.
Hits the Spot: 7.3/10
Large Cheese: $9.00 (18")
2009 – Best Bang for Your Buck