(EDITOR’S NOTE, OCT. 2, 2016: We decided to re-review Carmines Pie House, as we’ve gotten a chance to eat there a few more times since our first review.)
While Carmines Pie House has a name that implies a focus on pizza, make no mistake – Carmines is an expert in all things Italian.
Tucked away in an awkward corner of the Avondale area, Carmines offers an expansive menu of both pizzas and other Italian dishes. To supplement their cuisine, the restaurant also features a tap menu at their small bar with offerings from local breweries such as Bold City Brewery.
The restaurant’s menu is extensive and filled with typical Italian offerings. Some highlights include the garlic cheesy bread, which is exactly what it sounds like, and the fried cheesecake bites. The “Uncle Alfredo’s Alfredo” dish is another hidden treat. The menu lists several add-on options, but we recommend asking for bacon on top.
Another great thing about Carmines is how cheap it is. Unless you’re looking for craft offerings, having a beer or two with dinner won’t cost you a whole lot extra. Additionally, all of the entrees are reasonably priced, and the pizza is available by the slice.
Carmines places an emphasis on treating all people with respect. Several signs around the restaurant offer endorsements of LGBT rights. Equally emphasized is the focus on good service; signs at each table instruct patrons to let a manager know if service isn’t satisfactory, and to not tip unless it was earned.
The great service can be a big difference maker on busy nights, like trivia night on Mondays, when the kitchen often gets backed up.
Their location is well-sized, but a little awkwardly located. Avondale residents will be used to the weaving, narrow roads that lead to the area, but others will likely be thrown off. Parking can get chaotic on busy nights, but there are usually spaces available down the adjacent street.
Carmines is worth the visit for anyone in the Riverside area, offering arguably the best and most reasonably-priced Italian food on that side of town.