Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza and Market

Grocery Store | Italian | Pizza
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

Connecticut does not have an official state dish, but all serious eaters know what it would be. Pizza, of course. Connecticut didn’t invent it; but without question it is the place to get the best. Most of the state’s cities and towns have pizza parlors worth checking out; in and around New Haven, the choice of excellent ones is staggering.

Eli’s, in Hamden just up Whitney Avenue, is high on the list of worthies. It is no hole in the wall. It is a modern restaurant with a full menu and an attached market that sells Italian products, meals ready to take home and heat, and handsome pastries. Never mind all that; the specialty of the house here is brick-oven pizza, a fact that is evident when you note that each table is outfitted with an armature designed to hold two pizza pans in the air for easy access by all around it.

Eli’s pizza has a crust I want to call microthin, but it is just hefty enough to offer a nice chew rather than break when bitten. Its rugged underside is a beautiful scattering of dark grains from the oven’s floor, its edge just barely risen, mostly dark brown but blistered black in a few places where it rose the highest in the oven. The topping selection is vast and includes two of New Haven’s signature configurations, both originally sold at Pepe’s – white clam (no red sauce, no mozzarella) and “old fashioned,” the latter a tomato pie topped only with a sprinkling of pecarino cheese but, here too, no melted mozzarella.

I could quibble and say that the dough lacks the certain soulful flavor that distinguishes the great crusts of Wooster Street, but the fact is that Eli’s pizza is one I never would kick off the table, and is superior to 99.99% of the world’s pizzas.

What to Eat
Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza and Market, White Clam Pizza (large)
White Clam Pizza (large)
Must-Try
A sight to make a pizza lover's heart go pitty-pat: New Haven white clam pizza made, of course, with freshly shucked clams. No tomato sauce, no mozzarella intrude on the symphony of clams, crust, garlic, grated Pecarino, and spice.
Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza and Market, Sausage Pizza (large)
Sausage Pizza (large)
Must-Try
The wrong side of the slice is what's right about New Haven's best pizzas. Note the little bits of burnt semolina that cling to the bottom, the sturdiness of the crust despite its being so thin, as well as its oh-so-deliciously charcoaly barely-blackened edge, and the mottled surface that is a toasty chew beyond description.
Old Fashioned Plain – Large
Must-Try
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11:30 am - 1 am
Monday11:30 am - 1 am
Tuesday11:30 am - 1 am
Wednesday11:30 am - 1 am
Thursday11:30 am - 1 am
Friday11:30 am - 2 am
Saturday11:30 am - 2 am
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
11 stops | 70 MILES | 1 hr 46 min

Close to the Road

America's Byways® are a collection of 150 National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The Merritt Parkway of Connecticut is a rolling, limited-access four-lane with bridges that display beautiful Art Deco styling of the 1930s. Opportunities to eat well just off the road are plentiful,…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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