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Pazani Trattoria in Elkridge

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Pazani offers my favorite kind of pizza -- a crisp, greaseless crust with delicious, but light toppings. The toppings are exceptional, and the crust is strong enough to fold in half around the warm cheese and goodies.

On my last visit, my wife and I split a pie that was half pepperonata (sausage, peppers, onion) and half capricciosa (mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and peppers). These are flavorful cheeses, salty olives, sweet sausage in chunks. Vegetables that tasted like someone sliced in the kitchen and sauteed here, not like anything canned or delivered by an 18-wheeler. But my current favorite is still the spinach-chicken white pizza that I had for lunch one day on the way to BWI -- a slice heated through in the oven and tasting better than most pizza served fresh.

In the end, I love Pazani because those toppings tasted so fresh. My wife prefers Coal Fire in Ellicott City (mentioned in another topic) because she thought the basic crust, cheese and sauce were the best around.

Pazani pulls off a very unusual design. There are no waiters. You order at the counter, fill your own soda, and then wait at your table for the food to be delivered. But it's a classy place, and the modern design and the friendly handwritten menu makes it feel a step above most local pizza restaurants. The kitchen aims a step higher too with good house salads (order the dressing on the side), a dozen entrees, and specials like a stuffed pasta that almost convinced me to skip pizza last time. I want the Pizza Fresca that just opened in Maple Lawn to be this good because it's so much more convenient for me. But Pazani is worth the drive any night that I have time.

Of course, Pazani is a true HoCo restaurant in that it would be almost impossible to run across. I lived a half mile away, and I had to start a food blog before anyone recommended Pazani to me. It is actually quite convenient off Rte 100 or Rte 103.

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