Sunday, July 8, 2012

Indianapolis Pizza Royalty

Like many Jane Doe: Foodie readers, pizza is one of my favorite things. No matter what mood I am in or what I am craving, pizza is always a welcomed suggestion! During my food blog hiatus I had some pretty amazing pizza. Here is the run down of my top 3 pizza places in Indianapolis. Conveniently located around the city for your craving pleasure, I introduce you to Napolese, MacKenzie River Pizza, and California Pizza Kitchen.

Napolese Artisanal Pizza

Atmosphere (*****) Ok, I'm not going to lie, this is my FAVORITE pizza place and may be my favorite overall place to eat in Indianapolis. The restaurant has recently expanded to accommodate more seating and I really appreciate it because now I don't have to wait so long to eat! The whole place is painted a deep navy blue which gives off a very warm and cozy feeling. The wood fire oven and visible pizza kitchen allow you to see what's going on and you can even sit up at the bar and watch the pizza masters make your pizza. 

Service (*****) We have been to Napolese many times and have had great service every time, no exceptions. I love going here because I know we will be taken care of and never go thirsty! There really isn't anymore to say because it's top notch. 

Food (*****) If you haven't guessed, every category gets five stars but especially this one. We generally get the same thing every time because we love it so much but I have had other things and will talk a little bit about them.
Appetizers: When you sit down you get a bowl of really tasty olives (my fiance's opinion, I don't like olives) to tide you over until you get your first round of food. 
You get more than this, but they were eaten
while I was getting my phone out 
The Baked Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce with flat bread is out of this world. I have seen this appetizer before so it's not anything new but defiantly worth getting at Napolese. What is very different and very good is the Housemade Ricotta, Roasted Onion and Garlic. It comes with a variety of great bread. The ricotta is so rich and the garlic flavor is present without being too much. The consistency is like hummus and is perfect smothered on the bread. 

I have reviewed a few caesar salads on Jane Doe: Foodie but this is one of the best. The dressing is more of vinaigrette with a hint of lemon. It's really refreshing and not heavy at all. The parmesan sprinkled on top ties the whole dish together nicely. One is big enough to share, unless your not the sharing type! 
I was too hungry and forgot to
take a pic until the end!
Pizza: And now, what we all really care about: the pizza! When we go as a couple we share one pizza and create our own (they should rename this the Jane Doe: Foodie pizza). We get the tomato sauce with mozzarella, goat cheese, mushrooms, and on my half I get new potatoes (yes that's right) and on my fiance's half he gets some sort of onion. It's pretty much the best thing I have put in my mouth. The goat cheese is so creamy and goes really nicely with the thick potato and mushrooms. 
The Jane Doe: Foodie Pizza :)
I have also had the Buffalo Margherita, the Meridian-Kessler, and some of their daily special pizzas. The daily special pizza's are great  because they are using fresh ingredients that are available to them locally. For the more "traditional pizza" types, give it a try because I guarantee you will love it. The whole Cafe Patachou empire can do no wrong!  

Dessert (*****) I should have told you this first: save room for dessert. Napolese makes it's own gelato, which is amazing. They typically have 6-8 flavors from your basic chocolate to the crazy like malt ball. BUT they also make the best freakin cobbler I have ever had (sorry mom). They have a different kind each time we go, but so far I have had strawberry-rubarb, apple, and berry. You know the crumble on top of cobbler? Napolese's is the best. I would suggest you get the cobbler topped with a scoop of gelato. 

Overall (*****) You should probably just make plans to go to Napolese tonight. As I sit and write this I am trying to think of the conversation I will be having with my fiance tonight to convince him to go tonight. 

114 E. 49th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46205

Napolese on Urbanspoon

MacKenzie River Pizza 

Atmosphere (****) The woodsy-esque atmosphere at MacKenzie River is actually really warm and relaxing. From the bear photos on the wall, to the canoe hanging in the middle of the restaurant, you feel like you are in Montana. The bar area is really nice and secluded from the regular seating. This is nice because MacKenzie is defiantly a family place but it can also be an adult place over in the bar. 

Service (*****)  I am not sure if I am digging the pizza place service because I am always so hungry for the pizza and I am not worried about anything else but the service here is great too. We were there Thursday night with a friend and between him and my fiance they drank about 6 cokes apiece and their glasses were never empty. Also, I always get a glass of milk with their dessert (for more keep reading) and they never look at me funny, other places do. 

