Who has the best Pizza in Temecula, California?
This is a loaded question, because there is no "right" answer. It's kind of like asking who has the best car...but you'd never consider a Ferrari for a family road trip with the family dog. Nor would you consider a Lincoln Towncar if you wanted an exhilarating night ride on that winding mountain road. Pizza is the same way--sometimes you want a traditional pizza that just tastes good. Other days, you may want an exotic gourmet pizza with some pizzazz to it.
I'll list the pizza places that are in my area, in order of preference. That will make it easy for you to see which ones are best. I'll tell you what their style of pizza is. I've soon extended the list out to include some not-so-local places.
I'm a meat and potatoes kind of guy who loves pizza. If there isn't meat on it, then it's not pizza. There are two things that just don't belong on pizza--fruit and fish. Anything else is a wanna-be pizza. Because of that, I typically will get my favorite, pepperoni and mushroom pizza, as my first taste at a new restaurant. Sure, there are other pizza's that are going to be better at certain restaurants, but this method me a baseline to judge them by. I can easily tell how good the crust and sauce are, while also sampling the most common toppings. I also am not into gourmet pizza very much--you know, odd things like Tai Chicken or Ranch Dressing and some odd sausage, or --heaven forbid--vegan pizza.
Obviously, I have my mind made up about how a pizza should be. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a BAD pizza--even Many people disagree with my assessments, and that's fine--don't take my word for any of this, but rather, try it for yourself.
Temecula Pizza Company
#1 Gourmet Pizza
|Temecula Pizza Company has the best gourmet
pizza that I have ever tasted. Their crust is an unusual thin, flat
crust--almost like a fluffy pilot bread. The sauce has very good flavor,
albeit not spicy. (Their other ingredients add enough where it's
unnecessary.) The pizza reheats well for 1-2 days--use a toaster oven if
you can, for best results.
Most of the time, I'll come here 2-4 times a month. There have been times when I've been to TPC three days in a row. I was going often enough about five years ago that one of the waitresses gave me a free t-shirt. There's a new waitress said she'd give me another shirt, but they were out of my size.
|The Best, especially the Tim McCoy. This is
definitely gourmet pizza--chicken and jalapenos. I have never liked
jalapenos before, but I love this pizza. They have to cook on, but I pull
them off--just too darned hot. Note: Order this pizza "well
done" with extra herbs on top. I'm salivating just thinking of this
The White Lady is a great non-pizza pizza. It's kind of like a desert pizza, with it's pine nuts and pear! The sauce is white, and it's darned good. You must not be expecting regular pizza when you order this, or you will be disappointed. Whenever introducing it to new friends, I always order it accompanied with another pizza.
The 101 Ranch is almost a standard pepperoni pizza, but like many of the others there is a heavy garlic flavor.
roadtripamerica.com rates their Stromboli as the best on the planet. Read their review here. I had the beef & mushroom stromboli once...I should have listened to the waitress, she suggested one of the other ones. The beef was good, but the mushrooms were overpowering (for me). I'd get it again if I ever got tired of their pizza. That seems highly unlikely, though.
The atmosphere is very basic and almost plain--just unique enough to avoid the plain look. The chairs are tables are your simple wood sets that look like they belong in a newlyweds house. To spice it up are are posters from prehistoric western movies--Tim McCoy, Tom Mix, Zane Grey... each one with a pizza named after it. There is also a nice patio with plastic picnic furniture, and it's heated when necessary. The waitresses are all attractive college age girls, who may fill your drink if they have time, or they may simply point you to the soda fountain. The men will have to read the Roadkill Menu while they are standing in the back room...
#1 Traditional Pizza
|Although they boast of gourmet pizza, the mill has, by far, the best tradition pizza that I've yet to savor. The crust is very flavorful, and has a great nutty flavor--with cornmeal mixed right in. It's light and fluffy with a nice crunchy crust. The sauce is basic, but very flavorful as well. The cheese and toppings are the best. Everything is made in the store--no cans or jars. I usually request Extra Sauce. The pepperoni is a touch on the greasy side, but flavorful enough to accept.||I almost always get the Pepperoni with Mill-Red
sauce, and have them add Mushrooms. It may seem a odd to order such
a typical pizza from a gourmet pizza place, but this combination is so
delicious that it seems a shame to spoil it in any way.
I've recently tried a plain cheese pizza with fresh basil on top--the basil added a VERY nice touch.
The atmosphere is very trendy--no ceiling in the tilt-up warehouse, with trendy rust, olive and purple colors. There are a few antique farm implements too, and if you are up for it, you can drive a block west after your meal to see the mill that is the restaurants namesake--photos of which are scattered on the walls.
|Graziano's||They have a really good combo pizza. We love eating here, but it's a little expensive for what you get.||The loud an obnoxious atmosphere is tolerable only when the pizza is as good as Graziano's is. I'm sure the families will appreciate the game room for the kids, though.|
|Milano's||I really enjoyed Milano's when it was in Hemet, so I was pleased when they opened up a site in Murrieta. Nice crisp crust, with an airy handle, similar to the Mill's, but without the nutty zip. Good sauce--pretty standard, and good. Good ingredients. Just overall, darned good pizza.||This is the ultimate sports pizza place! There are
three BIG screen tv's, and 3-4 additional small 19" tv's--you can
even watch one while you stand in line. You can definitely tell they were
going for the Monday Night Football crowd! There is also a pool
table and some games for the kids.
