Pizzeria Bocce, our Saturday dinner ritual in Cottonwood

Saturday dinner at Pizzeria Bocce has become something of a ritual for Kathryn and me when we camp in Cottonwood. It started as an accident. On one camping trip, we mishandled some of the food we brought along and decided to toss it and go out to eat. We ended up at Pizzeria Bocce, and we’ve been going there ever since.

Dining at a slightly pretentious pizzeria with a wine bar may not seem much like camping, but we’ve had an enjoyable meal every time we’ve eaten here. Honestly, I’d consider making the ninety-minute drive here from our home in Phoenix just for this restaurant. It’s probably the second-best pizza I’ve had in Arizona, and frankly it’s a close game between it and Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.

Pizzeria Bocce doesn’t accept reservations, so dinner on a Saturday evening requires a bit of patience. If you’re in a rush, you can ask for first available seating, and they might put you at the bar or in outdoor seating. We once asked for seating at the kitchen counter, where you watch them make the pizzas while you eat; I recommend it. This time, though, we wanted a proper table in the dining room, which meant about an hour wait. We passed the time sipping beer near the outdoor gas fire pit.

Pizzeria Bocce, Cottonwood, Fire Pit
Happy patrons gathered around the gas fire pit at Pizzeria Bocce, Cottonwood.

After being seated, we started with a caprese salad, which they make with fresh mozzarella and fat slices of ripe, oversized tomatoes drizzled with a vinaigrette. The pizza arrived shortly after we finished the salad.

The pizzas at Pizzeria Bocce are not unlike some of the pizzas I’ve enjoyed in the south of France: they have a thin, slightly crispy crust and are baked in a wood-fired oven. Most times we’re here, I’m able to convince Kathryn to share the all-meat Cire’s pizza with me, but this time I let her have some say, and we had the delightful Americano with wide, thin slices of pepperoni. You can’t go wrong with either.

The only thing missing since our previous visits was the server. By chance we’d had the same server every time, but this time around he was nowhere to be seen.

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