The other lad, who did make it out for a pizza excursion, is my friend Clancy, from Lawn Guyland, a huge shitty island off the coast of Queens. But he lives in Athens, GA now and plays drums in the awesome band Witches who I went on tour with in May or whenever that was. Me and Clancy never really knew each other when he was living in New York, but at either the first or the third Do Ya Hear We in Chattanooga, we spent one entire day making furtive eye contact on Heather's porch while we kept overhearing each other talk about Rancid or Murphy's Law, and then we spent the next however many days hanging out and becoming best friends. Clancy is amongst the solidest of dudes and anyone who says otherwise can take it up with my knowledge of Karate.
I originally went to Bella Napoli with the Chattanoogans, where I had a totally weird experience and hated being in the place, although the pizza was really good. I will be the first to admit that maybe I was just in a funny mood, and the universe seemed to think I should give Bella Napoli another shot because I somehow forgot to photograph both the restaurant and the slice! There was no documentation! I had to go back!
So I returned with Clancy. The first time around, the place had this really weird fancy restaurant vibe and I felt uncomfortable in there. Maybe that's partially because I was there with like, 7 people total and we only ordered one slice of pizza. New rule: I am no longer being accommodating to my friends who want to bring along an entourage. 4 people, including me, is the maximum on any pizza expedition from here on out. I get too distracted and stressed out if there's more and the reviews suffer! I have noticed that almost every time I've forgotten to photograph a place or a slice, I've been with some unwieldily large gang of buffoons. Nevermore!
Oy! Anyway, when me and Clancy came back here, the experience was totally different. The demeanor of the employees was totally sweet and Clancy ended up ordering his own slice last minute because mine looked so good and we were both so hungry.
This slice was superb. Like, really really good. Clancy said, "I wanna bring this slice to my friend who thinks that California pizza is the best in the world and show him how wrong he is." The first bite of this slice was amazing. I mostly tasted delicious dough and high quality cheese, and then like some kind of delayed reaction the sauce kicked in and kicked my ass. The sauce tasted fresh and delicious, and the slice was cooked so that it mingled with the cheese in a really great way. The crust was phenomenal and was obviously made by a Master Crustographer. The cheese had a strong flavor and aroma and was generally just super fucking good. Bella Napoli is far superior to it's cousin Ciao! Bella Napoli on 7th Ave, but I will definitely try that place again if I am in that hood because this slice was so good.
The slice that I ate at this pizzeria was definitely like, a 7 or 7.5, but because of my undeniably weird first experience, and because Clancy's slice was too cheesy, I'm giving the place a 6.5, which is still a high rating that I rarely bestow on any pizzeria.
Bella Napoli - $2.25
130 Madison Ave (30th & 31st)
New York, NY 10016