Now That’s Italian

Late in the nineteenth century, Italian immigrants poured into Stamford, attracted by plentiful skilled trade work to be found at the factories and on the wharves, and later during the twentieth century, in building the highway system. Families thrived and became an integral part of the community. One of the present-day bonuses is there is enough authentic Italian food here to make you think you were in the fabled country itself.

Destinations that will keep your Open Table account working overtime:

Open and family-run since 1947, Pellicci’s is the essence of Stamford Italian, the nonna to them all.

Café Silvium, Aria and Villa Italia also offer traditional, hearty Old World cuisine.

Quattro Pazzi, Bar Rosso and Madonia feature modern Mediterranean interpretations of classic dishes while Columbus Park Trattoria offers regional and national fare for your next special occasion.

Cotto Wine Bar serves up a rustic, Roman menu, as does the sidewalk hot spot, Capriccio Café, while Table 104 Osteria-Bar and Siena Ristorante will transport you to Tuscany.

Misto is home to Italian street food while ZaZa Italian Gastrobar is where many go to share from its lengthy small-plate menu.

Slices of Heaven

“[Remo’s] pizzas are not oily, and they use fresh ingredients, especially for my favorite Margherita, which requires fresh basil and garlic. Yummy.” Gilda Axtiotaxis home cook

“The [Pellicci’s] crust is always cooked to perfection. As for toppings, I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy. I love meatballs or sausage. Pellicci’s makes the best meatballs in town.” Lou Sabini film historian

Riko’s has won my heart, especially [its] chicken sausage mushrooms and spinach on a thin crust; it is a monthly must-have.” Carol Shwidock owner, Harmony Yoga

Hope Pizza

Order a pie, any pie, from HOPE STREET pizza for pick-up. I dare you—no, I triple-dog dare you—to try driving all the way home without snacking on one of the teeny corner pieces, hot from the oven and heavy on their signature Greek-style flaky crust of butter and heaven. Resistance is futile just as fusili is pasta. Kevin McKeever columnist, Stamford Magazine

Coalhouse Pizza! Tons of unique flavors. Get a half-and-half pizza to try as many as possible!” Colleen Crowley assistant editor, Moffly Media

Original Pappas Pizza on Columbus Park. Having had pizza almost every Sunday for more than thirty years, we’ve tried everyone in town, and [Pappas] is by far the best. Garlic and crispy bacon are my favorites.” Arthur Selkowitz chairman, Mill River Collaborative

“By far, my favorite pizza place is Belltown Pizza. As a NYC transplant, [it has] the absolute best NYC-style pizza with a phenomenal red sauce, and are one of the rare places in town where you can get pizza by the slice.”  Jamie Krug writer and blogger

“I’ve been eating [at Mario the Baker] for forty-plus years. You have to try the chicken scarpariello.” Michael Lazarus dentist

“The hot oil pizza at Colony Grill is truly one of a kind, despite the claims of imitators— and you know who you are! It’s a medium-sized bar pizza with a very thin, crispy crust that’s drizzled with chili-infused oil. Sensational! And the dive bar atmosphere is a plus.”  William Squier playwright and lyricist

The onion and black olive pie from Michelinas.” Susan Nabel, member, Board of Representatives, 20th district

Ciao Down

That just covers some of the pie landscape. Other pizza places not to miss include: (And please don’t shoot the messenger if we didn’t include your favorite.)

Amore Cucina & Bar

Amore Cucina & Bar, which boasts six-time World Pizza Champion/ Food Network chef Bruno DiFabio using old-time methods in gas-fired and wood-fired ovens. Down the street, DiFabio also opened Bronx House Pizza, a classic New York-style joint.

Fortina’s chef Christian Petroni is another Food Network star who brings love of his family traditions to every pie he makes.

John the Baker, Springdale Pizza and Sorrento are old-school Stamford places where you go when you want some garlic-flavored love. Nick’s Pizza offers it too, and it also throws in Neapolitan pies. (A little off-the-topic, but Nick’s garlic knots will make you want a moment alone with them.)

Pappa’s Pizzeria on Hope Street (not to be confused with the one downtown) will get your Greek on.

At T’s Pizza Kitchen, you must go for the thick-crusted Sicilian style.

Choose between traditional (shredded mozzarella) or Old World-style (fresh mozzarella) at Tomato Tomato. After you have the Harbor Drive (spicy sausage, mascarpone, jalapeños, honey), you may ask yourself, “Why did I just do that?” And the only answer will be: “Because it was so good.”