Otto Pizza (Revisited) - Portland, ME

Yeah sure there are a lot of people who have been wrong ever.


In 1927 H.M. Warner — then the CEO of Warner Brothers Entertainment — said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” In 1943, Thomas Watson — then the chair of IBM — said, “I think there is a market for maybe five computers.” In 1962 Decca Recording said, “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” This was in reference to signing an unknown band called the Beatles.


So, yes people have been wrong. Resoundingly and boldly wrong. Consider me one of those people.


Upon access to new information, I have found that a view I once held was not completely formed. It was based upon a wealth of experience, gathered over an ample period of time. However, one single dinner has thrown my entire previous viewpoint into question.


The fact was that I didn’t particularly care for Otto pizza.


The fact is now that I both really enjoy Otto and am a certified dingleton.


My gripes were based upon my experience with Otto’s slices and takeout pizza: the crust was either damn chewy or just brittle and dry as all get-out, and in addition the overall amount of toppings going onto each slice seemed to be declining.


Harsh criticism? Certainly. But in trying to be objective VS all the other pizza I had ever eaten, this was the most honest information I had on hand.


Also, this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Otto. I actually frequented Otto fairly regularly for a slice, it being the most refined pizza Portland has to offer.


Then, just last week, I actually bought a full pizza to eat in at Otto. See, I had only had Otto by the slice — even when eating in — and also had only sampled takeout. These forays into the world of Otto pizza were satisfying but less than stellar.


However, with a ricotta, mushroom and sausage pizza steaming in front of me, I felt a sweat come on. It looked absolutely incredible. Cheese blanketed the pie. The sauce glistened. The mushrooms and sausage gave off heady waves of fresh aroma. It looked like it had been pulled from the brick ovens of some Italian deity: Zeuseppe, or perhaps Athenardo.


It was a work of art. 

And the taste? Melt-in-your-mouth ricotta. Savory mushrooms mingling with tart and sweet tomato sauce. A crust the likes of Mario Batali would applaud: browned, crisp exterior with a pillowy soft interior. True and utter mastery.


And as I shoveled slice after slice down my fibbing gullet, I realized that I had to right the wrong I’d committed. Which is not to say that my previous beliefs were unfounded. But simply to say that my due diligence had been far from done.


So here is the rectification: the slices and the take out of Otto? My opinion still stands. Sitting in at Otto and getting a fresh, made-to-order pizza? Now you are in business my friend.


I was wrong Otto. I did you wrong. I apologize for my wrongness. In my error there was no truth and now that truth has been rectified.


Your pizza, Otto, is exceedingly good when fresh. When slightly less than fresh, I must again be honest, its caliber is reduced. Maybe this accusation can be leveled at  most pizza places, but never have I experienced a more apparent dip in overall deliciousness than at OTTO.


Wow, that made Otto sound bad again. But seriously. Otto is great on the reg. The brittleness of the crust is but a single part of their slices: their toppings still rock, the sausage and Vidalia onion will remain my go-to into infinity and they’re a great restaurant to drop in for a bite. The exception is that if you get a full pizza made to order and eat it as it has literally just come, steaming, from the oven, it is so much better than great. It is transcendent.


That’s my apology, full and all. Otto — and your proprietors and your employees — forgive me for my transgressions. I will be back for your pizza. And so, I hope, will many others.

(For those who like seeing people eat their words, click here to see the full previous review of Otto's Pizza.)




4.1 Stars

(Previously 3.7 Stars)

That’s right. I’m rounding Otto out to an uneven 4.1 out of 5 stars. Takeout and slices remain at their previous 3.4-ish, while eating in with a whole, fresh pie comes up to about a 4.5 (really it’s that tasty). Round ‘em out? Comes out to about a 4.1. What? You know basic math and you think that’s wrong. Yeah, come over here and prove it! Prove my gut wrong with your dirty numbers.



It’s not cheap, but if you’re coming in for the real thing, it’s even more worth it.


Comfortable Nook

I dined in the smaller bar section this time around. Simply a narrower version of Otto’s main room. Low light, dark wood and tile. Melike.


Mamma Mia

Again, top notch service. Doesn’t sound like much, but in Portland — as I’ve come to find — this is actually a fact of note.



Eat there. You can also get slices or takeaway, but if you want the true experience of why Otto exists in Portland, Maine, get that whole pizza fresh. So fresh.