Monday, February 13, 2017

#CLEfood - Sweet Basil Pizzeria

We just so happened to be on the west side on National Pizza Day so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to try a pizza joint that I've been hearing about for years - Sweet Basil Neopolitan Style Pizzeria. I absolutely love a good thin crust pizza and couldn't wait to try it.
pizza restaurant cleveland ohio sweet basil
We were surprised to see what might have been the remnants of a child's birthday party on a Thursday night. There were tons of kids and balloon animals but they were spread out all over the restaurant so maybe they just give kids balloons. Or maybe it was because of #NationalPizzaDay? 

To make things worse, the parents were letting the kids run around. And there's no soft surfaces so it was LOUD - a lot louder than you would expect from a sit down pizza place even without the kids. Anyways, we almost left because of all the noisy chaos and a heavy amount of smoke from the pizza oven hanging in the air, but at this point we had our hearts set on trying this pizza and were starving. 
cleveland westlake pizzeria review Eat*Drink*Cleveland
The server cleaned off a table right on top of the largest group of kids for us so we were definitely rethinking our decision to stay at that point. But we perservered because the pizza looked awesome. (Tip: If you're a server, don't put a couple next to the annoying kids.)

The restaurant has a cool local industrial themed decor. There are two really cozy tables by the window that are tucked away from the main area. Grab those if they are available! Also be sure to check out the specials on the chalkboard by the door.
pizza Westlake Cleveland @EatDrinkCLE
The menu has something for everyone: speciality pizzas, build your own, calzones, gluten-free crusts, several varieties of mac 'n cheese, salads and even desserts from Great Scott's Bakery. They also have Garlic "Not" Knots which I totally would have tried if I had noticed them before placing our order. But we were here for the pizza and decided to build our own.

pizza, National Pizza Day, Westlake, Cleveland

Toppings
They have an extensive list of possible toppings with some interesting choices like roasted green peppers, pine nuts, ricotta and gyro meat (but no roasted red peppers). We picked our own toppings: mine were green olives, roasted onions and banana peppers; my hubby picked sausage, roasted onions and roasted green peppers. The roasted onions were amazing and I really liked that the roasted green peppers weren't mushy. The sausage left something to be desired. It was pretty finely ground so it was like eating ground beef on a pizza which neither of us care for. Bigger pieces or slices would have made a big difference.
pizza, Cleveland, vegetarian, Westlake, @EatDrinkCLE

Crust
We both loved the crust. It had nice charring and a great chew. It's very thin but crispy so you can easily eat the huge slices with your hands. It was my favorite part of the pizza. After tasting the crust I was regretting not getting the Garlic "Not" Knots even more.

Sauce
This is where the pizza went terribly wrong for us. The sauce desperately needed seasoning. It was bland and just tasted off. We were so disappointed! With a better sauce, this pizza would be killer.

Size
We knew we wanted leftovers so we opted for the 18" pie. If you don't want leftovers, the 12" is a perfect size for two hungry adults. We ate two pieces each that night and then had two more each for lunch the next day. We liked the leftover pieces much better because we added garlic, aleppo pepper and some Italian seasoning. I warmed mine in the toaster oven at work and it was delicious.


Conclusion
There's a lot to love about this place - it's family owned, they use local ingredients as much as possible, the crust is made fresh daily and the staff is really nice. They even give you tiny scoops of lemon Italian ice at the end of your meal. You can tell the owners really care about the restaurant, the product and their customers. They also have a nice selection of beer that you can buy if you are picking up a pizza to go. Sauce is a subjective thing so I'd say you might want to give it a shot - if you like the sauce, you're going to love this pizza for sure. Unfortunately, we were disappointed - especially because it has so much potential.
adirondak chair, pizza, Westlake restaurant, Sweet Basil, @EatDrinkCLE

Sweet Basil Neapolitan Pizzeria
26235 Center Ridge Rd Westlake, OH 
(440) 899-1899

For more information go to their website or follow Sweet Basil on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Only went there once... back in like 2012. Was underwhelmed. Haven't been back. I think they did serve pizza at a 5-mile race I ran though. I didn't complain about it after the run. Pizza is pizza!

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