Now in its 20th year, Pizzeria Paradiso has been a hit since its first location opened in 1991. It’s been a mainstay on our Cheap Eats list for several years and was the winner of our 2009 Pizza Pool.
This week’s registered dietitian, Carole Havrila, understands the hype.
“I can see why this place is popular—the pizzas have really healthy toppings, and the salads are fantastic,” she says. “I want to eat here.”
Although Pizzeria Paradiso offers fresh ingredients and even fiber-rich whole-wheat crust at no additional cost, there are still a few less-than-nutritious options you might want to skip. Check out Havrila’s recommendations.
• Worst—Macellaio: The name means “butcher” in Italian, which explains why this pizza is basically meat, onions, and sauce. “Pepperoni and sausage are high-fat meats, and Paradiso probably uses high-quality mozzarella, so it’s not going to be low-fat,” Havrila says.
• Better—Bosco: This vegetarian pie includes tomato, spinach, mushrooms, and red onions on top of mozzarella. We all know spinach is a superfood, and mushrooms have great health benefits, as well. Our expert says, “If you get it on a wheat crust, you’ll make it even better.”
• Best—Siciliana: Paradiso’s standard round Siciliana pizza piles on veggies and herbs, including zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, capers, and oregano. Although it includes two fatty cheeses (pecorino and mozzarella), it also has more vegetable toppings than any other pizza. And if you enjoy it on whole wheat, it’s one of the most well-rounded meals at Paradiso.
BONUS: INSALATA & PANINI
Paradiso serves four salads and two panini. Our expert approves most of them, with the exception of one panino.
“I work with cancer patients, so I’m always talking about the best fruits and vegetables, and [these salads] are all rich in foods I tell them to eat,” Havrila says.
Our expert says that for lunch, she’d order the Insalata Italiana for its mix of nutrient-rich veggies (artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and greens) and satiating white beans. Just be sure to keep the dressing on the side—unless you go for the Insalata Paradiso, another decent choice that’s topped with a light but flavorful citrus vinaigrette.
As for the panini, Havrila says the serving size might be more problematic than the cheese. “Panini do get a bad rap, [and] usually they’re a big as a plate,” she explains. “If [Paradiso’s] are that large, you have to decide whether to split it with someone or take half home.”
If you do opt for a panino, Havrila says the Panino Formaggi might be your best bet—the Grosso is made up of several meats.
Additional tips to ensure a wholesome lunch at this upscale pizzeria include opting for the veggie-based pizzas and putting them on a wheat crust for extra fiber, enjoying dressings on the side, and limiting your meals to one or two slices.