Pizzeria Paradiso vs. Filo’s Taverna

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Believe it or not we’ve made it to Round 2 in our Northampton league, and with eight contestants remaining these are also the quarter finals!  At this point we have flushed out some obvious dogs (I’m looking at you Domino’s) and said tearful goodbyes to cherished boyhood memories (bye bye Papa Gino’s, we love you), and are ready to take on the big boys in Noho.  This week turned out to be the toughest challenge yet for our brave testers, and is an excited sign of the quality to come from the rest of the bracket.  We had our first repeat tasting of the competition with Pizzeria Paradiso, which edged out childhood favorite Papa Gino’s in Round 1.  And challenging Pizzeria Paradiso’s place was Filo’s Greek Taverna, a relatively new upstart on Main Street, sitting in the spot an old furniture store used to be.  One notable thing about Filo’s is that it is our number one seed, which was taken from Google’s rating systems.  Also of note about Filo’s is that after ordering our large pizza we received an additional small cheese pizza for free!  So we had something the feed the kids who aren’t especially interested in our weird grownup toppings.

Here are the standings as of this week to give you an idea of where things currently lie.

bracket

 

Pizzeria Paradiso

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So tucked, so nestled.

You can check out my spiel from week 1 if you’re looking for info on Pizzeria Paradiso.  They are a solid dine-in italian restaurant that also does takeout.  One of the things I like about them is that while some restaurants offer pizza takeout, it often doesn’t fare very well on the ride home, but the pies from Paradiso hold up well to the trip and to reheating.  They only open up for dinners though, so you’ll need to go somewhere else to get your lunch groove on.

 

Filo’s Greek Taverna

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Captures that subtle, old world charm

Picked up by Noah:

This evening I enjoyed everything about the Filo’s experience.  Calling in my order was a pleasant affair, the voice on the other side of the line was welcoming, and she even called me Hon (which made me feel good since the older I get the fewer ‘Hons’ get thrown my way).  The best part was learning that I’d get a free small cheese pizza with my order.  Located in downtown Noho, traffic can be a downer getting in and out in the evening, but with town thinning out for the summer, this trip was smooth sailing. Inside the restaurant is a brightly colored pergola, ornate tables, and lots of tasty dishes visible behind the glass counter.  While tonight was my first experience with their pizza, I have gotten take out from Filo’s many times and I highly recommend the lamb burger!

Noah

 

The Pizza

OK before I get started I have to stress that this was the toughest challenge yet in terms of deciding a winner.  Both pies are delicious in their own way and even though I think we made the right decision in the end, it was grueling and quite close.  But that is what we’ll need to get used to as we proceed through this Northampton bracket.

We decided to go for a new topping combo today with mushrooms and pepperoni, continuing in the tradition of a vegetable and meat.  Mushrooms can be a tricky topping to get right.  They can be anywhere from completely forgettable, to flat out gross, to a pizza-enhancing wonder food.  I could smell them on the ride home and couldn’t wait to dig in!

This is one of the first weeks where both pizzas are roughly the same size and visually seem about on par with each other.  I think we all preferred the looks of the Filo’s pie with it’s circular shape, nicely browned crust, and full uniformed distribution of toppings.  However, this is no beauty contest!  We ingested these pizzas in the name of science until one was declared superior.

 

Crust

Wow, both pizzas had a stellar crust this week.  Great chew and just the right amount of salt content were delivered by both pies, something we haven’t seen yet in this competition.  It should be noted that disappointingly, the pie from Paradiso was just slightly under cooked.  If they had left it in the over another 30 to 60 seconds it would have been perfect, but because of that lost time it was just a bit limp and underdone.  With that said, the crust was still delicious and actually was preferred by all of our tasters for its slightly better chew and flavor.

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso

 

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Filo's Greek Taverna
Crust

 

Toppings

The pepperoni on the Filo’s pizza was spicy and smokey whereas the mushrooms on the Paradiso pizza were hearty and delicious.  There were noticeably more total toppings on the Filo’s pie, but the quality of the Paradiso toppings seemed slightly better, with thicker cut mushrooms and a more delicate tasting pepperoni.  So this one was a total toss-up!

Winner: Tie

 

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Filo's Greek Taverna
Toppings

 

Flavor

The flavor of the Filo’s pizza is bright and really jumps out at you.  That first bite especially had me at hello.  On the other hand the Paradiso pie had a more subtle flavor that came into its own the more you ate.  It was a bit fresher and had a nice tomatoey taste. So really it was two very different approaches to flavor and in some ways it comes down to the preferences of our judges.  My take on it is that if you’re planning on eating a single slice from one of these pizzas you would get more out of a Filo’s slice, but if you’re going to eat two or more slices, you may have a better overall experience with Paradiso.

Winner: Filo’s Greek Taverna

 

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Filo's Greek Taverna
Flavor

 

Final Thoughts

Sitting around that table we knew we had a tough night ahead of us figuring out which pizza we preferred, but in some ways we had unconsciously already decided by the time we made our votes.  After going back for seconds (and thirds), the Paradiso box was empty by a few more slices.  And when the vote total was tallied in favor of Paradiso I think the right pie shop won.  But I just want to state for the record that I would eat the pizza at Filo’s any day of the week and be thrilled to have it.  In fact, if you add in the free small cheese that comes with the large, the value might push some buyers over the edge in that direction.  But we’re just testing the actual pizza here, and in that category we believe that Pizzeria Paradiso puts out a slightly higher quality pie.

 

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Filo's Greek Taverna
Crust
Toppings
Flavor

 

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso (5 votes)

 

First Runner Up: Filo's Greek Taverna (3 votes)

 

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso

bracket

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