Food Porn: Romeo & Juliets Bakery Cafe

source: Eating out in WNY on Urbanspoon

I was pretty excited to try Romeo & Juliets, not only were they on my “Hertel Ave” wish list but they were just voted “Best Pizza in Buffalo” by Buffalo Spree (no small feat).  They don’t serve up a “Buffalo Style” slice of pizza; Romeo and Juliets is more of a thin, traditional “Italian” style of Pizza (they refer to it as DEK Oven Style).  But still, they ended up beating out 15 other pizza places around Western New York so it had to be amazing, right?

Adding to the hype, while we were waiting to get seated I over heard the chefs yelling at each other in Italian.  So, I felt really good that we were about to eat some authentic Italian style pizza (thin, crispy crust, simple fresh ingredients, etc).  Unfortunately, I ended up leaving Romeo and Juliets feeling a little disappointed in the pizza.  Read on to see exactly what I mean….

There was a 20 minutes wait when we first got there, so we were able to kill some time by looking at their menu and checking out their desserts.  They have a fantastic dessert selection, but more on that later.  The dining room is pretty small, and includes a mix of tables and umbrellas that recreates a nice “patio setting” (but indoors).  We decided to start our meal with their Brie appetizer (pictured below).  You get a large slice of brie (melted with slices of strawberries inside) that’s served with olives, fruits and bread.  I’m a fairly big Brie fan and they really melted this slice perfectly, it could be cut apart with the edge of a fork.  Definitely large enough for two people to share.

So after we finished off the entire appetizer, we moved on to the main attraction.  Alli ordered herself the Quatro Formaggi pizza (4 cheese) which was inspired by our meal at Trattoria Aroma.  Honestly, she didn’t notice a big difference between the two, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.  The cheese was generously piled on top, a mix of Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Cheddar and Romano cheese.  Alli seemed to really enjoy it and had more than enough for left overs the next day.  Even though those slices are pretty thin the cheese can really fill you up so you will definitely be bringing some home.  I ordered the Margherita pizza, which is intended to be a lightly sauced pizza with pieces of fresh mozzarella and some basil sprinkled on top.

Unfortunately, my pizza didn’t really work out that well.  Yes, it was a tasty pizza but aside from some sprinkling of basil in the middle there was nothing “Margherita” about it.  Now I realize that calling out the authenticity of pizza made in a kitchen of men who are speaking Italian is ridiculous.  But I was thinking that I was ordering something like this and not like what’s pictured above.  Even with the misinterpretation I wasn’t wowed with the pizza in general; it was good but I can’t understand how this would be considered the best in Buffalo. (I apologize in advance to those who will inevitably disagree with me on that point).

Romeo and Juliet’s has more to their menu besides pizzas, including a good selection of Panini’s and Salads.  As we were waiting for our pizza we watched the tables next to us order these large entrees that looked delicious.  So maybe I’d go again and try something else, but I don’t have any urge to try the pizza again.  But there was a silver lining on our meal, we brought home several desserts that were absolutely delicious.  I brought home a handful of Chocolate Florentines which are these thin and crispy cookies that were amazing.  I honestly could have devoured a dozen of them.

We also tried out a Red Velvet Cake that had layers of chocolate mousse that was fantastic, especially if you are a chocolate lover like Alli.  We also brought home this pasty (the exact name escapes me) that had an awesome flaky pie crust that was closed and filled with a thin layer of Nutella and creamy ricotta cheese (sort of like a deconstructed chocolate cheese cake).  It was amazing, the only thing I wish was that they would have put more Nutella inside (you can never have too much).  Our entire experience had it’s ups and downs. We were incredibly excited to try out their pizza but were let down with the resulting product.  But then everything was saved with some amazing dessert choices.  For what its worth, the pizza was actually improved the next day when we re-heated the pizza on our pizza stone.  But if I’m going to stop by Romeo and Juliet’s again, it will just be for dessert.

Romeo & Juliet's Bakery Cafe' on Urbanspoon

8 thoughts on “Food Porn: Romeo & Juliets Bakery Cafe

  1. Chris

    Donnie, no offense, but you did order the two most basic pizzas on the menu. I will say the Margherita doesn’t look as good as the last time I was there (frankly it looks like they half-assed it), but the artichoke/olive/sopressata and white pizzas are fantastic. Definitely different than the usual “Buffalo Style” pizza though, so it all depends on taste I guess.