Food (****) MacKenzie River has a great selection of food. I have heard that their pasta and sandwiches are very good, though I can't get past the pizza so I may never know. One nice thing about this place is their pizza dough options. They have a regular crust that is between a thick and thin, they also have thin, and a whole wheat, which comes like the regular crust. YUM!
Appetizers:  We have gotten the Goat Cheese Queso and the Logpoles. Of course the queso was selected because of the goat cheese (I don't pass that shit up). This is really good but different from other queso you may have had so beware! The Logpoles are basically breadsticks with marina sauce but defiantly a good starter.   
Goat Cheese Queso 

Pizza: We have been to MacKenzie River quite a few times and tried something different each time. All of the pizza's have been good. I like the celery salt sprinkled on the bottom of all the crusts, it's a nice touch. The veggies on all the pizza's have been really fresh and crisp. While I generally like my veggies soft when they are on a pizza, I don't really mind the crunchiness here. So far we have tried and enjoyed the BBQ Chicken Pizza, BLT, Buffalo Wing, and the Madison, and a couple of Create Your Own pizzas (see menu for descriptions). By far the celery on the Buffalo Wing and the Create Your Owns I have made is like my favorite thing. Why has celery been left of pizza everywhere else. News flash pizza places: ADD CELERY. 

Dessert: The MacLovin is one of those things that you dream about and crave non-stop. It's bad news, but oh so good. It's a chocolate chip cookie (hints the glass of milk mentioned earlier) baked in a cast iron skillet topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. When they bring it out you can still hear the cookie dough sizzling and when you dig in the dough is still gooey. Do yourself a favor and get it no matter what diet you're on. 
Yeh..thats right
Overall (****) This is a great place to go on a Friday night for pizza and drinks with friends. The service, food, and atmosphere all please and I promise you will be coming back, even if it is just for the MacLovin

MacKenzie River Pizza
5001 82nd St. 
Indianapolis, IN 46250 

MacKenzie River Pizza on Urbanspoon

California Pizza Kitchen 

Atmosphere (****) I love the contemporary design of California Pizza Kitchen. It really fits into the downtown vibe and makes you feel like you are dining at a upscale eatery. An added bonus of sitting next to the window is you get to do some great downtown people watching. I will say at busy times the noise can be a bit much but I am glad people are tr! 

Service (***) The service could use some improvement. We have been here twice and one time it was ok and the other time I had to go look for our waiter at the end of the meal for our bill. The place is pretty big and I did count that our server had at least 5 tables, which were not strategically placed so I sort of understand the waiting. 

Food (*****) Ok, if you have had the frozen CPK pizza's from the grocery store you are probably aware that when they make a pizza it really tastes like what they are saying it it. For example, we have gotten the Cheeseburger Pizza at the store and it really tasted like a cheeseburger. We have also had the BBQ Chicken Pizza and it too was straight up BBQ Chicken. So when we ate at the actual restaurant it was no surprise (well it kind of was) that our Club Pizza tasted like you were eating a club sandwich! There was even lettuce on top tossed with a mayo dressing. SO GOOD! I would have never thought lettuce on top of pizza was good but they make it work.

I also recommend the Gorgonzola & Pear Pizza. This is on the more sweet/rich side but very tasty and different. I had to get it without the nuts but took a picture of what it looks like with everything. 

Last, but certainly not least, I would recommend the BBQ Chicken Salad. We have had pizza version so we tried the salad and it may be one of the best salads I have ever put in my mouth. I can't even describe it because there is a lot going on but when it comes together it's heaven. 
This doesn't do it justice...get this salad.

Dessert (?) We opted for Huddles Frozen Yogurt when we ate here so I can't talk desserts but if they are made like the pizzas I am sure they are a delight! 

Overall (****) If you are downtown you should try CPK and be adventurous with your pizza selection. I know sometimes it hard to get away from ordering what you know you like, but here if you like a club sandwich, you would like the pizza because somehow they taste the same. Plus it's right below the movie theater at Circle Center making it a great dinner/movie date night place. 

California Pizza Kitchen 
49 W. Maryland St. 
Indianapolis, IN 46204

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. Thanks, Mollie! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you've reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.


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  8. Well you’re right on one thing - now I’m craving pizza. Heh.

    I really like that you can mix and match your toppings at Napolese. The fact that you get to try out different flavors in your pizza is a massive appeal for me. But that doesn’t mean their other pizzas aren’t good. We usually let people who we drag to Napolese for the first time choose from those to keep them from getting culture shocked.

    Great post! Happy eating!