It was Friday night, and Andrew and I had both had horrible days. I was out participating in some much needed retail therapy at the Bellevue Nordstrom, and Andrew came to meet me after work. Though we had originally planned on making steak for dinner, neither of us were up for cooking and we were pretty hungry. We were walking around aimlessly looking for fuel when we stumbled upon Pagliacci Pizza. We had never heard of it, but it smelled good, so we headed in to try it out.
In general, we had determined that we wouldn’t write about chains much on Best Quest, unless they really were superior. Pagliacci doesn’t appear to exist outside of Washington, but there are several locations within. That being said, we thought it was pretty good, and figured we may as well report our findings and add it to our Pizza Challenge.
Crust: The crust was great! It was hand-tossed (as opposed to thin or deep dish), and deliciously fluffy. I really enjoyed it.
Cheese/toppings: We tried two different kinds of pizza–the Pesto Primo (fontina, ricotta, mozzarella, imported peppers and pesto on an olive oil, garlic sauce) without the peppers, and the Spinach and Chicken (chicken, mushrooms and mozzarella on an olive oil base seasoned with garlic and red chili pepper flakes, finished with spinach after bake) without mushrooms or chili pepper flakes. They were both good! Neither of us could pick a favorite. The spinach and chicken was very garlicy, which we loved, but the pesto also had excellent flavor combinations.
Sauce: As you can see, both of the pizzas we ordered didn’t actually have sauce, aside from garlic/oil, which was great with the pizzas we ordered. We did try the marinara with the breadsticks, which was very good. It was well seasoned and not over-poweringly tomatoy, which we appreciate given that neither of us are crazy about tomatoes.
Sides (quality of breadsticks, salads, etc.): Andrew and I tried the breadsticks, which were from Macrina Bakery, which apparently is a “thing” in Seattle. We got the order of 6, which was way too many (but we thought the order of 2 seemed like not enough…but it probably would have been an appropriate appetizer size). They were only okay. Not great, not awful. They had a bit of cheese on them, and were kind of fluffy…but more like bread than pizza crust, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure I’d order them again.
Variety Offered/Originality of Pizzas: BIG menu! They have tons of interesting topping combinations, and you also have the ability to create your own pizza. We appreciated that. I will say that bacon wasn’t a topping option, which we were sad about, but they DID offer Salumi Salami, which we LOVE.
Ambiance/atmosphere: It was your typical family pizzeria. It certainly wasn’t as mod or classy as Tutta Bella; it was louder and more casual. But it was fine.
Notes: I also ordered a strawberry lemonade, which had the actual strawberries in it and which was DELICIOUS. It may have been one of the best strawberry lemonades I’ve ever had. We also appreciated their use of local items on the menu, like the breadsticks from Macrina and the Salumi Salami.
The Bottom Line: ★★★☆☆
Note that though both this and Tutta Bella show 3 stars, Tutta Bella actually only got a 2.5, so I would rate this one higher. Though it doesn’t feel as classy, Andrew and I agreed that the crust and red sauce were better, and I also liked the pizza options much better. We also thought the breadsticks still edged out Tutta Bella’s bland (meat) balls. We figured we would go back if we were around, but a 3 is hardly high enough for us to go out of our way for it…and there are a LOT of interesting restaurants in Bellevue to try!