The long-awaited opening of John Besh’s newest brainchild, Pizza Domenica, has finally opened its doors on Magazine Street.
When it was first reported in August of last year that Besh and his partner, Chef Alon Shaya, were planning a new venture that would essentially mock their now-famous Domenica happy hour, pizza fans everywhere rejoiced. Rather than having to battle CBD traffic and long lines just to get arguably the best slice of pizza in the city, enthusiasts could take a stroll down Magazine Street and get their crispy slice of heaven without the headache.
In doing so, not only has Besh expanded his restaurant empire to include Uptown, but is now going head-to-head with several well-established Magazine Street pizza staples, like Reginelli’s, Theo’s, New York Pizza and Slice.
But competition only brings out the best of businesses, and in a city like New Orleans, good food, good service and a good atmosphere always comes out on top, regardless of competition.
Pizza Domenica fits all these criteria, then some.
The first thing you notice about Pizza Domenica is the casual environment. Unlike the rest of the Besh Empire, in which you sit down at a table and order, at Pizza Domenica you order right when you walk in. Regardless, the place is sleek, comfortable and fun. Whether you want to sit down and watch a game after work, go on a date or just eat with a few friends, you can find whatever you need. Lastly, the wood-burning oven gives out an aroma that makes your mouth water but also adds to the authentic environment.
If you’ve been to Domenica, you already know what the food tastes like. Pizza Domenica offers essentially the same variety of Neapolitan-style pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven, which creates a thin, crispy crust and a bold taste. Like most Neapolitan pizzas, you can polish off a whole pizza by yourself if you walk in with an appetite, but on most days you will walk out satisfied splitting one.
Because it was the opening, though, we had to indulge. And indulge we did. We went with four pizzas: pepperoni, wild mushroom (mushroom, bacon, onion, egg), tutto carne (sausage, bacon, salami, prosciutto) and Bolzano (roasted pork shoulder, fennel, bacon, sweet onions).
We were not disappointed.
Each pizza was crafted to create its own unique flavor. Regardless of your preference, whether it’s a vegetarian or meat-lovers, the menu hits every spice of life.
Even though you order at the front before sitting down, Pizza Domenica still has a dedicated wait staff to service your every need.
What surprised me most was the lack of any first-day hiccup that you usually see in a new restaurant. The staff was friendly, prompt and attentive. We got our pizzas within 10 minutes even though they were made to order. It was immediately apparent that you were in a Besh restaurant, even if the prices didn’t say so.
As a big proponent of Domenica, I had high expectations. These expectations were met perfectly. I wasn’t blown away, but when you’re already expecting some of the best pizza in the city, you’re not likely to be.
Overall, Pizza Domenica is tough to beat. If you’re looking for anything other than Neapolitan-style pizza, Pizza Domenica might not be your cup of tea. But if you like great food, a wide variety of beer on tap and a fun atmosphere, this is your place.