Amherst: Ciao’s Pizza & Subs

The skinny: When we stopped in to Ciao’s, we were certain we had been here before. Turns out we had been to that location for pizza, but we had eaten there when its predecessor Amato’s was in business, and we had stopped in for some slices.

Ciaos Pizza and Subs Amherst meatballCiao’s was recommended to us through our good friend and Twitter fan @NHWordMan. We were glad to head out toward the Souhegan Valley and finally check out some of the pizza offerings to review.

Ciao’s pizzas come in small and large, and plain cheese pies start at $7 and $10.99, respectively. Toppings here are pretty standard, aside from getting a gyro pizza. (Have you guessed it’s Greek now?) You can also opt for a calzone; these start at $7.50.

There are more than a dozen specialty pizzas here, too. The Ciao’s Special ($10/$16.99) is covered in pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper, onion, hamburger, sausage and bacon. If you want to give a plain pie a little edge, go for the Five Cheese ($8.50/$13.99), which gets topped with mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, Romano and ricotta. And then toward the bottom of the list is the diet pizza ($7 for a small only): green pepper, onion, olives, mushrooms and cheese, all on Syrian bread.

Ciao’s is the second location for the owners — the first one is just down Route 101A over the border in Nashua. We’re glad to see the local guys doing well.

A few other cool things to note. A quick look at their website, and you’ll find some coupons, as well as a “beat the clock” deal on Mondays and Tuesdays: From 5-8 p.m., the time you call is the price you pay for a large cheese pizza. And if those deals aren’t enough for you, Ciao’s is in on the mobile trend of texting deals: Text ACP to 85700 — we did while we were there, and we got a free soda!

Review: At Ciao’s, we opted for a large meatball pizza ($11.99).

We both thought the crust was light and airy, with just the right amount of crispiness. It was also pretty thin, which we enjoyed.

The pie was very heavy on the cheese. Everyone has their preferences with cheese and how much is good, but the amount that was on our pizza did weigh it down a bit. We’re not sure if maybe we got a little more than what’s usually served, but next time we’re here, we might just ask for a little less.

And we’ve found that when there’s a lot of cheese on pizza, for some reason it means less sauce. We had a hard time tasting the sauce on its own because the cheese masked it. What we did taste wasn’t a sweet sauce — which we think would have been a bad choice with all that cheese — but we really just couldn’t get beyond that. Hey, it wasn’t bad — we just prefer a more equal proportion!

The amount of the meatball topping was spot on. It was almost like we got a taste of the meat with every other bite. These were big, visible chunks that didn’t mess with being sweet or spicy — it’s like the meatballs knew that there were plenty of aspects of the pizza we wanted to concentrate on.

The pizza was just fine cold, too, Andrew thought. The crust was still light and tasty. All of the cheese and meatball obscured the sauce, but Andrew wasn’t left wanting for flavor. He savored every last bite of meatball.

We normally haven’t mentioned service at restaurants, but the man who made our pizza, Naji, was so chatty and friendly. He made sure we left with a takeout menu, wrote his name on it so we knew who he was, and told us he was looking forward to seeing us again. We think someone like Naji, who really takes pride in his business, should be behind the counter of every pizza place.

Rating: Deidre: 3.5 / Andrew: 4 = 7.5/10 slices

Ciao’s Pizza & Subs
109 Route 101A, Amherst
886-5543, www.ciaospizza.com

Comments

  1. Just left a review on Yelp and wanted to see what Andrew and Deidre thought about Amherst Ciao’s. Pretty much what I thought, although I gave it only a 2, based entirely on the pizza. Nice place, owner was polite and friendly. May consider trying again but for the sandwiches, NOT the pizza. 🙂

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