I was talking to an old friend from Richmond the other day (hi Allen!) about deep fried pizza. When describing it to him I said something along the lines of, “Imagine a perfectly fried funnel cake has a love child with charred brick oven pizza”. I think it’s as good a description as any for the pizza at Forcella.
When I first read about Forcella’s deep fried pizza dough I thought, “Now that’s something different”, which is something I don’t often say about a food like pizza. Apparently deep fried pizza is a popular Neapolitan street food with a near cult-like following. I can see why.
Forcella’s website says the head honcho, Giulio Adriani, is a double certified pizza master. Googling that phrase turned up something about being approved to make good pizza by the folks in Naples but honestly I could care less. Luckily, it turns out the dude does make some darn good pizza.
The first time Nick and I went there (yes, we’ve been back multiple times, something very unlike us) we sat down in the rather well decorated, romantically lit and inviting dining room, looked at the menu and then looked at each other and said, “Are they playing gangster rap?”.
After asking the waitress what was up with the music selection (not that we didn’t like it…we totally liked it…it took us back to our youth) she said the owner loves it and insists on pumping it through the sound system. Sometimes it’s the little unexpected quirks that can make dining out so much fun.
The hubby ordered the Calzone Fritto (fried calzone) and I had the Montanara (fried then baked pizza Margherita). We also ordered a carafe of well priced and yummy wine. Here’s a breakdown according to my new anti-rating system for pizza:
1.) Wait time – There can be no wait time if you like because they take reservations! This is a huge plus in my opinion. We didn’t have a reservation the first time we went and we waited about 5-10 mins on a Saturday night, but it’s almost always packed.
2.) Price – Individual pizzas range from $9 to $17. Salads are under $10 and are of shareable size. Antipasti’s are in the teens. They offer carafes of the house red and white for a very reasonable $11. If you kept it simple and got two $9 pizzas and a carafe of wine you could get away with a nice evening out for about $35.
3.) Seating & Ambiance – The ambiance is very nice. The lighting is good, there is ample seating though it can be pretty tight at times. The gangster rap might be an acquired taste for some but they don’t shove it down your throat, it’s really just in the background. Service is prompt and friendly.
4.) Pizza Style – Neapolitan AND deep fried! They finish the deep fried dough off in a blazing hot brick oven(seen at back of picture to the right).
5.) Taste – The crust has a delicious fried dough taste and chew without being one bit greasy. The oven adds a nice little char. The toppings are nice (very fresh, not overly sweet tomato sauce and good, maybe great quality cheese) but I really think you go here for the crust. The bottoms of the pizza’s aren’t extremely crispy but don’t read soggy, they’re just on the soft side so keep that in mind when ordering toppings…I recommend going as light as possible. It must be noted that Nick’s calzone was amazingly crispy all over. I go for the Margherita most often. It’s fresh, light and lets that amazing crust shine. I honestly think this is a must-try pizza.
6.) Extras – I love that Forcella is a departure from the norm. It’s a great place to take friends because you can get a reservation…it’s affordable…it feels like a nice night out even though it’s really just pizza…and the fried dough is a real treat. Overall this place is a fun, somewhat quirky and delicious choice.