2400 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 4pm thru 3am
Wednesday – 4pm thru 3am
Thursday – 4pm thru 3am
Friday – 4pm thru 3am
Saturday – 11am thru 3am
Sunday – 11am thru 3am
Our favorite pizza place in Nashville is MAFIAoZA’s in the 12South District. The atmosphere is great and the food is fantastic. We started going there a few years back with a group from church, and we’ve continued to go ever since. It’s our absolute favorite for gluten-free pizza, but more on that later.
MAFIAoZA’s caters to families, business professionals, celebrities, and large groups (this is how we discovered them). They’ve been voted #1 Pizza in Nashville by the readers of the The Tennessean and Nashville Lifestyles magazine. MAFIAoZA’s has also been featured in The New York Times, Frommer’s, and Chef Magazine.
MAFIAoZA’s has two locations, with the other location being in Birmingham, AL. The restaurant is family-owned and operated, and the atmosphere is that of a New York-style Italian restaurant. They have large, open seating in the main dining room, ample bar seating, and a huge, wrap-around patio for dining al fresco. If you’re into sports, you won’t be disappointed. From virtually every seat in the restaurant (and patio), you can see multiple TVs showing the sports du jour.
On our recent visit, we sat on the patio and had an excellent view of the Auburn football game, that is until some inconsiderate folks came in and asked to have the channel changed to the Alabama game…without bothering to ask if we were watching it. We’re certainly not Auburn fans, but we’re even less Alabama fans, and if we hadn’t been nearly finished with our meal, we would have said something.
We each started with an Italian side salad served with the house Italian dressing. The value is great on this salad; it’s more than just lettuce and tomato. You also get onions and cucumber. One tip: ask them to serve your salad on a large plate. Otherwise, it comes on a very small plate, and you end up dumping on the table a portion of your salad. I can’t prove this, but I also think you get a larger salad if you ask for the larger plate. See what you think and let us know.
For dinner, we ordered a gluten-free pizza and spaghetti with meatballs. MAFIAoZA’s recently changed their GF pizza crust, and I must say, the new crust is even better than the old one, and the old one was our favorite in Nashville. As an added bonus, the new crust is much larger than the old one, so you get more pizza! For those of you who regularly order GF pizzas, you know they are all about 10″ – 12″ in diameter. This is because most of them are purchased instead of made in-house. Until recently, this was the case at MAFIAoZA’s. We asked about this, and the waiter (and hostess) told us they had recently changed their GF crust, and it was now larger in size. I have no idea if they make it or buy it, but it’s good, and that’s all you need to know. In fact, it’s the most “normal” tasting GF pizza crust I’ve ever had.
Our pizza came with bacon, pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and banana peppers. Next time, I’ll leave off the sun-dried tomatoes, as they can often have a “chemical” taste. These sun-dried tomatoes fell into that category (Michelle disagrees on this point). It wasn’t bad, but I’ve certainly had better sun-dried tomatoes…here as well as other places. Other than that, however, I would characterize this pizza as one of the best GF pizzas I’ve ever had. And just in case you’re wondering, pretty much all the other “best” GF pizzas I’ve ever had also came from MAFIAoZA’s. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?
The spaghetti and meatballs was also excellent. The marinara sauce has a bit of a zing to it, but not so much that you need to keep a glass of water nearby. It’s just zesty enough to make it interesting. The meatballs are fine in texture and heavy on the meat. I don’t like meatballs with anise in them, and some places tend to get crazy with the spices. Not MAFIAoZA’s. Their meatballs taste like…well, meat. Isn’t that how it should be?
Our libation of choice for the evening was Apothic Red, which is one of our favorite red blend wines. It goes very well with Italian food, as it has a bold, almost spicy flavor. It’s other endearing quality is its price. In the wine store, Apothic Red will run you about $11/bottle. Obviously, it’s more expensive than that when ordered by-the-glass in a restaurant, but it’s still affordable.
With tax and tip, dinner was about $70. Yes, you can certainly get pizza (and a glass of wine) cheaper, but you won’t find better.