El Paso, TX
Update May 28, 2018: Casa Pizza on N. Mesa has now closed. A sign on the door says they are moving to a new location at 1200 Chelsea St. They will be closed for about a month while they remodel the new building.
The following review was written when Casa Pizza was at its old location on Magruder St. (before it moved to Mesa):
Casa Pizza seems to be so well hidden in a small strip shopping center behind Casa Ford that I may not have known about it except for an inquisitive nature that has led me to many of El Paso’s backroads and side streets. Casa Pizza is across the street from Carlos and Mickey’s, one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in the city, but the restaurant is tucked away in the back of the shopping center so that it may not be noticeable to the majority of people who pass by it.
Open since 1987, Casa Pizza is not lacking customers, many of which seem to be “regulars.” I have heard that Casa Pizza began when the original owners of House of Pizza on Piedras split up, and that the owner of Casa Pizza is the one who developed the recipes at House of Pizza. Many people say House of Pizza has some of the best pizza in the city, and although I have not been there recently, I can confirm that it had excellent pizza when I used to go before 1987. Fortunately, though, the same pizzas are available at Casa Pizza.
Pizza is the most popular item at Casa Pizza, and the owners say everything is made with “all natural ingredients.” Pizza is one of the foods with the highest potential to cause me stomach problems, so the fact that the ones here “sit well” with me is probably due to the natural ingredients.
Even though the flavor of a pizza is less important to me than how well my body can tolerate it, the pizzas here have the flavor and quality that have earned them such a loyal following. The crust, sauce, and cheese are all top notch. Outside of the pizzas that are wood fired (at Cafe Italia) and New York style (at Hello Pizza), the ones here are probably the best in town. At least that has been my opinion since I first tried Casa Pizza, and House of Pizza before that.
The toppings, though, do make a difference. In the pizza pictured above, I thought the half with pepperoni and sausage was outstanding, with excellent flavor and good quality meat. I have gone through long periods of staying away from pork products, and have tried various vegetarian toppings and other types of meat. If your objective is to get the best pizza at Casa Pizza, though, I would say to order the sausage and pepperoni. I generally do not like pepperoni, but the one here was fresh and moist (in some restaurants it is dried up almost like a chip). The sausage also had a good flavor, and was not overly spicy.
The olive and mushroom pizza, on the other hand, was a letdown in terms of the flavor. I think the problem here is that you cannot order a “vegetarian” pizza, instead patrons can only choose individual toppings to add. With green olives, black olives, and mushrooms being about the only choices, I think any of these would leave the pizza with the flavor of the chosen vegetable, and not much else. I did not think the olives or the mushrooms were particularly flavorful. In the case of vegetarian pizzas I would probably point to Ardovino’s as serving the ones with the best toppings.
Even though Casa Pizza is justifiably famous for its pizza, I think its best feature is the Greek food. I first tried Musaka (others spell it “moussaka”) in a Greek restaurant on the Houston Ship Channel, and found a very good version in a Greek restaurant in downtown El Paso when I first came to the city. Since that time, though, I think Casa Pizza has come the closest to capturing the essence of musaka as I originally experienced it. The eggplant was cooked so that it was neither too hard nor too soft, the spices were right, and the crust tasted perfect to me. The dish came with ground beef that was not terribly appealing to me, but I know this is the way musaka is supposed to be made, and I was happy because of the fact that the meat was cooked properly. Overall I thought this was an excellent dish.
Casa Pizza has a rather limited Greek menu, and gyros is the other Greek entrée available, but I do not remember having tried it. If I do, I will use Mediterranean Cuisine as a guide, since I think the gyros are very good there.
House Salad came with some of the dinners when I tried it in 2008, and was one of the best I had eaten in El Paso. The salad was made with fresh greens, feta cheese, and a delicious dressing.
With the pizza, though, salads cost extra (but several types are available). The Greek Salad had all the same ingredients I remembered from the house salad, but I did not think it was nearly as good. The tomatoes were not ripe and the lettuce was not very green. The salad came in a large bowl and was over five dollars. I probably ate a little over half of it, both because of it being so large and because of the lettuce not being very green. The dressing and feta cheese, though, were very good.
Summing It Up
All of the pizzas here are reasonably priced, but the large ones seem to be particularly good deals for families who are on a budget. For me, though, I really enjoy the fact that Casa Pizza serves very good Greek food. It doesn’t hurt, though, that I enjoy the pizza too.
Cuisine: Pizza, Greek & Italian
Hours: Closed Sun.
Smoking: No smoking
Special Features: Catering service
Most Recent Visit: Jan. 29, 2010
Number of Visits: 7
Best Items: Musaka, Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza