Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trattoria E Pizzeria Da Enrico in Columbia

I'm looking for the best pizza, and the tour passed through King's Contrivance where I liked Trattoria e Pizzeria Da Enrico.

Where do you go for pizza? I'm a fan of Luna Bella Ristorante, a real Italian restaurant that does gourmet pies. They're heavy with toppings, sometimes too heavy for the thin crust, and they're always worth the drive.

But that can't be the only pizza in Howard County. I first tried Pastino's Upper Crust off Rte 108 near Rte 100. It opened just before we moved from up there, and we stopped for sandwiches, which I remember fondly. The pizza by the slice didn't create such memories. The teenager who helped me barely warmed the slice, and it needed to at least be crispy considering that there wasn't much special in a thin layer of sauce, a layer of some cheese, and three pieces of pepperoni.

Trattoria E Pizzeria crisps up the slices. Mrs. HowChow and I split two slices of vegetable specials and a calzone. When I asked, they heated the slices until the crust was crisp, and those slices were good -- although more expensive than the Pastino's slices -- with ricotta, broccoli, and tomatoes. This is a real restaurant that offers Italian dinners like pastas and even seafood
with shrimp, clams, and calamari. I wasn't giving this place the best chances by ordering the already-baked items from the counter. But the calzone was good. Warmed through. A little doughy for my taste, but filled with flavorful pepperoni, thick sauce and enough cheese to be good, but not overwhelming. Mostly, I was impressed that it all held together. Far too often, calzones are overstuffed and collapse into a mess. The Trattoria E Pizzeria calzone cut cleanly in half, and we picked up our pieces to dip in extra sauce.

This is a casual place. You order from the counter, and you sit at molded booths or tables. Not as classy as Luna Bella, but a friendly place for a weeknight break. Next time, I'll actually pass by the calzone for the Sicilian pizza, which they only sell by the entire pie. The family next to us was chomping happily on a square pizza that looked delicious.

Again, where do you go for pizza??

If you go to Trattoria E Pizzeria in the warm weather, you can top it off with dessert from Rita's. The King's Contrivance shopping center has a quiet central courtyard where you can enjoy your sweets.

If you like pizza, definitely try Pazani's in Elkridge -- which I learned about in the comments below. It was a key to my post about the Best Pizza in Howard County.  Next, I'm going to try Vennari's and Bella Mia as suggested in the comments.

Trattoria E Pizzeria Da Enrico
8630 Guilford Rd
Columbia, MD 21046

NEAR: This is in the King's Contrivance Village Center. This is south of Rte 32 and east of Rte 29. King's Contrivance has the new Harris Teeter, a Bagel Bin, and a CVS. Take the Eden Brook Drive / Shaker Drive exit from Rte 32. Follow the signs south to Eden Brook Drive, which goes right past King's Contrivance.

Trattoria E Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Pastino's Upper Crust
8835 Centre Park Dr
Columbia, MD 21045

NEAR: This is just off Rte 108 near the Giant just west of Howard High School and east of Rte 29. It is just up Centre Park Drive from Bangkok Delight.

Pastino's Upper Crust on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

This place is good, but Vennari's on Robert Oliver Pl is the best pizza I've had in the Columbia area. And it's cheap!

Anonymous said...

While I thoroughly enjoy slices at Trattoria, I think that Pazani at 6060 Marshalee Drive in Elkridge has the best pizza in HoCo. Family-owned, friendly, casual restaurant with great food.

Anonymous said...

Unless you're from NY, you don't know what pizza is supposed to taste like. If you want to taste and compare pizzas, the only way to do it is with plain cheese. And while a bit on the salty side, Trattoria is hands down the best pizza in the area.

(and while it's pretty good this doesn't mean much, as pizza in the entire region is crappy overall)

Nina said...

I tend to order from Bella Mia, I'm a big fan.

Anonymous said...

I second Pazani!! Great pizza and calzones...haven't tried the pasta yet.

Anonymous said...

bacon pizza at vennaris in OM is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Trattoria is da bomb.

Real NY style pizza. My family has been eating there for 20 years

Anonymous said...

I've been going to Trattoria and it is the best, most authentic ny style pizza in town. As for the Sicilian, I've never had to order an entire pie.

Also, their lasagna is really good.

John said...

I'm a big fan of the pizza at Trattoria, but my favorite thing on their menu has to the Gnocchi Cioccara (sp?). It's amazing and I down the entire bowl every time, regardless of the massive food coma that follows.

If you're willing to go a little further, I also love the pizza (and everything else) at Pasta Plus at Rts 1 and 198 in the center of Laurel. It looks like a little hole in the wall, but the dine-in atmosphere is very nice, the food is fantastic, and they have a market counter where you can get nearly anything to go. In particular, I recommend the Pizza Tricolore, which has a unique combination of pesto sauce, ricotta, and sundried tomatoes I've never seen anywhere else. But their straight-up, plain cheese, "Pizza Margherita" is equally delicious.

ColumbiaJeff said...

Regarding Trattoria's gnocchi, if you think the Gnocci Cioccara is good, ask for the gnocchi in their Rosa/Aurora sauce. It's technically not on the menu, but they'll do it since they're taking one of their other pasta sauces and just adding it to the gnocchi.

MJ said...

Great website, I almost forgot how unusual and tasty Vennaris pizza is. Stopped today and it was like an instant flashback to 1983 when I could only afford one lonely slice. The new owners did a good job staying faithful to the Vennari family recipe. I'm glad I went. Thanks HowChow posters.

Michael F. said...

Trattoria is THE BEST, hands down. They make wonderful Italian subs and I usually enjoy a slice while I wait. The workers are usually way too busy to engage in much small talk but are friendly and professional. If you call in an order at dinner time, you may get a "okay, ten minutes", and then a hangup but do you really care? You will have good food ready in ten minutes! Michael F.

Unknown said...

Trattoria's customer service is less than stellar!!!! The order taker (who is always there) needs to smile and take a class on customer service!!!

Unknown said...

Trattoria's customer service is less than stellar!!!! The order taker (who is always there) needs to smile and take a class on customer service!!!