Olivia Flores Alvarez
Where: Candelari’s Pizzeria, 6001 Washington Avenue, 832-200-1474
What $13 gets you: We tried the lunch special which includes soup, salad, pizza, pasta, dessert and a drink for $10.50 (available seven days a week). We also tried two by-the-slice slices of pizza, salad and a drink for just under $13.
I had the sausage pizza and pepperoni pizza from the buffet, while my partner had two slices with feta cheese and red peppers. We also taste-tested the cold pesto pasta salad and hot noodles with meat sauce, both of which were about the right temperature, but lacking in flavor.
Recommended? Not exactly. While you do get an awful lot of food at Candelari’s, most of it is a little too plain for our taste. Italian food usually involves garlic, olive oil and fragrant herbs. There wasn’t a garlic clove to be found during our visit.
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And while our pizza dough was supposedly made with a five-grain flour, the only notable difference between it and white crusts was a barely-there sprinkling of herbs.
Also, pizza crusts should be chewy – and browned. Our pizza crust (both from the buffet and by-the-slice order) was suspiciously beige. Ditto our grilled chicken soup. (Beige soup must be an acquired taste.)
The serving sizes and prices are great at Candelari’s, but somebody needs to go in the kitchen and roast some garlic or toss around some oregano.
Bonus point: Candelari’s has two great porches that seem perfect for a couple of beers after work, but we do warn you to watch for the flying umbrellas on the smaller porch – really. (Maybe Candelari’s secret marketing strategy is to have a great happy hour and get everyone so drunk they won’t notice the flavorless food.) — Olivia Flores Alvarez