I moved to Phoenix from San Diego about seven years ago and have been in search of a truly GREAT pizza ever since. The thing about the “Valley” is that while there are many places to be seen, have a decent pizza (Grimaldi’s & Le Grande Orange are notable) or wait in line for several hours for a “good” pie (not even going to go there), I haven’t really come across a truly great pie.
While watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives a while back I saw the story on La Piazza Al Forno in Glendale and immediately got into the car for a little drive. Located in the Historic Downtown district, Piazza Al Forno is a modest storefront pizzeria with few tables and a counter with a view of the pizza oven.
The menu is quite simple but has everything you on it that you need. My dining companion ordered the Pizza Verde (Veggie Pie), a hand stretched pizza covered in San Marzano Tomatoes, House Made Mozzarella, Roasted Peppers, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Olives and Fresh Arugula ($12) which she indicated was quite good.
The “Italian Stallion” caught my eye with its mix of San Marzano Tomatoes, House Made Mozzarella, Schreiners
Sausage, Pepperoni, Prosciuttodi Parma and Sopressata ($13), so ride the horse I did! The pizza arrived hot and bubbling with just the right amount of cheese (Americans cant seem to grasp that a great pizza doesn’t need to be covered in an inch of it) and a perfectly crisp crust with that slightly chewy texture that I know and love. The meats gave my pie a bit of saltiness that my companion didn’t like and she seemed to think it was a bit greasy but to me, it was manna from heaven!