Cameli’s Gourmet Pizza is the 7th official destination of the Atlanta Pizza Days, representing a full week of ATL pizza eatin’. It’s been almost two weeks since the series announcement, and I tell ya, this pizza thing is more difficult than I thought! But the greatest achievements are accomplished in the face of adversity, and I vow to continue. However, it does look like this will last at least another week because I have six more pizza spots to hit up, and I am taking a short vacation with some friends Feb 5-8.
Similar to Shorty’s, I’ve never been to Cameli’s, and I was looking forward to trying it as there were a handful of votes for them in the “favorite pizza destinations in Atlanta” poll from a few weeks back. One thing that’s developed during this process is that it’s getting really hard for me to get excited about going to eat pizza that I know isn’t going to be all that great, so the unknown is a treat and somewhat exciting, as far as pizza eating goes.
My eating cohort and I met up at Cameli’s for lunch, and after finally figuring out which door to enter, we walked up to the counter and ordered a large pie - half cheese, and half with artichokes and sun dried tomato. The pizza took longer to come out than I was expecting, particularly because we were the only people in there at 1:30 on a Tuesday. Well, it finally came out, and I know the suspense is killing you, so here are the official comments on Cameli’s pie.
Dough (average score -2.0/5)
- “very crunchy, good looking char, firm, nice looking bubbles, but overcooked, lacking flavor, cardboard”
- Blind Taste - “crispy (maybe the re-heating but nothing special)”
Sauce (average score – 2.25/5)
- “sauce was very average, not much of it, standard pizza sauce flavor
- Blind Taste - “plain, not very much sauce”
Cheese (average score – 1.75/5)
- “poor cheese, not enough, not much flavor”
- Blind Taste - “love cheese, but needed more”
Overall (average score – 1.75/5)
- “looked decent at first, flavorless, boring, poor crust, stiff, bad overall”
- Blind Taste - “not very flavorful – plain”
Final Thoughts: Well, it’s easy to see that this pizza didn’t bode well in the tastings. While there is only one tasting note from the live tasting (mine) and one blind taste, I feel that this is a fair assessment. I know two other people who emailed me last week about Cameli’s, and they both had fairly consistent comments. It should be noted that one person said that a year or two ago the pizza was different (better).
When the pizza first hit the table, it actually looked good to me. The endcrust looked nice and crispy (not gummy), there were some bubbles in the dough, which I like, and it wasn’t soggy and appeared to have the right proportions of ingredients. However, when I picked up the first slice, I held it straight out and could see it was as stiff as cardboard. The pie was clearly overcooked, and it had very little flavor. The dough structure was non-existent, it was light and wafer-like, and the overall flavor was bland. Even the toppings were just OK. The blind taster commented that they were “decent”, but that was pretty much the highest praise the pie earned.
Again, I feel a little bad giving a poor review to yet another Atlanta pizza destination, but I have to go with my gut. This pizza is memorable for the wrong reasons…even if I’m just looking for some pizza to stuff my face, Cameli’s is not going to be on my list of acceptable solutions.