Bella Faccia Pizzeria
2934 NE Alberta, 282-0600

Pizza can, and probably always will be, problematic. It's odd that such an inherently simple dish can be so well-loved, yet so rarely satisfying. After all, at the end of the day, a pizza is just some bread, tomato sauce and cheese--there are only finite ways in which to improve it. It's not unusual, then, that large pizza corporations are resorting to acts of desperation to improve sales--squirting cheese into the crust, ladling 27 lbs. of meat on every pie--doing everything they can to put a little excitement into a boring food. I mean, does anyone try this stuff with broccoli?

As far as Portland is concerned, pie purchasers have mostly given up, preferring to gather with friends around a disappointing Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake, and wax poetic about the lovely, cheese-laden slices of New York. And while not even the world's grandest pie will ever come close to the way an ex-New Yorker can remember it, Bella Faccia Pizzeria comes pretty damn near.

Specializing in 18'' pies, slices, and beer, Bella Faccia smartly gets back to the basics. Focusing specifically on the pizza's three main components (crust, sauce, cheese), this upstart pizzeria ignores the bells and whistles and attempts to bring out the best of each ingredient. After eating there five times, I've found the crust to be remarkably consistent in both crispness and flavor. Roughly thin as a quarter, it easily has the strength to keep its ingredients on the pie and out of your lap. The sauce is remarkably savory, with just a whisper of sweetness. The cheese is 100% whole milk mozzarella that is added with admirable restraint, instead of being a poorly rendered disguise.

With such care shown for the foundation, it would be hard to screw up the rest of this pizza. But Bella Faccia takes it a step further with absolutely fresh vegetables and smoky meats. Get whatever you want on it; it's gonna be good (even the historically questionable "Hawaiian" which knocked me on my ass with it's flavorable ham). And did I mention they have PBR? Goddam. Say what you will; you can't find that in New York City.