04 August 2009

Portland Pizza: Atomic Pizza, Apizza Scholls, and Vincente's

Over the past few weeks (and visits), I've eaten more pizza than I normally would. Which brings up a great debate: what's your favorite Portland pizza place? I've been to three (two new to me) in the last couple months. Let's review.

Atomic Pizza - www.atomic-pizza.com
I had high hopes for this place. It opened up on N. Killingsworth earlier this year, and from the looks of it, promised to be a cute neighborhood pizza place with delicious looking pies. We started with a house salad. It was presented well with lots of good toppings and a delicious dressing. A little pizza-parlouresque with the black olives and croutons, but a decent start.

Before moving on to the pizza, let me just state one thing--pizza toppings create a lot of disagreement in our house. Shawn hates the traditional pizza toppings, such as pepperoni and sausage. Since moving to Portland, though, he's more tolerant since many of the pizza places are
more upscale and a lot serve house made meats, or similar. However, that still doesn't prevent the usual argument over whether or not we get meat on our pizza. I like veggies, but I like more substance if I'm going to have toppings. We do agree on one thing: cheese pizza rules all. However, I almost never get it.

Anyway, we ordered the Arbor Lodge, which has tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, garlic, artichoke hearts, red peppers, red onion, mushrooms and black olives. The sauce was decent, although a little heavy on the oregano in my opinion, the toppings were plentiful and fresh, but the crust was lacking. It just wasn't there. My hope is that they are still figuring things out and will adjust the crust. Overall, the experience was not bad. I may try again later this year when I crave pizza and don't want to drive.

Update--found the picture!

Apizza Scholls - www.apizzascholls.com
It seems that every foodie in Portland has raved about this place since it opened. When my sister came to visit last month, she had it on a short list of restaurants left to try (well, the moderately priced ones at least). I saw a photo of one of their specialty pies in a magazine that had fresh clams (still in the shell!) on it and thought, "I must try this place." However, no fresh clams on the menu this time. No one else would've let me order it anyway.

We started with the antipasti, which was surprisingly big and very delicious. We couldn't agree on one of the menu pizzas, so we built our own. They have a rule that you can order no more than 3 items on a pizza, due to the thinness of the crust and how quickly they bake it. That was fine--made the decision much easier. We settled on mushrooms, olives, and canadian bacon (it's ham, Gina!). This was what was left by the time I remembered to take a shot:
While I might be dreaming of the crust and its crisp outer shell and tender, chewy core for the next few months, I found the whole thing to be your typical overhyped Portland restaurant. Let me say this, though: it's nothing against the restaurant. I think they do a wonderful job making a truly amazing crust. The toppings were good--it's just that sometimes in Portland, a place (person, thing, event...) gets so overhyped that it's almost impossible to fulfill expectations. I think what I'd do differently the next time I go is order the margherita pizza or with a topping that lets off less liquid than the mushrooms. The crust got a little soggy in the middle. Anyway, worth going back, but definitely not taking the title for my favorite pizza.

Vincente's - www.vincentesgourmetpizza.com
Call me old fashioned, but Vincente's on Hawthorne is still my favorite pizza in Portland. I've tried many of their pies and they've all been delicious. The crust is just right and the toppings complement each other perfectly. The atmosphere is gerat, but sitting outside isn't always pleasant as you're either right on Hawthorne or 20th (unless you really want car exhaust with your pizza). I'm willing to overlook that--at least it's shaded.

I also love the garden salad. I swear they put crack in the ranch (or maybe it's the poppy seeds...hmmm). I'm not always a fan of ranch, either, but it's different when it's made from scratch daily. I usually order the patate, lamb, n'ham pizza--besides being fun to say, there are freaking red potatoes on the pizza. And when it's accompanied with lamb sausage and prosciutto. Well, let's just say, we converted two more to the potato-on-pizza fan club this weekend when we took Shawn's parents there.

Suffice it to say, I love pizza. It's just good stuff.

Some other one-minute reviews...

Pizza Oasis
Pretty solid pizza, but there's not one pizza combination on their menu that I'm crazy about. It's always delicious, though. Only downside is that it gets really hot in the restaurant since it's an open kitchen on right on W. Burnside.

Flying Pie Pizzeria
An institution in Portland. Nice pizzas cooked very well (better calzones here than anything else, if you ask me). If it wasn't so far away now, I'd probably love it even more. Comes in a close second as my favorite. I used to live a mere 3 blocks away--that's dangerous. I really love the fact that they have an old school salad bar, too. Reminds me of Shakey's, or some place like that. Bonus: you can pick your desire crust size, if that's important.

Pizza A Go Go
What a disappointment. We ordered a cheese pizza for delivery once and by the time it got here, it was stone cold. Don't offer delivery if you can't get it here hot, or at least warm. Secondly, it was $16 and not that good. I stopped in there once during a lunch break from my CPR class at the Red Cross (a couple blocks away) and got a slice of pepperoni. It was really greasy. It tasted ok fresh from the oven, but not worth it. Best thing going for it: the kicky name and Web site.

Eh. Bad sauce--too sweet.

Goose Hollow
It's like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, it's pizza, but it's different. Fresh from the oven, it's amazing. Cold, not so good. Although, pizza is not the reason you go to Goose Hollow, it is pretty delicious, and you can order a half pizza.

Old Town
I'm not crazy about their crust, but overall, it's a pleasant enough experience. We have one on NE MLK now and the new building is pretty nice, so we'll probably go again at some point since the weather is nice and they have a wall that opens.

Pizza Schmizza

Good in a pinch. Especially great if you want to play Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (only on NW 21st ave.)

Same as above, omit the Moonwalker. Good salads, too.

Mississippi Pizza Pub
I like this place. It's always fresh and the crust is nice. The music venue is a nice touch, too.

Lucky Lab--Capitol Hill
Good beer, decent pizza.

I like it, but Shawn doesn't. Nice, thin crust. I appreciate their sustainable efforts as well.

Still waiting to try...
Ken's Artisan Pizza
Dove Vivi

Man, I've eaten a lot of pizza. That's not even all of it.


  1. Any opinion on Escape from New York Pizzeria on NW 23rd? I thought it was overhyped...

    Kathy Villalobos

  2. Yeah, not a big fan. It's ok.

  3. You have to try Garlic Jim's! It's SOOO amazing. We are in a delivery abyss for them, so we will drive over 20 minutes to pick it up and bring it home. It's so worth it.

  4. Dude--Give Pizza a Chance...it's actually a food cart on SW Salmon and 5th (I think), and is only open noon 'til 5. BUT IT'S AWESOME. Look it up--there's been reviews. I thought it was better than A Pizza Scholls. Just saying.