Pizza Bella serves incredible pizza pies baked in a 700 degree certified Italian wood-fueled oven. In fact, “awesome” is the only word to describe the chewy, thin, puffy, perfectly charred and beautifully adorned creations. My favorites are the Potato, with gorgonzola and grilled radicchio; and the Biancoverde, with mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheeses, topped with a mound of lightly dressed arugula. Every bite is nirvana and I alternate between savoring the moment and plotting my return to have one of these pizzas again.
I have come to understand that it doesn’t really matter what ingredients top the pizza. The crust is the key and there’s nothing remotely like this one elsewhere in Kansas City. Quizzing owner Rob Dalzell on his methodology, it’s clear that he knew exactly how he wanted his dough to taste and feel. Amazingly, he told us that it took eighty tries to get it right. His addition of rye flour to the basic flour, water, yeast and salt mixture sets it apart, and he achieves the proper texture with a wet dough that almost needs to be poured out of a bowl. One look at Rob’s pants lets you know that having lots of flour on hand is the only way to work the dough into a disk.
Antipasti are non-traditional.Two of the most popular are the roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries, hazelnuts and pancetta, and the calamari salad, dressed with lemon vinaigrette and tossed with arugula, white beans and olives. Each bite has a different texture and delightful taste. There’s always a daily special antipasto, in addition to the handful on the menu.
The restaurant is small, yielding just 15 tables, though the front wall slides open in nice weather, making it possible to accommodate several more on the sidewalk. Red chairs and orange and brown argyle placemats give the industrial interior a splash of color.
I have been a fan of Pizza Bella since the day it opened its doors almost two years ago. As a food writer, I know I shouldn’t frequent it as often as I do, and instead should be out there trying new places, but this urban gem meets all of my criteria–great food, friendly and competent service, reasonable prices, and a nice vibe.