Pizza at Anna's Wood Fired Pizza

Pizza from Annas Wood Fired at Galleria7

By Deanna Fox

I was recently talking to a Capital Region native who moved to NYC for a few years before settling down back home. He said of all the great things New York City offers, the pizza in Albany is undoubtedly better, and so are the music venues (the little clubs that let you get right up close to the band).

But about that pizza thing...

New York City pizza is an American icon, but it might not be everyone's slice of pie. (Chicago people -- hush your mouths.)

Personally, I've never had pizza in NYC that I didn't enjoy, but it wasn't until I moved to Albany that I really saw how much pizza can vary from place to place. Take Sovrana's for instance, with its thick, chewy crust and slightly sweet sauce. Compare that to DeFazio's or 9 Miles East, with a thinner crust and more acidic, salty sauce. Even the use of cheese is different. But is one better than the others? (According to the Tournament of Pizza... yep.)

Anna's Wood Fired Pizza, located in the Galleria 7 Marketplace in Latham, comes from the family (the Isopos) who run Mario's Restaurant and Pizzeria in Niskayuna and Prima Pizza in Schenectady. Each pizzeria has its own personality, and it's fresh and simple ingredients that take the starring role at Anna's.

Pizza from Annas Wood Fired at Galleria7 closeup crust

An Italian wood-fired pizza oven is almost another ingredient for Anna's pizza, providing the 800 degree heat that blisters the crust and creates shards of blackened char in any air pockets that expand on the surface.

The sauce is little more than salt and crushed tomatoes, hand-milled to capture all the oils and essence of a tomato picked and canned at its prime. Fresh mozzarella creates islands on over the red sauce sea and retains all of its tender, chewy qualities. Fresh basil tops lends a gentle peppery bite while fruity olive oil fills out the balance.

It's like a perfectly mixed cocktail in ways: No single flavor outweighs another. Something acidic (the sauce), something sweet (the cheese and oil), and something bitter (the crust) are perfectly layered create a pizza as close to any I've had in Italy. This version, called the Anna, serves two to three people for $11.

Pizza from Anna's Wood Fired at Galleria7 meatball pizza

The Jo-Jo ($13) takes the Anna and embellishes it with housemade meatballs, sliced into thick coins, and fire-roasted hot peppers. The peppers on their own would make for an outstanding snackie -- brittle skin gives way to toothsome but tender flesh that fills the mouth with juicy heat -- but add another layer of depth to the pizza. The meatball slices are flecked with red pepper and oregano but don't overwhelm the pizza beneath it.

Is Albany pizza better than NYC pizza? I'm not going to pick sides in that fight, but it's hard to desire a slice outside of the Capital Region when places like Anna's get it so right.

Deanna Fox writes about many things, mostly about food. More can be found on her website, Twitter, or Instagram.

More Eat This
+ Dining around at Troy Kitchen
+ Sopes at Viva Cinco de Mayo
+ Massaman curry at Emmanuel Thai
+ Blackened Fish Po'Boy at Hooked Seafood Co. in Galleria 7 (2016)

Find It

Anna’s Wood Fired Pizza
1214 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110

No phone, no phone number. Stop in to place an order… average wait time is only 5-10 minutes.

Comments

my kids and I LOVE going to Anna'S. The pizza is always delicious, the Uncle Louie (wood fired wings with hot peppers and onions) are out of this world, and the staff always puts on a good show for the kids, tossing the dough extra high, doing tricks, etc.

This is the lunatic fringe of regional boosterism.

"This is the lunatic fringe of regional boosterism."

New AOA slogan? (And I mean that in the very best possible way... a community of people who truly love and want to know more about the region!)

Oh boy. Want.

"He said of all the great things New York City offers, the pizza in Albany is undoubtedly better."

That man is either crazy or barely ate any pizza at all in NYC.

One could credibly argue that NYC is the greatest food destination in the universe and it may be an understatement to say it has 1000 times the quantity and variety of food (and pizza) as Albany.

Albany has some great food and I love Albany but... Settle down y'allz

Apparently, it's politically incorrect to say Albany's pizza might be better than NYC's pizza.

So, there are some people who conflate New York with NYC. But there are also people who conflate NYC with Manhattan.

I would be curious to delve deeper into Fox's source on his opinions. Especially because "better" is squishy.

Are we talking the best pies versus the best pies? Because in that case, NYC wins, and it wins handily. Heck, even Manhattan would win.

But if we are talking the hit rate of delicious pies versus crap, then it's a more interesting question. There's a lot of crap pizza in Manhattan. We have a fair bit of it here too.

My pick for best pizza region? New Jersey.

There is no room for crappy pizza in New Jersey. The average level of any random strip mall slice shop in NJ is higher than I have found anywhere else. There are no tourists to prop up inferior places. Nor are there the same concentrations of workers who need a quick, inexpensive lunch, within a limited geographic area.

Whatever the case, Anna's does good work. But it would be prudent to keep one's expectations in check. My pie there was a bit underdone in the center.

This is making me hungry. I rarely go to Latham, but might have to now.

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