When I wrote a few weeks back about the pizza dead zone I inhabit, I was admittedly overlooking Dona Bella. This place is ridiculously close to my apartment, and I walk by it at least a few times a week, but I’d always had this particularly strong intuition that their pizza would be dreadful. I don’t know why—Dona Bella just has the air of a terrible pizzeria, and I guess I figured I was better off without the place.
But I really do live in an unfortunate area for delivery pizza. Everything in FiDi (inexplicably) considers me too far away, as do all the places more than three or four blocks to the north of me (?!?)—and most Tribeca pizzerias are basically full-fledged restaurants, super-nutty menus and all. The night I caved and placed my first order with Dona Bella, I’d gone through the menus of literally all the pizzerias on Slice before throwing up my hands and saying “fuck it.” How bad could it be, really?
Not bad. Not bad at all! In fact, I actually like Dona Bella’s pizza, and not only because it has a flawless record of arriving in under 30 minutes. (The record so far is 9. 9 minutes. From the time I sent in my Seamless order to the time the delivery guy rang my doorbell. Offensively quick.)
And before I go on: Dona Bella is indeed nut-free. That’s what I was told via phone, at least. The guy I spoke with seemed a little thrown my by questioning, likely because nobody had ever called in to ask about nuts before. (I figured such a simple pizzeria was a shoo-in, but it would’ve been silly not to try to double-check.) I can’t be sure that the answer I got actually meant anything—it probably didn’t—but there’s nothing suspicious on Dona Bella’s menu, and I’ve eaten their pizza plenty of times now without a hint of an issue.
Now, the pizza isn’t incredible, and I still prefer My Little Pizzeria‘s, but it definitely isn’t bad, either. At the very least, it’s worlds better than all the bad pizza I’m known to eat (Little Italy, Ben’s, Joey Pepperoni’s, 2 Bros…I’m incredibly lazy, and my standards are way lower than I’d like you to believe). The crust—which is definitely a little underwhelming—is covered with those weird-ass texture-sapping breadcrumbs I so hate, but it’s still so, so much better than Little Italy’s. It’s a little on the thin side, but it’s chewy and buttery, and it does well when steeped in pizza grease, too. (Sorry…)
The cheese is good, and the sauce is all right, too. Overall, slices are about as sweet as I can handle before I start crying “sugar sauce!”—but that’s all I ask for, really. I don’t mind pizza that’s a little sweet, but I won’t eat more than a bite or two of any pizza that’s covered in syrupy-sweet tomato sauce, no matter how good the crust and cheese are. (Spoiler: If the sauce is that sweet, neither the crust nor the cheese are going to be worth your stomach space.) What I’m trying to say, I think, is that Dona Bella’s pizza is a bit sweeter than I’d like, but that it’s not nearly sweet enough to piss me off. I like it, and I’m prepared to stand behind that liking.
I should probably mention, though, that I can’t vouch for Dona Bella’s hours-old slices. I actually can’t vouch for much of anything but their freshly made plain pies. Those are all I order, because all I’d really wanted from Dona Bella was a quick, reliable delivery joint that’d be willing and able to bring me edible pies sans any trace amounts of nuts. They can’t seem to be nice to me on the phone, nor can they seem to cut their slices even remotely evenly, but you know what? They’re exactly what I was looking for.
(Too-sweet pizza really does make me unreasonably angry, by the way.)
Find Dona Bella Pizza at 154 Church Street, between Reade and Chambers.