Sometimes the best food can come from the humblest locations. A co-worker from New Jersey with strong opinions about good pizza recommended Tuscany Pizza (http://www.tuscanypizzawp.com/), a tiny storefront pizzeria in a tiny shopping plaza on Howell Branch Road, in the Seminole County side of Winter Park, very close to Casselberry. This co-worker and I have enjoyed pizzas from Pizzeria Del Dio and Paradiso Restaurant and Pizzeria before, and she said Tuscany was easily as good, if not better (in her opinion). I had to find out for myself, so I’ve been there twice so far and ordered takeout both times. They have a few small inside tables, but I’m still not dining in anytime soon.
On my first visit ordering takeout earlier this year, I brought home Tuscany’s thin crust sausage pizza. You can get regular hand-tossed or thin crust for the same price, or “thick crust” (not sure if that’s specifically Chicago-style deep dish, or just slightly thicker than normal) for a dollar more. I believe this was an 18″ XX large for $14.99, because it was only a dollar more than the 16″ X large. It was very good, but not that different from a regular hand-tossed pizza in consistency and size, lacking the crispy, crackery crunch you expect from thin crust pizza. My wife and I still enjoyed it, though.
This was another thin crust XX large sausage pizza from a second, more recent visit, cut in the “party cut” style in rectangles I associate with thin-crust pizza. Maybe due to the party cut, it felt crispier.
I always have to try the regular hand-tossed style too, and I’m somehow convinced this kind of pizza is always better by the slice than as a whole pie. These were two slices of regular New York-style pizza for $2.29 each. They automatically cut them into four thinner slices, which was perfectly fine with me. And even though these were also on the thin side, I think I preferred them just because they were separate slices and not an entire pie.
We both like stromboli, so we decided to try a large stromboli supreme ($18.99). It was ridiculously large, and the two of us got multiple meals out of it.
The stromboli supreme is full of pepperoni, ham, cheese, onions, green peppers, and tomatoes. The regular stromboli doesn’t include the vegetables. This reminds me of a joke I tell my poor students every semester: “What’s the difference between the Supreme Court and a regular court?” They’re always so earnest, they start volunteering serious, thoughtful answers before I interrupt: “The Supreme Court costs more, but it’s larger and comes with extra toppings.” That’s what I call a wayhomer, a joke you might not get immediately, but you’ll figure it out on the way home. Somehow I still get decent evaluations from my students.
These were delicious and beautiful garlic knots — an order of twelve for $5.29 (although we actually got 14, if you count them). They could have used more garlic butter, but they were still absolutely delicious — fluffy and soft inside, light and crispy crust outside, and fun to untwist. The marinara sauce was thick and robust, which I always appreciate, and they weren’t stingy with two nice-sized cups. My wife isn’t a sauce person or a dipper, so it was all mine!
It’s easy to miss Tuscany Pizza unless you go looking for it, or stumble upon it on a mission for doughnuts at Donut King or shaved ice at Rainbow Sno-Cones Shaved Ice in the same plaza. There is a hot dog place in there too, but I haven’t tried it yet. And we all know there are plenty of good pizzerias in and around Orlando, so don’t let your New York and New Jersey friends convince you they all suck. Tuscany joins the esteemed ranks of the aforementioned Del Dio and Paradiso, Tornatore’s, and Tomasino’s for excellent New York-style pizza, and from what I hear (or don’t hear) online, they might be the least-known of all of these pizzerias, so please give them a chance.