The Best Pizza in León
There are not too many things that really I miss from back home, not yet at least. At first everything is new. I quickly got used to eating rice and beans and plantains and yucca almost daily.
What I have come to miss is good Bourbon (Maker’s Mark), my favorite deodorant (Jãson), tempeh, and a damn good pizza. Every few weeks I get a craving for pizza, but ultimately find myself disappointed. I have tried pizza in several places in Nicaragua. You know what they love on their pizza in Nicaragua? Ketchup!!! When the guy at the León baseball stadium ask if I wanted salsa, I assumed he meant hot sauce. I hate ketchup.
The issues with pizzas that I have tried here were enough to get me stop ordering them. The crusts are often soggy, bordering on being raw in the middle while being overcooked underneath. Some of the crusts reminded more of sweet and crumbly Christmas cookies than bread. Nicaraguans love their sugar and salt, and it often shows in the sauce, as well.
As time passed, I had that craving for pizza again. I decided to try Antonino’s Pizzeria in León. I was pleasantly stunned by how good it was. I’ve been told that Antonino’s used to be the second best pizza place in town, the best pie could have been found at Bella Ciao, until it closed earlier this year.
Antonino’s has captured that pizzeria vibe. Simple decor, peopled running in and out to pick carry out orders, and delivery guys walking around with their insulated boxes tucked under their arms.
The pizzas come in two sizes, mediana and gigante. They offer a good selection of house-created pies or you can build your own. If you don’t go crazy with the toppings, most run between about US$7 and US$9.
I ordered mushrooms, fresh jalapeños, and tomatoes. The pizza came out piping hot with what felt like “extra cheese” as I tried not to choke on it. The crust was thinner than others I’ve tried and crisp all the way through. The sauce was garlicky and well spiced without being sweet. My only complaint is that they use canned mushrooms, that is common here. I have yet to find any meal I’ve ordered with fresh mushrooms.
With no Bourbon to found in Nicaragua, four different kinds of Mennen’s deodorant to choose at most stores, forget about hunting down any tempeh, I am just glad to have found a place to satisfy my pizza cravings.
What are the products that you miss the most from home?
Viva León, Jodido!