Nonna’s has been taunting us for months to the point that we even tried to hold off on the Stamford Pizza Tournament back in July until they opened, but to no avail. While they may have not made our summer deadline, Nonna’s is now open and serving pizza. And where there is pizza to be eaten, so too is the Stamford Pizza Tour.
Establishment. Nonna’s is a pretty by-the-book pizzeria, sporting a takeout counter, a display case full of specialty heat-to-order slices, and a pretty sizeable dining area for eat-in parties as well. The atmosphere is a bit hackneyed and confusing, melding the otherwise unfamiliar themes of classy Italian plates and artwork hanging from the walls and Hewey Lewis and the News blaring out of the speakers above them, but we were comfortable nonetheless.
Seating was ample and almost excessively private due to the cubicle-styled divider splitting the dining room in half. As a result, we felt just short of neglected, staring into our empty drink glasses as our waitress went sprinting by, stopping only to take our order (she dropped the bill in full stride). Nonna’s menu is very broad, featuring Italian specialties, pasta specials, dinner specials (countless iterations of chicken, eggplant, veal, and seafood dishes), soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps. Interestingly enough, conspicuously absent from the first menu we received was pizza, but rest assured, Nonna’s carries it in the form of traditional, gourmet, and Sicilian-style pies complemented by a charming offering of calzones and other dough-rolled, pizza-like delicacies.
Pizza. For all the knocks we had on this establishment, the pizza itself is pretty good. Our pies of choice, a plain pizza and a gourmet spicy chicken (sauceless, topped with chicken breast and sautéed hot cherry peppers) came out screaming hot (albeit not at the same time…which was weird) and were considerably larger than advertised.
The crust was dense, chewy, and flavorful with an excellent crispy bite and surprisingly faint brick oven char. We were pretty split on the sauce, as it had the clean natural sweetness and tang we’ve come to expect and was portioned almost perfectly, but it was starkly underseasoned and couldn’t exactly wow us with its bright subtleties. As advertised on the door, Nonna’s uses a healthy amount of Grande brand mozzarella cheese which, with its a creamy flavor and stringy snap, complemented this pie very well.
Nonna’s really sets itself apart with its dedication to freakishly overtopping its pizzas with excellent gourmet toppings to the point that it’s almost comical but still greatly appreciated. Every square inch of our spicy chicken pie was covered with chicken and red peppers, and was packed to the brim with amazing flavor for a slow, spicy burn in conjunction with the smooth, creamy cheese. All in all, a very good pie.
The bottom line. If you can get past the inherent strangeness of the service atmosphere as a whole, Nonna’s certainly delivers with a very big, very good pizza, and very flavorful gourmet topping options.
Hits the Spot: 7.8/10
Large Cheese: $12.95