The Great Pizza Race

With pizza menus flooding your email and desk, it can be daunting to pick up that phone and decide which hotline to dial. So SPOT got the dish on five new and passably new non-institutional pizzas. On one fateful and fattening lunch last April 14, we had about 20 taste testers rate each brand. All were regular pizza eaters from the sixth floor Summit office in Mandaluyong who tasted two to three kinds of pizza.

The SPOT staff called the nearest branches of five pizza delivery companies, taking note of the time each place was called and the time the pizza arrived. Taste testers rated each brand based on service (contacting ease, customer friendliness, delivery speed, packaging and extras and freshness) and taste (size, greasiness, crust and toppings). Based on the survey forms our testers answered, all the pizzas passed in terms of the packaging, provision of napkins and hot sauce, and greasiness. Let's see how they fared in the other categories.

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BROOKLYN PIZZA: White Pizza

Price: P560 (New Yorker)

Speed: 35 minutes     Pizza ordered: 10:54 a.m. Pizza arrived: 11:29 a.m.

Customer service: Brooklyn Pizza gets automatic plus points with its customer friendliness; they delivered our order even before store hours officially began. Just make sure you have the exact amount; the rider didn't have change even though we informed them earlier about it.

Overall taste: Most of the taste testers said that the mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta are quite distinct and generous. Also, the greasiness is not bad, while more testers rated the crust as chewy. Its 18-inch size gets two thumbs up with all the testers saying it was sulit. One slice was wasted though; nobody wanted to eat the slice with the hair! Lesson learned: we should've reported it to the store instead of just squealing at the sight.

Call: 896-9696 (Makati), 633-9999 (Ortigas), 775-7575 (Parañaque), 821-0000 (Bicutan), 850-9999 (Alabang), 376-7676 (Tomas Morato), 405-0505 (Robinsons Place Manila)

Rating: •• 2 Spots

SICILIAN EXPRESS: Chicken and Mango

Price: P517 (Extra Large)

Speed: 42 minutes     Pizza ordered: 10:51 a.m. Pizza arrived: 11:33 a.m.

Customer service: On time and no drama over the phone

Overall taste: One tester said it's an "odd combination" but this worked for most of our testers. The mangoes were mostly a hit but the chunks of chicken weren't so. A tester's suggestion could work: cut the chicken into strips. It also has an herby taste that got mixed reviews. Meanwhile, almost all of the testers said that the crust was chewy. Though the customer service is one of the best of the bunch, it was not the best pizza for its size and price.

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Call: 371-7000 (Tomas Morato), 638-0000 (Ortigas), 920-0000 (Katipunan), 712-0000 (Dapitan), 729-5555 (A. Venue Mall), 856-3995 (McKinley)

Rating: ••• 3 Spots

SANDY'S PIZZA: Tuyo in Olive Oil

Price: P530 (18")

Speed: 46 minutes     Pizza ordered: 11:34 a.m. Pizza arrived: 12:20 p.m.

Customer service: Considering they're in San Juan and we're in Mandaluyong, they did ok on time.

Overall taste: Points for effort to inject Pinoy flavor into this Italian dish but it just didn't quite work. The tuyo was very, very scant. A tester compared it to tissue paper: "ganun kakapos." On the other hand, one "got tired of the tuyo taste after a while… since the slices were big." The crust got mixed reviews; one didn't like the inconsistency while another liked how it gave the pizza a "nicer taste and texture." Sandy's should fix this pizza up; it's a "Pinoy fave in the making," as a tester said. Oh, and one more thing they should fix: no hair strand next time, please. Hair lesson learned twice that day!

Call: 467-5404 (San Juan)

Rating: •• 2 Spots

JOEY PEPPERONI PIZZERIA: Luka (Shrimp on Pesto)

Price: P299 (12")

Speed: 70 minutes     Pizza ordered: 10:55 a.m. Pizza arrived: 12:05 p.m.

Customer service: Get ready to wait–it took an hour and ten minutes for the pizza to be delivered though the store was just a few buildings away from ours. The reason? No rider available until 12 noon.

Overall taste: When they said pesto, they meant it. Although the pesto topping was generous, it could've been spread more evenly throughout the whole pizza since one slice had very little. Also, there were more testers who wanted more of the shrimp and cheese. More testers said this 12-inch (its biggest size) pizza was bitin in size. We can't say it was worth the long wait.

Call: 631-1688 (Mandaluyong), 812-1807 (Salcedo), 383-6737 (SM Mezza Residences)

Rating: ••• 3 Spots

NY PIZZA EXPRESS: Bay Shore Anchovy and Garlic

Price: P590 (Whole)

Speed: 70 minutes     Pizza ordered: 12 noon Pizza arrived: 1:10 p.m.

Customer service: Aside from a long, winding story about how there was no rider available, we practically had to scream into the phone for them to hear our order. Yet another pizza we waited for an hour and ten minutes (what is it with those numbers?).

Overall taste: Unlike with Joey Pepperoni, this one was worth the wait. Our testers said that it was still tasty even though it was cold by the time it got here. It had a chewy crust and was tolerably greasy. All of them were satisfied with the toppings except a couple who wanted more anchovies, and garlic and cheese. One tester said it was "very close to regular NY pizza–cheese and tomato sauce-wise."

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Call: 722-9898 (San Juan)

Rating: •••• 4 Spots

Overall Winner!

Tastier and winning more appetites even though it arrived cold, NY Pizza's Bay Shore Anchovy and Garlic was hard to beat. A definite case of last but not the least, but the best!

Images by Ocs Alvarez.

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