Montclair has so many choices for very good pizza, one has to wonder, did we really need another? The answer is a resounding YES, if the new place is Mancinni's, a charmingly hip restaurant with a deliciously creative menu. This is not your average pizza place.
And I must ask which is the better pizza oven, wood or coal?
As you enter you see this homey decore of pretty little aprons. A nice touch. No doubt you'll be greated with the generous smile and warm welcome of Sidney Australia born Lizzie Singh-Brar who created Mancinni's with pizzaiolo Antonio “Tony” Buono from Caldwell.
The dining room and busy open kitchen is detailed in a 30-40's style that is so pleasant.
As I said the menu is interesting, in addition to authentic pizza there are great healthy salads, sandwiches and sides. All made with local seasonal products where possible. We tried these house made garden pickles. One of Lizzie's specialties. Next time I'm bringing some of these babies home.
There are 6 pizza offerings but we "made our own" with mushrooms and prosciutto. The tomato sauce was just right, mozzarella nice and creamy, and basil leaves quite fresh as were the mushrooms and pro-shoot as they say in the Bronx.
Pies are available in 12" or 16". We ordered the latter and it was two much for two. Half of it came home and was devoured by the kids.
Mancinni's is coal, Ah Pizz, Bivio and Tosca are wood. Seems every other place is gas fired.
The Gothamist reported in a taste test between Grimaldi's vs. Una Pizza Napoletana that "wood-fired brick ovens that are de rigeur in Naples, the birthplace of pizza." However, "When Italian immigrants brought pizza to NYC, they found that coal-fired brick ovens were cheaper and more readily available." and New York-style pizza was born.
Writer, Allison Bojarski, goes on to say "While there is a subtle distinction, the difference of coal vs. wood is much smaller than either coal-fired vs. gas oven or wood-fired vs. gas oven. Most run-of-the-mill pizzerias use gas-fired ovens that are simpler (and cheaper) to deal with; unfortunately, gas heat cannot create the extremely high heat necessary to produce old-school New York pizza or Neapolitan-style pizza."
It seems that either coal or wood are good.
One more thing great about Mancinni's, the music. Love it.
Mancinni’s Coal Oven Pizza
438 Bloomfield Ave. Montclair