Posted By: Pizza Expert on May 25th, 2011
Another pizza place decided to open up on the Federal Highway corridor of downtown Boca Raton where Saba was, Cavallino was, and what seems like several others. After many failed attempts for restaurants to make it in this location, a new place decided to redo the restaurant yet again, and make a go at it. The latest place is called Ovenella. Originally, Ovenella in Boca Raton was supposed to just be a new “artisan” pizza place. I guess using the word artisan would make them feel fancy and try to separate them from the other pizza places located in the immediate vicinity such as Tucci’s Pizza, Table 42, Speranza and the like. Somehow they decided to not only focus on pizza and instead offer a full menu and bar. Personally I like this idea since the competition of having some great pizza places around you might be too immense to survive.
Ovenella was beautiful inside. It appears no expense was spared during the redesign. The bar was fully stocked, and looked sleek, the restaurant was airy, open, and spotless, and you just couldn’t help but feel comfortable inside. Although Andy (who I ate with) begged to differ, I thought the hostess was extremely nice and attentive. Not only did she seat us, but she took it upon herself to help out the waiter and bring us our water.
When our server came over to the table he seemed a bit unsure and nervous, which is understandable since they only opened three days before I got there to review the pizza. The server even went into explaining (without us asking) how they are a full Italian Cuisine restaurant, which was supposed to only be a pizza place at first. He explained that they have a wood fired oven that burns white oak. This is a winning combination at many pizza places in recent times. I liked how they make it clear that they use Caputo 00 flour on their menu. This is probably the best flour to use when making pizza, so I was anxious to try a pie and see if the rest of the pizza was made with such good ingredients. The three cheeses that Ovenella has on their menu are actually made in house. They seem to take pride in this, so I thought I would highlight that here as well. Our server continued to tell us, and I quote “you won’t find a pizza like this in Boca Raton, it is the best”. Well….not exactly the thing to say to someone who is looking to find the best pizza to, you just set yourself an unobtainable bar. He also asked us to leave reviews on the web about the food, which was truly weird since we hadn’t even gotten our orders in yet. Little did he know that he would get his review wish. I even tried to explain to him that I found out about their opening from a tip to this website, but he didn’t seem to even care.
Andy and I, ordered some appetizers. I got some french fries and he got something I cannot remember to pronounce. I ordered a coke with no ice, and was upset to find it was one of those small aluminum soda bottles. You know, the kind that restaurants use to try and appear fancy, when it is actually something that makes me think they are cheap. You know, the kind that they charge $2.75 for when they are the size of a can of soda, in a beautifully shaped disguised bottle. Oh wait, a can has 12 fl ounces and these bottles only had 8.5. I can see why they chose to serve these and charge $2.75 for them.
While waiting for the pizza, I noticed the manager seemed so nervous and intense as he walked around. He was very curious how we found out about it. In my opinion the way he was overly involved and walking around made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I wish he was more attentive to the stale bread they just served us. None of us could really eat it.
Our server came back and asked us if there was anything we needed, and Andy said “ummmm the appetizers perhaps”, and our server said they will be right out. He was correct, they were coming right out, right out at the same time as our pizza. We explained we no longer wanted them, and that they were appetizers to eat before our meal. The waiter actually told Andy he put in his order too late, but it made no sense since we both ordered the appetizers at the same time. The server should have known better than to try to tell the customer he/she was wrong, and if they were in fact wrong, he should have told them when they ordered the appetizers that they would take longer than the pizza, or actually get a lightbulb that went off in his head and place the pizza order in after the appetizers. Needless to say we didn’t have our appetizers.
We heard the gentleman behind us complaining that his pizza didn’t have enough cheese, and his server responded with “next time you should mention that you want extra cheese”. With a response like that, I doubt there will be a next time, in my opinion. The staff should explain to all when ordering pizza, that it might be different than other places and make them aware of what is to come.
When the pizza arrived, I completely understood what the guy behind me meant by lack of cheese. In my opinion…this pizza looked like a glorified pita with some random sauce, and globs of fresh cheese that were way too thick, and way too undercooked. The sauce had almost zero flavor (I am sure they used fresh tomatoes, of the quality kind and just failed to season them properly). The crust was actually really tasty, but once again it had the texture of a pita bread. The cheese definitely tasted freshly made, but the way they applied it was awful, and there was almost no taste to it as well. So with relatively no taste to the sauce and the cheese, it did not make for a winning combination in my opinion. This pie definitely needed the oregano that was generously applied to the top.
Although the pie was thin enough, and at 12 inches, I didn’t finish it. Not because I couldn’t, but because it really wasn’t a pie I loved. I boxed most of it and just wanted to get out of there. When the bill came at $76.15, I started to wonder how and if this place will make it. I sure hope they do, because it would be nice to have a chic dining experience in this portion of Boca Raton. The owners deserve to make money here since they obviously have taken great pride in what they are trying to do. We couldn’t even pay the check as we wanted to since their Micros machine wasn’t working, and that was quite a nuisance. I should note, my wife really did enjoy her fish, so maybe if I go back I will try some pasta etc. Unfortunately I would not try the pizza again, unless they make some serious improvements to the pie. We actually went to another pizza place afterwards, since we were still hungry and craving some good pie.
In my opinion, they should sweeten up the sauce, thin out the cheese and cook it longer. The crust is fine as it is. I would also get some fountain beverages in there. I would also suggests that they lay off the customers a little bit and stop micro managing everything they are doing. The staff could benefit from some additional training (call us in guys, we would be happy to help) and I would never suggest leaving a review before the meal comes out.
Ovenella in Boca Raton, gets 3 out of 8 slices for this visit, and I TRULY hope they change things around a little bit, since I can tell they genuinely care about the place.