I was doing research for my trip to Phoenix for the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. And someone suggested this place to me as the “crown jewel of Phoenix dining”. I get really worried when someone whom I don’t know very well tells me something like this because it’s impossible to tell the development of one’s palate. So I did what any Yelp!er would do, go on Yelp! and see what everyone thinks. And it didn’t take long for me to see that when it comes to Pizzeria Bianco the thin line between love and hate was clearly drawn around the wait time. Similar to the law of diminishing returns in economics, I am a firm believer that there comes a point in time where eventually no matter how good the food you’re waiting for is – it’s just simply not worth the wait.
I think this really comes down to how much do you like pizza. If you think that Papa John’s or Domino’s makes the perfect pizza, I can pretty much tell you that you probably don’t want to wait anymore than 30 minutes for this place. BUT if you’re foodie and you can appreciate the art of pizza making in a wood burning oven, this will be 3.5 hours well spent.
Seeing how Ed Levine wrote an article in the New York Times about Pizzeria Bianco titled “The Road to Pizza Nirvana goes through Phoenix”, I was pretty settled on trying this place out no matter how long it takes. I got there about 45 minutes before dinner service (5pm-10pm, Tues. – Sat.) and was greeted by a line of about 50 people outside the restaurant. Once dinner service begun, the hostess took our name down on “the list” and estimated that it’d be about 3-3.5 hours from there (once you get your name on “the list” you can go on with your life as long as you call and check in about every hour).
I checked back an hour later and the hostess told me that they were running ahead of schedule for 2 tops that night and that I should close out my tab at the pub across the street and head back to the pizzeria. So when we finally got seated, my buddy and I was HUNGRY (you can do a lot of damage with a nice simple menu in front of you when you’re hungry). we decided to start things off with the antipasto plate and then we ordered the “Biancoverde”, the “Wiseguy”, & also the “Margherita”.
The Antipasto plate was solid. For the price, I’d say that it was about the right size. The ingredients were FRESH. The olive oil was very tasty. The “Wiseguy” pizza was alright. While the pizza was solid, nothing about this particular one stuck out to me. The “Biancoverde”, however, was pretty much fail proof because we added prosciutto ($4) to it. The first thing I noticed about that pizza was that the ENTIRE pizza was covered with prosciutto. As I took my first bite, the fresh mozzarella REALLY stuck out – it made the biggest difference in the world. The “Margherita” was also solid – the tomato sauce was superb. I think the key here was to order the right things. For example, I was most impressed with the Biancoverde, but if it wasn’t for the prosciutto that we added, I don’t know if I’d still feel the same way. Don’t be shy about adding things to the pizza – you’ve already waited so long in line, treat yourself the a pizza the way you want it!! =)
I think what makes Pizzeria Bianco a hit is that besides how they really use pretty quality ingredients, their crust is simply superb. It’s got a perfect hint of the smoke aroma from the fire and also the perfect balance between the crunchy outer crust and the soft inner crust.
While I can say without a doubt that the pizza at Pizzeria Bianco is awesome, I would hesitate to recommend this place to everyone. Like I said earlier, if you consider yourself a foodie, don’t do yourself a disservice by skipping out on this place because of the wait time. It’s like the saying that “where there’s smoke there’s fire”, for ANY restaurant that can tell people to wait 3 hours for food and only do dinner service 5 days of the week while having only about 12 tables inside… you know that you’re either onto something or this is the greatest scam in the US of A…
If you’re on the fence about this place still, try this place with a party of no more than 2. The party of 3 that was literally right behind us in line before the open was still not seated when I was leaving the restaurant (that’s after an appetizer and 3 pizzas!!!)
623 E Adams St
Phoenix, AZ 85004