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Everyone in the know knows Connecticut has the best pizza.
It’s a simple fact.
While it usually boils down to a debate between which of the New Haven “Big Three” folks prefer, Pepe’s, Sally’s or Modern (Pepe’s for me!), something that often gets overlooked is that you can go anywhere in the state and get a great pie!
Colony in Stamford. Beverly in Bridgeport. Country in Monroe. Zois in Seymour. It’s hard to find a bad CT slice.
But one of our more underrated pizza places is Zuppardi’s Apizza in West Haven…
Yes, it’s not “pizza”, it’s “apizza”!
Opened in 1934, Zuppardi’s has long been overshadowed by its New Haven cousins just up the road. But many Connecticutians will argue that Zuppardi’s pies, especially their clam pies, are just as good, if not better, than their regional rivals.
My family usually zooms right by the Zuppardi’s exit as we drive up to Pepe’s, but last month my brother and I stopped off in West Haven to get a long overdue taste of their acclaimed apizza.
We went with three pies to make sure we got the full Zuppardi’s experience in…
First up was the Zuppardi’s Special with mozzarella, homemade fennel sausage and mushrooms, a combination we have both loved since we were kids…
Fabulous! Better than most any other sausage & mushroom pizza we could think of. Not a bad way to start… but things just got better from here!
Next up was the pizza we came for, Zuppardi’s fresh clam pie…
While most of the New Haven pizza joints shuck all their clams in the morning in one shot, Zuppardi’s claim to fame is that their clams are shucked-to-order and places on your pizza as they make it. Here’s them making ours…
This way you get the freshest clams possible…
As well as a little extra clam juice on your pie that seeps into the crust as it bakes…
Such a brilliant, briny slice…
However, as fantastic as the first two pizzas were, our favorite pizza of the day, and what is now quite possibly my favorite pizza in all of Connecticut, was Zuppardi’s Spicy Shrimp Casino pizza!!
It was actually my sister-in-law who wanted to try this one, and boy, are we glad we listened to her!! Not a day has gone by where I have not thought of this pizza…
Fresh caught shrimp, bacon, hot cherry peppers, mozzarella and garlic… this is the pizza of the Gods! Spicy, salty, porky, cheesy, seafoody… all on top of that crispy, crunchy thin crust… this combo hits every flavor and texture you could possibly want in a single bite of a slice! Simply superb!!
After this eye-opening eating experience at Zuppardi’s Apizza, my family might be veering off I-95 a little earlier in West Haven more often when we want great pizza from now!
I wish I had a eloquent speech prepared for what has turned out to be one of the most preeminent days of all my visits here to earth… for today is the day that I met Anthony’s 24 inch pizza.
First off I would like to thank the earth-family I stay with for suggesting the location of where I could find such a magnificent amalgamation of dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Second, to my future cardiologist on the Death Star… please send my bill to said earth-family.
As far as I’m concerned, the only slice worth ordering at Best Pizza is the white one, which is pictured above. The caramelized onions are the highlight. There’s ricotta on there, but it doesn’t really do much for me. Toasted sesame is a nice touch. There’s not a lot of strong pizza competition in Williamsburg, so this place still rates pretty well (if you live on the south side, try Patrizia’s)
I have to say the pizza here is some of the most overpriced that I know of..was $7 for one plain and a white (yeah its ‘nice’ or whatever, but not 'nice’ enough), furthermore the slices are lacking any kind of substantiality. Unless you have a very small appetite, 2 slices is never enough. (You can see above how thin it is.)
They play 90s hip hop always, which I like, but seems gimmicky and possibly in need of deeper analysis. Don’t look at me to do it, I’m not gonna.
There’s enough hype about Pizzeria Libretto to generate a line outside its doors before opening at 4pm on a Sunday. Camping out at Fishbar during happy hour worked like a charm.
This is a pizzeria, so guess where I’m starting. Libretto promises that it’s pizza follows the strictest of Neopolitan guidelines, with the end product being, “soft, elastic, easily folded as would be a pamphlet (aka LIBRETTO)”. Nowhere is the word crispy used. So that’s not part of the promise.
All three of the pizzas we ordered executed on this promise. The crust was soft, elastic, and could be very easily folded. You could definitely taste the flour. But none of our crusts (ironic given the name) had any crispy or crunchy texture.
House-made Sausage Pizza (above): Really good sausage with tons of flavour, sweet caramelized onions and chili made this a winner. Tasted great.
Ontario Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza - Very traditional combinations so nothing surprising. That said, killer tomato sauce. First thing you notice when you bite into it is the freshness of the sauce. Cuts right through the peppery arugula and salty prosciutto.
Speck, Fig, Gorgonzola, Walnut, and Honey Pizza - If you haven’t had this flavour combo before I’d recommend it, but if you have, there’s nothing that really stands out. Well balanced, a bit more speck and honey would have livened it up a bit in my opinion.
Aside from pizza, we also tried the lamb shoulder and saffron arancini with sun-dried tomato pesto. Crispy outside, gooey inside, and the pesto is the best thing on the plate. If I’m being picky, I prefer the inside to have more al dente risotto texture than melted cheese, and the lamb didn’t come through for me. I thought saffron was a nice touch though.
The Tiramisu I ordered for dessert had great coffee and liquor flavour and was very light. Too much cream/mascarpone for me though; in the cup, it was a little more like pudding, as the lady fingers got really soft and lost their fluffy quality.
Service and Ambience
I’ve heard some people complain about the service, as I’d imagine the bustling atmosphere can overwhelm some servers. Our experience was nothing like that. Staff were on the ball, willing to answer any questions, and the water jug was always kept full. I asked our server how good the Tiramisu was, and she told she’d buy it if I didn’t like it. That answer alone is worth a half star.
The interior of the place is fun, lively, and aesthetically interesting. The hanging individual light bulb thing is getting a little repetitive, but it looks great so I’m not blaming anyone.
In my opinion, this is not the best pizza in town and the reason is the crust. A good pizza to me is thin, crispy, and doughy with well-defined, balanced flavours. Libretto misses on the crispy altogether, but stays in the game because the ingredients keep it authentic-tasting and delicious. The ideal pizza to me: Terroni’s pizza crust with Libretto’s toppings. Maybe that's Queen Margherita Pizza? Guess we’ll have to test out that contender too.