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Monday, August 16, 2010

Claudio's Pizzeria and Ristorante

Chef Claudio

My friend Tom has been talking up Claudio's since his first trip there a couple of weeks ago. While he went with a group that Claudio designed and prepared a special menu for, the regular menu includes panini sandwiches, soups, salads, and a nice variety of pasta dishes. In addition, they prepare pizza.

Stacy and I were visiting at Tom's house and of course he was able to convince me to go just to try the pizza! Off we went...

First of all, this place is in a garage. I mean it. As you walk in, there is a small bar area (byob) on the left and maybe six or eight tables. You can still see the garage door in the dining room, but don't let it bother you, this place is neat and clean! All the tables were taken (at 4:00 on a Sunday) so we sat at the bar and popped open a couple of cold ones that we had brought along. Almost immediately, Claudio came over and introduced himself and chatted, in between pulling fresh baked bread from the oven. He explained that his main business is catering, and that he had been the owner of the popular Abruzzi's on the South Side.

We were served some of that great homemade bread, and ordered some banana peppers to snack on. For pizza, they serve a Napolitano (thin round) and a Focaccio (thicker, square cut). While both looked great, we settled on a Napolitano (16" for $9.99). Pizza lovers all have strong opinions about their favorites, but let me tell you, this is good! The crust was thin and crunchy, with a slight burn on the bottom as if it came from a brick oven. The sauce was tasty and cheese and toppings were top notch. Now I'm not saying that this is my favorite (I'll stick with Franks!) but this is one of the best. I think that this pie will appeal to those that love traditional brick oven style with top quality ingredients. If you like il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebo, you should try this!

Claudio's is at 1883 Painters Run Road in the South Hills.

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