NOTE: Milano's in Murrieta has closed.
|The sauce is what first hooked me on Presto's pizza. It has
a richer flavor than just about any other semi-traditional pizza that I've
had. This is the first pizza restaurant that I've been to where I have
asked for extra sauce as a habit. The crust is similar to The
Mill's crust, albeit without the nutty flavor.
I think I've burned out on them a little--I went here just about every week the first year, and don't go as often now. I do enjoy it when I return, though.
|Presto's has a number of gourmet pizza's, but here again, I
like some of the traditional choices. Pepperoni and Mushroom often
fill the plate, although black olives or green pepper are common too.
Don't plan for leftovers, though--it loses a lot when reheated.
The atmosphere here is also trendy, with trendy colors and trendy paintings. Plastic chairs remind you that you had to stand in line to order your pizza, which will be delivered to your table.
If you are anything at all like me, don't go here without your Beano--especially if you ask for extra sauce. When I eat enough, this pizza gives me gas like I was supplying a truck fleet. I know it doesn't effect everybody, though, so don't stay away just because of this.
#1 Delivery Pizza
|Good traditional delivery pizza. Big crust handle with nice airy crust. Toppings are good.||If I'm going to order more than I'll eat at the time, this might be it, with the exception of Temecula Pizza Company, the Mill and Milano's. Dahlia's pizza reheats much better than most. (Toaster ovens are the BEST for reheating pizza. No more soggy or rubbery crusts.)|
The Pizza Factory (Murrieta & Temecula)
|Very good generic, traditional pizza. There is nothing overly flavorful. The crust is very good. There was one getting built closer in Temecula this summer, but I haven't been to it.||They obviously have made their mark by supporting little league sports. The plaques and photos abound, and there's one big screen tv...which sometimes plays soap operas during the day. (?)|
|Thin, flat crust. The sauce has a ZIP to it that you have to be craving. (I sometimes do.) It's a little on the greasy side but not out of tolerance.||Typical chain pizza source. You see them in every town, just with a different name.|
|Stadium & Home Run (same owners)||Thin, flat crust--much like Round Tables. Their crust has a zip to it also, but it's more subtle, and different. The pizza isn't bad, but I only go when there's a crowd meeting, or some other must-go reason. Never because of the food.||Stadium has your typical sports restaurant feel. Both of them in town look like they were punched out of the same cookie cutters. Several tv's and a large screen or two. This is the total fast-food type feeling--stand in line to order, and fill your own soda. The long tables are complimented by bench seating.|
Sammy's Wood- fired Pizza
|I was excited when I heard there was a pizza place opening up in the new Promenade Mall. I was disappointed when I ate there, though. I think I've had better pizza from Dominoes. (Which is better than most people give them credit for.) Not that it was bad pizza--just higher priced than the average pizza could justify.||The closest thing I could thing of to describe their food is
$10 pizza at $20 prices. The atmosphere seems confused--it has a
Mexican Restaurant feel, and with the lights dimmed as they are, the
numerous bright green plants seem out of place.
They've gone out of business. I wasn't surprised.
|Good...BUT. That's about it. Good deep dish pizza, Chicago style, with the cheese on top. They just don't dice the onions and other veggies small enough. It wouldn't be nearly so bad, but they never seem to mix the toppings well enough either -- one bite is 4-5 slices of pepperoni, the next is a whole mouthful of onion. I like all of the ingredients, but their consistently poor distribution led me to believe it was a training issue--I've returned several times over years to see if they've fixed it. Nope.||Typical Italian restaurant feel--red and white checkered tablecloth with red glass candleholders. Even their spaghetti isn't that much of a consolation--it's almost flavorless. Then again, their lunch prices are very cheap, with large portions. I usually won't go here unless there's a crowd going, and they have already made up their minds. This happens occasionally, because I have some friends who like it.|
|California Pizza Kitchen||I'm not a fan. The crust is too wimpy and flavorless. The margherita pizza has a different crust, though, and it's excellent. Before I found that one, I begrudgingly came here only at the insistence of a friend.||The atmosphere is loud and clangy. The bar is neat to sit at--you can watch the cooks working hard to get your pizza out.|
California Pizza Experience
|Their pepperoni was so greasy I never returned. When (presumably) the owner asked how it was, I told him it was good but a little on the greasy side ... he made excuses. I haven't returned.||Typical cheap sports restaurant type atmosphere. Your kids will probably like this stuff.|
My Buddies Pizza
|Their pepperoni is so greasy I haven't been back in years. I had a friend who liked it, though.||
It's a typical sports restaurant atmosphere, although I don't remember if they have a tv or not. Probably, they do. I do remember they have some entertainment for the kids--who will probably like the Pizza.
Other restaurants that serve pizza...These restaurants excel in the art of mediocrity. They must have pizza on their menu for the sole purpose of appeasing the little kids who insist on pizza when their parents force them to eat at a restaurant with waiters and waitresses. These are the pizzas for those little kits, who want as little flavor as possible. These pizzas are so successful at being mediocre that they don't have enough flavor to actually be BAD. The crusts are little more than flour, with very little flavor. The sauce probably comes out of a can, and if there are any ingredients besides preservatives and tomatoes, then they have masked them well. These restaurants don't even rate bold type. Enough said.
*Claim Jumper--get the Ore Cart instead. It's enough food for two people for two days, and it's about $20 or so (plus drinks, etc.).
*Olive Garden--I quit making the drive to OG after Anthony's opened up in town--go there if you want GREAT Italian food, and you aren't in a hurry. Go to Cafe' Roma if time is limited.
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