I have reviewed most of my favorite pizzerias in Orlando, but one of my oldest favorites that I hadn’t been back to in a while is Pizzeria Valdiano (http://www.pizzeriavaldiano.com/) in the Winter Park Village shopping center, right next door to my favorite movie theater. I hadn’t been to a movie in over a year and a half thanks to the pandemic, but back in July, I finally broke down and saw a new release I’ve been looking forward to for over a year.
Unfortunately the movie (Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins) was a colossal disappointment for this lifelong G.I. Joe fan and collector, but you know what wasn’t disappointing? A quick lunch before the movie at Pizzeria Valdiano!
Here is one of the best slices of New York-style pizza in Orlando ($3.85), nice and crispy with melty cheese and garlicky, oregano-ey tomato sauce, the perfect New Yawk slice:
And one of my favorite slices of Sicilian pizza ($4.35), perfectly thick, crunchy and fluffy at the same time. Could this be the best Sicilian pizza in the city? Top two or three, without a doubt!
Pizzeria Valdiano is the only pizzeria I know of in Orlando that serves a “Grandma” pizza — a Sicilian pizza without mozzarella cheese on top, just parmesan. This is a single Grandma slice ($4.35), with the same blend of fluffy and crunchy attributes, and even more robust sauce.
Look, people have strong opinions about pizza, I get it. I do too. There are definitely trendier pizzerias, some of which I just love. If you want Chicago-style deep dish or a fancy double-decker pizza, Brad’s Underground Pizza (now in a permanent location!) has you covered. If you want Neapolitan-style, you can’t do better than Pizza Bruno. But for the two kinds of pizza that are closest to my heart due to nostalgia, New York and Sicilian, there are only a few worthy options, especially if you prefer to order by the slice, as I do: Del Dio, Antonella’s, Paradiso, and right here at Pizzeria Valdiano.
Being next to the movie theater brings me even more nostalgia and warm feelings. I’ve always loved going to the movies, especially catching an early weekend matinee and following it with a nice lunch out. For so long, this theater was my tradition, to be followed by either a hoagie from nearby LaSpada’s or a couple of slices from Valdiano right next door. I don’t know when I’ll feel comfortable enough to return to seeing movies in the theater, minus this one unfortunate miscalculation, but at least the pizza was as good as ever.