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Otto Pizza – Not Your Average Pizza Place

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Otto is a beautiful world full of pizza where you can have some beer or wine, an awesome salad, and some incredibly unique flavor combinations on a delicious saucer crust. They have two locations in Portland, both on Congress St., and now also have 3 locations in the Boston area for those looking to take a long drive and fill their gas tank more than they need to. They have been featured on the Cooking Channel and with good reason. They are pizza innovators.

When going to Otto, keep in mind that they are a popular location. There is the possibility that you will have to wait to be seated. On a Friday at 225 Congress St., our wait was about a half hour. While it is well worth it for the excellent pizza, it can lead to excessive hunger, and in rare cases, hallucinations and an urge to sit before being seated by a hosty person. If there is room at the bar, you can take a seat and eat there or have a beverage while waiting for a table.

We were finally seated at one end of a long table in the back of the restaurant and placed our drink orders. I stuck with water, but they do have their own line of sodas, lemonade, and the like, in addition to the previously mentioned bar treats. We pretty much knew what we wanted since we had perused the menu while waiting to be seated and as soon as we had drinks, we ordered our food.

There is a nice selection of salads available which are new to Otto – at least since the last time I was there. I ordered the Mozzarella and Tomato, my wife ordered the Caesar and the friend we were with chose the House salad. The delectable veggie mixtures came out promptly. My salad came with a nice selection of lettuce, croutons, oregano, basil, and lemon vinaigrette. It was very fresh and the combination of flavors in the salad was really sensational. The light flavor of the dressing only enhanced it. It should be noted too that the croutons were the best I have ever had. They appeared to be sliced lengthwise from a long piece of bread. The thin, flat pieces were very crunchy as all croutons should be and had a cheese and garlic flavor that was outstanding. I actually thought about asking to buy a bunch of them to snack on later. Everyone was pleased with the quality of the salads.

While we were eating our salads, some gentlemen, possibly mildly intoxicated, came and sat down at the other end of our table. This would appear to be okay at some places, but Otto is not a “seat yourself” establishment. The hostess came by and asked them what their situation was. They decided to leave and go to the bar next door. The situation was handled well, especially considering the number of people who had put their name in for a table and the wait time for a seat.

Shortly after our salads were done, our pizzas came out. I ordered a large Pulled Pork and Mango while the ladies commandeered a Roasted Tomato, Ricotta, and Basil. The timing of the pizza was good, but mine was small. I assumed that wasn’t just because it had been overcooked since it didn’t look like it was overcooked. I was right. The waitress thought I ordered a small. It was an honest mistake, but I know that happened. I ordered a pulled pork and mango pizza and then she stopped listening to my order because no normal person would order a 16″ pizza for themselves. What she didn’t know is that I’m not a normal person. I’m Peterpeterportlandeater and I’m a growing boy.

I sized up my 12″ pizza and out came the 16″. I wanted mine to be bigger bigger. You might say I had pizza envy. Knowing that I would probably be eating part of the larger one too, I scrutinized it. They both looked awesome. My first bites of the pizza were exactly as I remembered them. The sweet combo of the BBQ pork and the mango on a white pizza is a phenomenon. It’s one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. The mango almost becomes invisible in the dim lighting when sitting on top of the cheese while the pulled pork is placed on top of the pizza in mini mountains.

After I ripped through my delicious pie I was ready to jump in and avoid wasting any of the other one. The roasted tomato, ricotta, and basil was magnificent with each individual topping present in amounts sufficient for the tastes to stand out and contribute to the overall flavor profile. I ate two pieces and stopped before the point where I felt I might outgrow the waist on my jeans.

We decided to box up the last two pieces of pizza to take home. Our meal came to about $63 including tip. That took into account 3 salads, a small and a large pie, and at least one drink. We were really pleased with everything. I’ve already picked out a number of other pies that sound excellent for future visits. The mashed potato, bacon, and scallion is very popular and delicious. The next one I will try that I haven’t had yet is the Spicy Pulled Pork with Scallion and Herb. And after that, I’m all over the Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Cranberry. Check out their menu for more kick-ass topping combos.

The food, service, and atmosphere are always great. Otto also sells slices either to eat there or to take out and has gluten-free crust available. The pizza size issue was minor considering I just ate the other pizza when I finished mine. When we were done, we left to go home and relax, but upon arrival to my abode we realized the leftover pizza was still at Otto. I guess we’ll have to go back soon to make up for that. Otto definitely deserves a return visit.

Stay hungry.

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