A true Italian pizzeria is pretty much all about pizzas. Standards and specialty pizzas. And, of course, pizzas made to order.
Purple Garlic Pizza Brothers in Ajijic has recently answered the call for a non-chain genuine pizzeria. And they’re asking the question, “How much do you love garlic?”
If you get high and giddy on garlic, this new venue is Fantasyland. The garlic is served up in several permutations, especially in the starters. And yes, purple garlic is an actual type of hard-head garlic like your regular garlic bulb. All the cloves are about the same size and tang. But many garlic aficionados claim the purple cousin to be richer and juicier in flavor.
Purple Garlic Pizza Brothers has set up a unique place whose specialty is Pizza Italiano. All their major ingredients are imported from Italy. And you can watch them hand toss the pizzas.
The menu features pizzas of very distinct toppings and creativity, and a few have a serious garlic base. There are the standards but, in addition, you get to try one with chorizo, pineapple and serrano peppers (yet another version is the Hawaiian); a vegetarian pie that is truly vegetarian, with spinach, mushrooms and other tender pre-cooked veggies, and just a sprinkle of mozzarella. There are some more whimsical renderings as well: One called Meathead, which isn’t at all misnamed, with its bounty of pepperoni, ham, bacon and sausage. (Only thing missing is chopped steak.) Another is called Okie Dokie Artichokie, which I think speaks for itself. Another is a balsamic chicken and blue cheese variation with plenty of garlic. There’s even a delicate pesto pizza with sauteed garlic shrimp. Few popular flavor variations are missing from the menu.
Another thing you’d only find in a genuine pizzeria are selections of pizza sizes (or more accurately pizza diameters): from ten inches to 16 inches, the crusts of which seem to have come right off the famous European peninsula itself.
If you happen to need an appetizer during pre-pizza drinks, there is a whole column of salads and starters. Starters are interesting: lots of choices featuring garlic such as Garlic Knots, which are garlic pods topped with garlic and melted butter and served with a marinara sauce. Or just have a walloping roasted purple garlic bulb to start. The Spanish roasted peppers my guest and I had for starters, while nicely prepared, wasn’t enough, even for a starter. But I suppose starters to a pizza entree need to be modest.
The menu offers no pastas. Peculiar? Not really. This is a pizzeria. A pizza parlor.
The menu does offer a couple of submarine options. The meatball sub is an overload of homemade meatballs (made Italian-style with beef and pork and more garlic) topped with onions, peppers, mushrooms and provolone. A historical sandwich invented for a strapping journeyman’s feast.
Beverage selections teem with fine wines and micro-brewed beers. This is one of the few places in town with the cocktail known as Mules, the classic Moscow Mule with vodka, a London Mule with lime juice (cute) and gin, and Mexican, Kentucky and other variations as well.
All in all, if you are a pizza lover, looking for the real thing and then some, this is a must stop. The service is impressively vigilant and friendly. The venue is on the Carretera, mid-village on the mountain side. With a long purple (what else) front a block east of Colon.