Anyone up for a slice?
Published March 29, 2012
Pizza may not be a new and unusual food, but it is guaranteed to please everyone. Palo Alto Pizza Company, which opened recently on Park Boulevard, lives up to expectations in both pizza and atmosphere.
Open 11 a.m. through 9 p.m., seven days a week, the Pizza Company satisfies without over-estimating itself. Located just off of California Avenue, this new restaurant offers a healthy salad bar, a good selection of pizzas and pizza by the slice.
The place is small, very clean and well-laid-out. Upon entering, one is greeted by a stack of trays and a salad bar of ample selection. Jazz music plays overhead, creating a sophisticated feel while also appealing to a wider variety of customers.
The restaurant is inviting, well-lit and not overly crowded. It is small but well-spaced, and creates a comfortable, homey feel.
The restaurant sports typical pizza parlor decor: wood-paneled walls on one side, silver metal ceiling with large heating pipes and bright red painted walls on the other. There are five flat-screen TVs which feature a variety of sports with muted volume.
On our last visit, we arrived for a Saturday lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find the place was not crowded. We chose to try the Lunch Special which included a slice of pizza, small salad and a soda for $7.99.
The salad bar had a wide selection: mixed romaine lettuce, garbanzo and kidney beans, sliced red onion, sliced tomatoes, jalapenos, chopped beets and carrots, corn, black olives, sliced chicken and pineapple. In addition, it offered a good variety of dressings.
Slightly disappointing was that the restaurant only offered single slices in cheese, pepperoni and combo pizza. Even so, we tried all three.
The pizza is freshly baked upon order and is thick-crusted. The cheese and pepperoni were equally satisfying; both had a good crunchy crust. The pepperoni was decent and cut in wide slices, and although there was enough tomato sauce to keep one going, there could have been a bit more. However, a plus was that the pizza was not greasy.
The combo pizza was a bit disappointing. Although it tasted good, the toppings were scarce. One slice contained a few slices of green bell pepper, some pepperoni, cheese, tomato sauce and sausage of average quality. Although this may seem like a fulfilling amount of toppings, the pizza lacked onions, and the peppers were insufficient.
On the other hand, the salads were satisfactory, tasted fresh and had good flavor. If purchased alone, a salad costs $4.25 for a small and $6.45 for a large. The salad bar adds another option to the menu, giving the place greater depth and variety.
On a past dinner occasion, the restaurant was filled with bustling people, but we were able to get a table nonetheless. The atmosphere is darker and more active at dinner time, but no less enjoyable than during the day.
We came in a group of four and decided to try a large 14-inch pizza, which turned out to be the right amount. The place offers 16 different pizzas, all of which come in three sizes, ranging from $10.95 to $23.45 depending on the toppings, kind and size. Six different vegetarian pizzas are offered, as well as two pizzas with thin crust. The restaurant additionally offers gluten-free pizza. Many of the pizzas have Palo Alto related names: The Cardinal, The Luck, El Palo Alto, The Woods and California Ave, which give the place a local vibe.
The Cardinal ($22.45 lg), the top pizza on the menu, arrived at our table still steaming from the oven. It consisted of a generous amount of toppings: pepperoni, red onions, green bell peppers, mushrooms, Italian sausage, cheese and tomato sauce. The pizza was generally fulfilling; the only thing it lacked was enough tomato sauce. Otherwise, it had a nice crust and good flavor.
As far as drinks go, the Pizza Company certainly has a good selection. For adults, there are eight beers on draft and a large display of wine. In addition, there is an average-sized soda fountain, and regular and chocolate milk are also available.
The restaurant exceeds expectations in pizza, salad and drink.
A minor downside is the limited selection of starters. The only starters offered are two kinds of chicken wings and breadsticks.
Speaking of the wings — not a good idea. The Spicy Wings ($10.95) don a sticky orange sauce and lack the spiciness they claim to have. They are also soggy and have a bizarre, bland and rather unsatisfying flavor.
But don’t let the quality of the wings bring you down. As a whole, the Palo Alto Pizza Company offers quality, convenient, and generally inexpensive pizza and salads. The place is clean, well laid-out, and has a friendly atmosphere. It has been an enjoyable and comfortable experience and is great for grabbing a good lunch or for dinners with family or friends.
The restaurant is small, so it wouldn’t be a place for a huge party, but it is fine in small groups. The food is satisfying and the service is good.
The Pizza Company meets expectations for a pizza place and in some areas exceeds them.
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