Atlanta Pizza Days #15 – Bella’s Pizzeria

February 24, 2009 · 1 comment

in atlanta, atlanta pizza, dining out

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Post number 15 in the Atlanta Pizza Days is a spot in Smyrna, but not too far from my place on the Westside, Bella’s Pizzeria

Bella’s was recommended to me by a friend, so despite their awfully annoying website video, some friends and I headed over there for a quick lunch the other day. Bella’s is in a strip mall next to a tae kwon do dojo. Their website claimed their pizza is New York style and that it was voted best in the city by Atlanta Cuisine

The four of us strayed from the “official” pizza days format, ordering a large pepperoni pizza. That’s not overloading too much on toppings so it’s still very possible to distinctly taste the sauce, cheese, and dough. 

We also ordered some garlic knots, which you can see a picture of in the gallery below. A large order of knots is huge, and they are sitting in a pool of what must be two sticks of butter. They were very good, and I recommend them if you are into self inflicted pain. 

Notes from me and one taster are below. There was no blind tasting because we ate it all. Oops. 

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I don’t have scores from everyone, but as I’ve said, you shouldn’t put too much stock into the scores anyways. I’m going to create a score for the sake of consistency, but keep in mind it is just me and you should read the other taster’s comments to form your own opinion. 

Dough (my score – 4/5) 

  • “Not really New York style, thick endcrust with good structure, nice char on the upskirt, not doughy, slightly gummy beneath the cheese”
  • Taster’s comments - “Nice texture and flavorful crust.  Airy crust with a nice amount of space”

Sauce (my score – 3.5/5)

  • “Right amount of sauce, complemented the pizza well, notable flavor”
  • Taster’s Comments – “Flavorful sauce but sometimes dominated the other toppings.  Chunky blobs near the crust.”

Cheese (my score – 3.5/5)

  • “A lot of cheese, but not too much, wonderful color, had an unfair advantage because of the pepperoni grease which added flavor. ”
  • Taster’s Comments - “Probably the worst part of the pizza.  I feel like the cheese was very similar to Mellow Mushroom and has that feeling where it coagulates too quickly if it sits for too long.  It lost its flavor as it cooled too quickly.”

Overall (my score – 4/5)

  • “Not NY Style, but the pie was done properly. No complaints on cheese or sauce, and the dough was notable. The endcrust structure was some of the best in Atlanta and the pie was cooked for the right amount of time ”
  • Taster’s Comments - “Overall i think that Bella’s pizza is a pretty good slice if your looking for a step above your Mellow Mushroom’s of the world.  The crust stood out to me as the best part of the pizza.  The air pockets were nice and even after I inhaled like 10 garlic knots (more on that to follow) I still didn’t have that dough blow you get with a mellow mushroom pie.  If I’m looking for a better slice I’d prefer Harry’s or Pizzeria Fortunato.  Harry’s for the cheese and Fortunato for a crispier crust and better sauce.  But just for the pizza fix, Bella’s did the job.”

Here are the rest of the taster’s witty comments (shout out to Devin, thanks for the effort buddy):

On a related note, the garlic knots, which were a plenty for the 6 bucks i think the full order costs were AWESOME.  While I steered clear of the dip and soak method applied by others, I think that was truly a treat to whet the old appetite for the pizza that was coming our way.  I recommend either the half or full order when going there.

Bella’s is a good place to grab a beer and a cheap slice or garlic knots.  The pizza claims to be from New York, but the price is definitely from New Delhi.

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Pictured: the upskirt char

Final Thoughts: Clearly my scores are high for this pizza, I hope that the pepperoni didn’t skew my score, but I don’t think it did. The taster’s comments were interesting to me, they were fairly consistent with my thoughts, but his overall comments show that perception of quality is often purely stylistic. There was pretty much nothing “wrong” with this pizza, it was well done. The cheese tasted good, and there was a proper amount of it. The same could be said for the sauce. I could taste it, but they didn’t use too much, which can ruin a good pie. The dough is the most noteworthy part of the pizza, and as you have seen, this is the hardest factor to address when making pizza. The blind taster just happened to like certain aspects/flavors of other pizza destinations. My no means is the dough at Pizzeria Fortunato similar to the dough at Bella’s. 

But me – I really enjoy this style and liked this particular pie. The pizza was fairly thin overall (not as thin as Baby Tommy’s) and the endcrust was large and had structure, meaning, there was actually bubbles/space, or what I call the “surf break”, instead of the heavy completely filled/doughy endcrust which causes the aforementioned “dough blow”. You can eat two slices of this pizza without feeling disgusted thirty minutes later. The garlic knots are another story. 

The dough wasn’t perfect though, some slices had better endcrust than others, the flavor could use a little boost, but I recommend giving Bella’s a try. Someone obviously cares about quality here, the pizzas are huge, it is a large family-friendly setting, and it was an overall good value. As always, I highly recommend getting a whole pizza. I saw them preparing the pizzas, and is the case at so many places, they had about 5 cheese pizzas already prepared which they use for single slice orders. Whole pizza pie revolution!

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Pictured: The crust “surf break”

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Bella's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

  • http://www.dirtysouthwine.com Dirty

    Wow. High scores

    Dig the karate clip too!

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