Delicious pizza and calzones
Latest visit: December 28, 2012
First visit: May 9, 2012
Il Vicino is part of a chain with locations in Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico. There are three sites in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe, along with the IVB Canteen (the local brewery — fun) in The Duke City. That Il Vicino is a chain should not deter you, as even Ryan “Break-The-Chain” Scott might approve.
There are three sorts of pizza joints in these parts: Gourmet places (such as Farina’s, Nicky V’s, and such), really good places (such as Village Pizza, Saggios, Turtle Mountain Brewing Co., and many more). I’m sure you have your favorite. The third sort is populated by those dreadful national chains that produce tomato soup-laden cardboard. You know which they are.
I think that Il Vicino ranks right up there near the top of the second group. The readers of Urbanspoon, which lists 155 places here that serve pizza (pretty competitive, huh?), rate Il Vicino very high, placing it first among the moderately priced Restaurants, beating out the much vaunted Saggios. Who am I to argue.
Wood oven pizza, calzones, salads, lasagna, subs and sandwiches, and some handcrafted brews fill the enticing menu. Try them all.
I first ran across these brews at the IVB Canteen, and was blown away. ABQ has some fine craft breweries, and several of these brews are among my favorites. I am a dark fan, and the Slow Down Brown tickles my palate. Mouth-filling flavor with a lingering aftertaste, this is a winner. Jane does not like most darks, and settled for a Pilsner, a light lager,which she found very satisfying. So did I.
Chicken Caesar Salad
Traditional Caesar dressing with anchovies, egg, garlic,tossed with romaine, croutons, asiago.
Jane added some roasted chicken to this creation.
This is as good as (or even better than) some of the Caesars served in some fancy places. Crisp and tasty, and not a hint of sogginess. She loved it.
Pizza al Pesto
Fresh basil pesto, mozzarella, tomatos, sun-dried tomatos, and roasted pine nuts.
This bubbly piece of perfect pesto pizza is so good that it deserves an elevation to my gourmet pizza category. When you don’d want meat, this is for you. It hits the spot. And the Pilsner complements the pizza. Wow.
I love calzones. There are several calzones on the menu, but any of the pizzas can be made up as calzones, or you can build your own. My first try was the Calzone #6, Salsiccia (#6 refers to the pizza number on the menu). Mozzarella and sausage with plenty of marinara. Tasty sausage and nicely gooey cheese complemented with a delicious red sauce that was neither sweet nor tart, but just right. The dough was tender and mildly yeasty. A great combination.
Bur wait — there’s more. On subsequent visits, I had the kitchen build specials for me: a Calzone with Pepperoni, Sausage, and Green Chiles (this is New Mexico, afterall) and a Calzone with Cheese and Pepperoni. Both were excellent. Let your imagination go wild.
Il Vicino is a very pleasant place. The staff is helpful and delightful, and the service is prompt. The young servers and counter staff have been trained well. When I say “Thank you,” they reply “You’re welcome, sir” instead of that lazy and indifferent “No problem.” Eat some good food, and dawdle the afternoon away over some delicious brews. Call me, and I’ll go to Il Vicino anytime.