.First Bite

Romeo's Pizza & Pasta

August 2-8, 2006

Petaluma is a pizza town. From Pinky’s to New York to the godfather of all good local pizza, Old Chicago, this town has your pizza needs covered.

The newest is Romeo’s Pizza & Pasta, which specializes in sourdough crust. A local chain, it has already opened a location on Sonoma Mountain Parkway on the east side of town, and has just opened a second store on Washington Boulevard, near downtown.

The eastside Romeo’s is located on the side of G&G Supermarket in a strip-mall cubbyhole painted sienna and clay colors. Although the menu includes appetizers, pastas, salads and sandwiches, I ordered a medium pizza ($17), half veggie pesto (spinach, onions, tomatoes, feta, garlic and pesto) and half Mediterranean chicken pizza (chicken, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, red and green onions, capers and a creamy garlic sauce).

When I opened the box, the pizza was so thickly covered with cheese, I thought there had been a mistake and I have been given the wrong pizza. Romeo’s makes the kind of pizza that is drowning in toppings–so much so that when you pull out a piece, they threaten to fall off. The whole time, I kept losing capers and sun-dried tomatoes. Some people might find that opulent; I found it annoying.

But Romeo’s crust is just right. It’s rolled thin, but not too thin, firm on the outside and soft on the inside. The pizza also has such an abundance of good, stringy cheese, it practically drowns out the pesto and garlic sauces. Because of this, the veggie pesto is a satisfying mesh of cheese, crust and fresh vegetables.

However, the Mediterranean chicken pizza was, well, not very Mediterranean. Between the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes, the saltiness of the capers and the garlic sauce, it reminded me more of barbecue chicken. My dining companion, on the other hand, said it reminded him of a chicken sandwich. Either way, the name just seemed wrong.

Overall, while Romeo’s generous helping of toppings can be almost too much for the palate at times, you definitely get your money’s worth.

Romeo’s Pizza & Pasta, east Petaluma: 701 Sonoma Mt. Pkwy., Ste. E2 (in the G&G strip mall), 707.762.6668; west Petaluma: 35 E. Washington St., Ste. A (across from the Golden Eagle shopping center), 707.762.6669. Open for lunch, dinner and takeout daily.

Quick-and-dirty dashes through North Bay restaurants. These aren’t your standard “bring five friends and order everything on the menu” dining reviews.

North Bay Bohemian E-edition North Bay Bohemian E-edition