By Greg B. As I am originally from NY, I’ve never been satisfied with pizza here in Baltimore. There are some places (I’ll review Michelangelo’s in the future), like Brick Oven pizza that makes an alright pie, but it’s hard to get that real thin crust down right. And if you don’t have that, usually you don’t have the other great ingredients. But there is a place, however, that makes amazingly good pizza, sans the NY style thin crust. And that place is Zella’s.
Zella’s is located right near Hollins market, at the west end of the market (they are closed on Tuesdays, so don’t go out there expecting great food and drink on a Tuesday! Their hours fluctuate a little bit, but are by and large stable. A new feature of their website is the ordering online option, which makes this dangerously easy to order. However, now that I live in the neighborhood, I already am in the danger zone for eating here just a little too much. But you’ll see the reason behind that in a minute.
There is always a fair amount of traffic and a good amount of space for people to come and enjoy pizza… or any of the other extremely delicious foods Zella’s prepares. But as you’re waiting for your food to arrive, I’d recommend checking out one of the better beer lists in Baltimore. For a smaller pizza joint, Zella’s does the beer list right. You’ll find a few rotating beers on tap, and a fairly stable beer bottle list, featuring, but not limited to, the following.
For food, really, you cant go wrong anywhere. Their wings are tender and cooked well. The list of starters includes herbed bread sticks… think the Olive garden quality in how addictive they are, but then think better, with nice aromas and a good texture on the dough. I have eaten the Feta Spinach triangles which are also great, two-bite sized triangles of a spinach filling covered in flaky crispy dough. The Caprese is also a classic food, warm pita with tomato and mozzarella topped with basil and vinaigrette.
Their sandwiches are amazing… so much so that my mouth is watering thinking about them and looking at the menu here and remembering the ones I’ve eaten. The bread is slightly buttery/oily and salty, firm enough to hold whatever food is in the sandwich by not hard like a baguette, it’s soft enough to bite through easily. At such a reasonable price ($7.50), a sandwich with a side of their warm Mediterranean fries with almost an unstoppably great deal. My three top favorites, since I cant pick one, are the Roasted eggplant, Tallulah’s Turkey, and Spinach and Artichoke. However, from a list of 15 sandwiches, there’s always a new one to try… if you can pry yourself away from what you already know is fantastic.
As for the pizza, well, it’s also great. They are a bit more on the pricey side, but they are worth the treat. At $11.75 for a 10″ pizza and $17.75 for a 14″, they make a good meal. For these prices you can pick from a pre-set menu (they are malleable, of course, when it comes to the toppings here if you don’t want/are allergic to something!) of 10 pizza’s, ranging from the St. Magnus meat pizza featuring 4 different meats, to the Spinach and Artichoke (one of my favorites). There is also a ‘make your own pie’ section, with pricing based on types of ingredients and size of the pizza. So, if there is anything you missed or really longed to have (I just wish they’d have anchovies, but I know i’d be the only one to order them Guess what…. they do have anchovies! I just am unable to read apparently) you can create your own pizza, from the style of sauce to the toppings.
And if this wasn’t enough, they have pasta dishes and calzones. The calzone costs $10.50, but it is basically one of their pizzas, topped with extra toppings, and then rolled up into a calzone. It’s huge. And potentially something you may want to share with someone, if you’re not sure that you are that hungry! Even in this category, there is a build your own option, using the list of ingredients from the pizza make-you-own-pie section. And when it comes to the pasta section, there are 4 options of classic Italian fare: Lasagna with meat or spinach or ravioli with cheese or beef, each of which cost $9 and comes with a side of buttery cheesy bread to sop up the remaining sauce.
So. Think about what I just told you. There’s a place, that has a great beer list (I don’t know about wines, we’ll have to get Mike in there to check it out) and makes incredibly delicious food, which you can order for delivery, catering, pickup, or eat in. Oh, and some beers are available for takeout as well. I love this place, my female roommates adore it (in fact, they pretty much have claimed this restaurant as their own, and continuously sing Zella’s praises about the house), and I’m strongly recommending you try it, because I know you’ll love it too.
Beer list – Draft
- Leinenkeugle’s sunset wheat
- The Raven
- North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout (keg is tapped) Clipper City’s Loose Cannon
- Lancaster Milk Stout
- Lancaster Strawberry Wheat Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale
- Bitburger Drive Non-alcoholic
- Blue Moon
- Chimay Red
- Dogfish head 60 min IPA
- Dogfish head Raison D’Etre
- Lakefront New Grist
- Moretti la Rossa
- National Bohemian
- The Raven
- Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
- Samuel Smith Winter Welcome
- Samuel Smith Organic Cider
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- Skull Splitter
- Yuengling Light
- Yuengling (take out)
- $2 Bottle – Grolsch 15.9oz flip-top
- $2 Bottle – Moretti La Rossa