The Tournament of Pizza finals

tournament of pizza final round

Pizza King vs. Pasquale's

The final round of the Tournament of Pizza has arrived. After starting with 16 pizza places, we're down to just two: Schenectady's Pizza King and Albany's Pasquale's.

Which pizza will take the title?

Let's eat.

Here's how the two finalists made it here. Pizza King, out of the Schenectady Bracket, topped Fireside in Round 1, Home Style in Round 2, and Saratoga's D'Andrea's in the semi-finals. Pasquale's, out of the Albany Bracket, topped Paesan's in Round 1, Inferno in Round 2, and Troy's I Love NY in the semi-finals.

Here's the bracket for the whole tournament.

Each of the first three rounds had a theme: cheese, pepperoni, broccoli ricotta white. But in this final round, we decided to let the pizzerias pick what they thought was their best pie.

That led to a very interesting matchup. Pizza King decided to enter its chicken marsala pizza with mushrooms, which it says is one of its most popular options. The pie is a white pizza -- no tomato sauce. Pasquale's went a completely different direction, picking its classic margarita pizza: sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. The two pies made for quite the contrast.

Here's the result:

Pizza King 0
Pasquale's 3


This was a match-up of two very worthy competitors and the final score doesn't illustrate how close it was.

The judges weren't sure what to think when presented with Pizza King's chicken marsala pie. But they enjoyed it. "Nice garlicky flavor," commented one judge, who added, "a heavier pizza, good for cold nights." All of the judges noted the pie's heft. "Like a cream sauce pasta on a pizza pie," wrote one judge. "Heavy - really heavy... like a can of cream of mushroom or a casserole on a pizza," noted another who called it "lovely." But the non-traditional flavor might have tripped up the King. Even though the judges liked the chicken marsala, it seemed to just miss the mark. "Not what I'm going for in a pizza," wrote one judge.

Pasquale's showed up to the finals ready to play. The New Scotland Ave pizzeria turned out what might have been its best effort of the whole tournament with its margarita. And the judges responded. Pasquale's cornmeal-dusted crust continued to garner raves. "Excellent crisp crunch on crust," commented one judge. They loved the "summery and bright" flavor of the pizza, with its "fresh, ripe tomatoes" and "nice basil-y flavor." The pizza's appearance even drew praise, with a judge calling it "really pretty looking." Summarized one judge of the Pasquale's pie: "F*** yeah -- so good."

So Pasquale's takes the title in the Tournament of Pizza. Our congratulations goes out to them, but also to Pizza King, which turned out a series of really tasty pies. The King didn't lose so much as Pasquale's won.

Also, AOA would like to thank the judges. We really appreciate their time, palates, appetites and good humor. It was a lot of fun.

pizza finals judging


To be honest I kind of lost interest in all this once the few places I'm familiar with were knocked out (i.e., there is good pizza in the suburbs, too). What I'd rather see is a grade for every non-chain pizza place -- if the place down the street is a B+ and the one in downtown Albany is an A-, I'll take the close one. A first round loser could've come in 2nd place overall, who knows.

I keep trying to tell my wife that Pasquale's is our best option in the neighborhood. Thanks I have proof.

Congrats to Pasquale's! I've never even eaten from there. I wonder if they're gonna get a rush of business after this? That'd be cool if so... and I'll probably be part of it.

Though I'm a little surprised that their neighbor The Fountain didn't even make the cut!

I'd love to see you guys take this to the next level with something like what Lathamite suggests (other than his severely misplaced love for the suburbs) (just kidding) if the time and budget ever allowed.

Keep up the good work, AOA.

I cannot agree anymore with the judges' decision. Pasquele's makes the best pizzas in Albany. The light and crisp crust, fresh tomatoes and basil, the texture and flavors that makes a pizza great.

And the meat entrees such as Veal Marcela and Chicken Parmesan are not deep fried but pan seared. Delicious.

Pasquele's = quality


Pasquele's deserves all the kudos. Not only do they make great pizza, the regular menu is also great. Consistently good Italian food and at reasonable prices. My wife and I eat there every couple of weeks and have always enjoyed. A real gem in the jungle of Albany’s red sauce offerings

Now that that's settled, might I suggest you guys turn your attention to coordinating the AOA Tournament of Barbecue? And might I nominate myself as a judge?

No way Siobhan, not enough barbecue up here. The options for the next competitions need to be of the following:
Tournament Of Burgers
Tournament Of Burritos
Tournament Of Chinese Food

Oooh! HumanMale is right. I'd judge the heck out of ALL of those tournaments!

As a true lover of pizza and a seeker of deliciousness, I took the recommendation and ordered a winning pizza from the winning restaurant last night. Although I thought the margarita was good, I must respectfully disagree with the "best pizza in the Capital Region" title. However, with so many different types of pizza around our neighborhoods, and so many differently tuned palates, there is bound to be a "best" for all of us. Pasqueles is good, but for me, a wood-fired thin crusted Bacchus pie is divinity.


Oddly enough... I know the Pizza King's daughter & her aunt is Pasquale of Pasquale's. I'm not sure of the specifics.

What I've been saying for some time. This is the best pizza in Albany, and now the region! The owner is a very nice lady to boot.

You put them up against some good competion, I love Homestyle in Schenecdedy.

Try the eggplant!

I've had Pasquale's and Pizza King... Both are excellent, but Pizza King is better... I love the Chicken Marsala, but am surprised they chose that one to go up against a traditional red sauce pizza. Both places deserve to be on top, as both have excellent crusts and use the best ingredients.

For Slices, Pizza King, for whole pies Pasquale's ...

um.. kinda funny, Pasquales is my Aunt Vita's restaurant!

and The Pizza King is my dad...

Im pretty sure he taught her how to make pizza..

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