I love going out to eat. But sometimes I don’t always want all of the bells and whistles that come with going out to eat though. I don’t always want to have to dress up nice. I don’t want to deal with all the jacked up prices either.
Luckily in Buffalo, eating pizza doesn’t mean just ordering takeout from your neighborhood pizza stop. There are so many restaurants that offer pizza now. Plenty of them are relatively affordable and offer a chill, fast-casual environment. Seem like your kind of scene? Forno Napoli may be your next pizza!
Welcome to the Neighborhood
After a few referrals for this newly-established pizza place in Amherst, I figured I’d give it a try. Located so close to the UB North Campus and in a nice plaza with plenty other college eats, I’d imagine this is a prime spot for Forno Napoli to get some attention.
When we entered, we had the option of eating in or ordering for takeout. We chose to eat in and ordered/payed upfront at the counter. Honestly, I loved paying for my meal upfront because it was nice to forget about spending any money, you get to just enjoy your meal afterwards, and then you could leave whenever you’re finished!
The menu had a lot of other items besides pizza, such as calzones, pasta, and paninis. We obviously had to go with the pizza, but it was still difficult deciding between the abundant variety of white and red pizzas. Because these were all Neapolitan pizzas with ingredients from Italy, I wanted my first pizza to include the red sauce. I’m sure I’ll be back for a white pizza though!
We went with the San Felice pizza, which had red sauce, tomatoes, sausage, sweet and spicy peppers, onions, and Buffalo mozzarella. Because the wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas are typically thinner, I wanted a lot of toppings to fill us up.
Also, they had a few wines and beers to select from as well, so we were able to wait for our food with some wine.
While waiting for food, two gentleman came up to us to thank us for stopping in and asked how we heard about Forno Napoli. One could assume they were the owners and did not know I’d be reviewing, since I typically like to go undercover… 🙂 They were SO kind, had the best enthusiasm about their authentic pizza, and genuinely appreciated that we visited that night. It meant a lot to me they came up to us! I love supporting local and seeing people succeed.
The restaurant itself is all very casual in the best way. It has some modern picnic-style tables for larger groups, high-top bar seating along the window and high-top tables too. We chose the high-top tables. The high-tops, bright lighting, and extra topping bar in there kept it all very chill and comfortable. It’s honestly the perfect space for a night out with your younger kids, a casual date night like we did, or a pizza run with your college buddies.
Our pizza came relatively quickly, and I’d say it was about half-full there between people eating in and people waiting for their take-out orders. These wood-fired pizzas don’t need to blaze in the oven all that long anyways.
I have three things I liked about this pizza and three things I didn’t like:
1. Size. There was just two of us sharing this pizza, and I’d say it is a perfect size for two if you’re both relatively hungry. And if it’s just you, then you’ll maybe have a few leftover slices!
2. Wood-fired flavor. I loved the subtle smokiness of the dough and crust lingering from the oven. It was a perfect compliment to the mild mozzarella and slight saltiness in the dough. The dough is said to be their family’s unique dough recipe, while most of the other ingredients are sourced from Italy. And a nice plus in our pizza was the fluffy, crunchy bubbles in the crust too.
3. Sauce. I don’t know what the sauce really consisted of, but I loved the flavor. The sauce provided a nice burst of tomato and herbs with the smokiness from the wood-fired dough. It also helped to create a balance in texture with the dryer, crispy crust as well.
1. Short on toppings. This pizza was supposed to have over 5 toppings, but it felt like we didn’t really have a lot included. I would have especially liked a little more sausage so it was worth the money. I’m not sure if it was just our experience there though.
2. Size of toppings. Of the toppings that were there, they were just a little too big for my liking. I don’t prefer big chunks of tomato or large peels of onion. I prefer my pizzas with finely chopped or minced toppings. That way it’s easily distributed and they don’t roll off the pizza with each bite.
3. Floppy. Granted Neapolitan pizza is traditionally consumed fork and knife, this was slightly difficult to eat given the additional weight and size of the toppings. Plus, this pizza was already thin to begin with. I had to fold up a few of my slices in order to eat with no mess. I was hoping the wood-fired style would give some sturdiness to the crust, but perhaps that’s not the intention with this pizza, and that’s ok.
All-in-all, I’d certainly go back and am looking forward to trying the white pizzas! I recommend people try Forno Napoli, given there’s not a lot of solid Neapolitan pizza places in Buffalo. Plus their enthusiasm is contagious.
Pizza & love,