January 2006: Pizzeria Paradiso

Few people come to these simple, spare dining rooms for an evening's entertainment--they're crammed with singles, couples, and families looking for a quick and delicious pizza before heading off somewhere else.

THE SCENE. Few people come to these simple, spare dining rooms for an evening's entertainment–they're crammed with singles, couples, and families looking for a quick and delicious pizza before heading off somewhere else.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. Watching the pizza makers, who display a remarkable ability to stretch the dough to the breaking point and a keen sense of when to fetch a pie from the oven. The results are even better to behold: thin, flavorful crusts, judiciously portioned toppings, and often inspired combinations of ingredients. And few pizzas in this or any town are more dependable.

WHAT YOU WON'T. Long waits for a table at peak hours.

BEST DISHES. Set combinations–the spicy Atomica with salami and red-pepper flakes, the double-carb-loaded Genovese with potatoes and pesto, or the simple Margherita, which needs nothing other than tomato, basil, and mozzarella–are usually superior to any flavor combinations you might create on your own.

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