Every year around this time, the Stamford Pizza Tour wakes from its slumber to give you its take on a few new pizzerias in our fair City that Works. Of course, this year (technically last year) will be no different. We give you, a mere two months after its doors opened, La Bellezza Pizza Restaurant.
Allow us to take you back to a kinder, gentler time: a few weeks ago, when the holiday spirit still carried some weight, strangers spouted “Merry Christmas” at passers-by, and the lighting in a certain pizzeria made all of our pictures completely unusable, save for this next shot of an elaborate cave manger scene outside the front door.
Establishment. With deep roots in the New York pizza scene, La Bellezza takes its act from the streets of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn (home of some of the best pies on the face of the earth) to its new location on Atlantic Street in Stamford. La Bellezza struck us as a charming little place with a handful of tables, a welcoming staff, and rich, wooden furniture that would make Ron Burgundy blush.
Between the brick, the chalkboard menu, and the bright, open, counter service kitchen, this was as New York a pizzeria as they come—save for the whole “being in Connecticut” thing. The service was prompt, courteous, and extra attentive being as we were the only party in the restaurant at the time. That said, their menu was complete with what one would expect of a pizzeria and then some, including dinners, sandwiches, a surprising wine selection, and of course, pizza.
Pizza. As usual, our two pizzas were a plain cheese, and one with sausage. The pies came to the table steaming hot and were doled out by the slice to each undercover judge by our waiter, fully unaware that he was about to pose his pie in one of the less flattering food shots we’ve ever published.
Abysmal washout and color temperatures aside, this was actually a pretty good pie. The pizza’s thin crust held up reasonably well to a healthy amount of creamy, stringy cheese with its dense, yeasty bite; at the end of the day it wasn’t all that easy to keep this one from slip sliding away, though. The quality and quantity of La Bellezza’s cheese—while sacrificing something by way of texture—kept this pizza steaming hot until we had demolished the whole thing (we’ll be the first to tell you that there’s nothing more taxing than trying to finish a pizza that’s devolved into a gob of cooled cheese).
Cheese points notwithstanding, the sauce didn’t blow us away. Its subtleties were a bit too subtle, and there was really nothing there—good or bad—to go by. Fortunately, both their topping selection and specialty pizza offerings were quite good, making up for lost ground on La Bellezza’s shortcomings.
Bottom line. La Bellezza is a friendly, personable place to grab a pretty decent pie in an unfortunate area that doesn’t get a ton of foot traffic; welcome these guys to town, they’ll be happy to serve you.
Hits the Spot: 7.8/10
Large cheese: $12.00