According to the review of Los Olivos Pizzeria in the Arizona Daily Star August 14, 2014; [Los Olivos offers] … “some really excellent pizza variants with a serious streak of foodie flair. The writer continues. “This unbelievably cheap pie was incredible, period.”
Aside from using the word “incredible” three times in his short article, and misspelling Mercado San Agustin (there is no “u” after the “A” in Agustin), their correspondent mainly emphasized that Los Olivos is (a) tiny; (b) has a lot of different topping options; and (c) their pizzas are “cheap”.
I was mainly annoyed with the Star’s positive review of Los Olivos because I was about to wrap up Southern Arizona Guide’s List of the 10 Best Pizzas In Tucson. But now that the Star considers Los Olivos “incredible” I had to find out if it belongs on my lists of the best.
So two weeks after the Star’s review, Neighbor Roy & I went to check out Los Olivos Artisan Pizzeria on Congress just west of the Mercado. We ordered the 18” pie, half pepperoni and half sausage and red bell peppers.
Having concluded our meal, Roy & I discussed the similarities between the Star reporter’s comments and our just completed pizza experience. Read More
Points of Agreement
- Los Olivos is tiny. We wouldn’t describe this place as a hole-in-the-wall because that would be too generous. Inside, there were three tables. We chose the one by the window overlooking some vacant, run-down buildings across West Congress. Each table was about 20” square, just large enough for our large pizza and our two soft drinks in the supplied small Styrofoam cups. The patio in front of this once-upon-a-time family residence had two tables. In theory, perhaps as many as 12 people total could be seated at any one time. To be fair, Los Olivos Pizzeria is mainly a take-out place. Place your order online and pick it up hot-out-of-the-oven 15 minutes later.
- Los Olivos offers many different toppings. The above photo of the menu board should be all you need to know about variety here.
- Los Olivos is “unbelievably cheap”. True enough. For us, a large pizza, three toppings, and two soft drinks = $15. We had more than enough pizza to take plenty home to Ms. Karen. It’s also true that you can get a slice of pizza-of-the-day and a salad for only $5. Soft drinks are $1.25.
- [The pizza] “was incredible”. To quote Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Neighbor Roy & I had a slightly different take. Our pizza was “incredibly bland”. If the ingredients were fresh, as their website claims, it was not apparent to us.
The “crispy crust” the Star reporter experienced had been replaced with a thicker, chewy, tasteless, slightly soggy crust. I was trying to figure out why our pizza was so boring. Then, inspecting the layers of crust/cheese/toppings, I realized that I could not find the layer of tomato sauce. I asked Mr. Los Olivos why he didn’t put tomato sauce on our pizza. He swore that it was there. Couldn’t prove it by us, either by visual observation or taste.
I took about half our large pizza home so Ms. Karen could sample and render an opinion. First bite, “This crust is soggy.” I asked her if she noticed any tomato sauce. She examined her slice, took one more bite, “Nope, no tomato sauce here”. Placing her partially eaten slice on the counter, she remarked, “Maybe the dogs will like it” and wandered back to her office.
The Star reviewer raved about Los Olivos’ pizza being great “value”. But now I was stuck with almost a half of a large pizza that no one will eat … except maybe Bud & Molly. That effectively puts our pizza at $15 for a half a pie, or $30 for a whole, and that’s no great value.
That leaves only one more pizzeria to check out before we publish our List of the Best: Pizzeria Bianco. Given that the Star was effusive in it praise of Chris Bianco’s new Downtown pizzeria, I am not hopeful.
Los Olivos Pizzeria
937 W. Congress
Take out: 520-624-0155