Searching for the Perfect Pizza

Here in Atlanta, I have yet to find a pizza I covet as much as slices from the Upper East Side institution, Mariella Pizza, in New York City.

Confusingly, there are many pizza places called Mariella in Manhattan. I am referring to the one at 965 Lexington Avenue, on the corner of East 70th Street.

Pizza in New York is generally pretty good, no matter which Mariella’s you visit. The dough is crisp; the sauce is thick and sweet; and the cheese is bountiful.

The staff in Mariella actually talk amongst themselves in Italian, and keep European football matches playing on the kitchen television set, helping the pizza to taste even more authentically Italian.

During a family visit/pizza tasting mission in Italy earlier this month, I found that the pizza there wasn’t too far off Mariella’s quality. The genuine Italian pizza has thinner crust, and more adventurous toppings (french fries! Salmon! Milk! Yes, Milk!), which puts them slightly ahead of Mariella’s in my personal world pizza sweepstakes. But Mariella’s pizza comes closer to the Italian version than anything else I’ve tried stateside.

But nostalgia plays a role for me, as well. Mariella’s has been a neighborhood fixture down the street from where I grew up for as long as I can remember. I go there whenever I visit my family in New York. So for Atlanta, it’s tough to compete with tradition.

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