    • Don Burtless

      I saw their other pizza’s on the menu and they looked good but I love a simple cheese pizza still. But I really enjoyed the desserts and we’ll probably go back and give their other location a try.

  2. I was one of the judges on the Spree best-pizza panel. My personal choice for best of Buffalo would have been Trattoria Aroma, but Romeo’s comes in a close second.

    Not all Margherita pizzas look like the picture to which you’ve linked. That depicts a genuine Neapolitan-style margherita pizza whose construction, ingredients, dough, and method of baking are all strictly controlled by the Verace Pizza Napoletana association. There is not a single Buffalo-area restaurant serving up genuine VPN or DOP Margherita pizzas. (There are three in Toronto, and at least one in Pittsburgh).

    So instead, you’re eating what the guys at Romeo’s consider to be a margherita pizza – if it uses San Marzano tomatoes, fresh or quality whole milk mozzarella, and a sprinkling of basil, it’s a valid name to use.

    The major difference between Italian style, as you call it, or New York City style pizzas (which very closely resemble the Neapolitan style) and Buffalo-style pizzas is that Buffalo pies are baked in a pan, while Italian/NYC pies are baked directly on the oven deck. DEK oven means that Romeo’s uses a standard Baker’s Pride oven instead of a gas or wood-fired brick oven. Aroma uses a wood & gas hybrid oven. Pizza baked in a pan has a floppy & greasy crust that has no structure to it – it can’t contain the weight of even sparse toppings. I know people like it, but it’s as inauthentic as it gets. A proper pizza is baked on the deck of the oven so that the crust becomes firm, and is dry on the bottom.

    In any event, I have dined at Romeo’s many times and find their pizza to consistently be among the most authentic Italian style pizzas in town – something I can only say about a small handful of places (maybe 3-4 altogether).

    If you want a real Neapolitan pie, I suggest you head up the QEW and check out Pizzeria Libretto, Queen Margherita Pizza, or Fabbrica by Mark McEwan.

    • Don Burtless

      Thanks alot Alan for clearing all of that up. I actually was confused about the different between Neapolitan and Margherita, I’ve tried Ricotta’s version in Orchard Park and it was closer to a Neapolitan so that was kind of my standard of judgment (although they definitely don’t conform to those strict guidelines). I just assumed places were preparing it incorrectly or just putting their own “spin” on the idea.

      Also thank you for the suggestions, I definitely will be checking out one of those restaurants up north.

  3. Melissa

    I visited Rome, Italy a few years ago and ordered the Margherita pizza at many locations throughout the city. What you picture here is exactly how the pizza looked in Rome. I never saw one that looks like the link you posted. Maybe other regions throughout Italy all make their pizza differently.

    • Don Burtless

      hmm I guess so. after reading Buffalo Pundit’s response i wouldn’t doubt it.

  4. Alex

    Don,
    Coming from Manhattan I believe that this is te best pizza IN BUFFALO. Just because it may not be what you were hoping for does not mean that the pizza in not the best in Buffalo. Now lets be serious, Buffalo is not exactly known for their food as much as they are know for their portion sizes. Aside from the Chop House, Fiamma, and a couple of extra restaurants, Buffalo really does not have great food. My first experience with Buffalo food was going to Chefs, and the first day I went I could not get in so I assumed it was going to be amazing however finally getting a seat weeks later I realized just how skewed the average Buffalonian’s opinion is about food and more specifically Italian food because I have yet to find any good Italian food here despite all of the “Italians.” In my personal opinion is that Romeo and Juliet’s is good, not up to the standards of New York City pizza but definitely the best in Buffalo. Plus I do not get these people who are complaining about you just ordering the Margherita Pizza, every pizza whether peperoni or anchovy or anything still starts off with just cheese! If the cheese pizza is not good how can that same pizza with toppings be any better! Its like building a bridge, the foundation has to be good before you can expand on it.

    • Don Burtless

      for this wood fire oven type of pizza, i’d have to say trattoria aroma was our favorite. there are several new places in Buffalo that are doing this… Rocco’s, Bambino and the soon to open (hopefully) Vera’s. I guess after I try all of those places I’ll have my opinion but with pizza I’m in the “less is more” boat. I don’t want all those toppings, simple sauce/tomago/mozz/basil is all i need.

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