Restaurant Review: Pizza La Stella (Raleigh)

On Monday, August 19, we were invited out to Pizza La Stella in downtown Raleigh, to sample some of its new menu items. The Italian-style restaurant that bakes its pizza and pasta inside wood-burning ovens, has been around for close to three years. Remarkably, I’ve never been before, while Jen has been a couple times.

After we were seated, we were promptly greeted by La Stella owner Rudy Theale, who told us about the menu, and what we would be sampling that evening. After ordering up a few Moscow Mules – I thought back to the last time I was in this location – and that was when The Mint first took over the old bank location.

It was time for the first of our food to arrive. Theale brought out La Stella Stuffed Mushrooms and the Bocconcini. We first dug into the Bocconcini. This reminded me of the incredible pepperoni rolls that Jen makes. A pizza roll stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and salami. Then we tried the mushrooms, which were stuffed with Italian sausage, onions, ricotta and roasted red peppers. If this was a small taste of what was to come, then we are in for a great treat.

And that we were!

Next on the agenda were three Neapolitan-style pizzas: Gettin’ Figgy With It, Buffalo Soldier and the Angry Tomato. Each of the pizza’s had a completely different flavor profile. From the stark contrast of figs, gorgonzola and balsamic on the Gettin’ Figgy With It – to the oven-roasted chicken, buffalo sauce and blue cheese in the Buffalo Soldier – each pizza satisfied our tastebuds.

But our favorite of the three ended up being the Angry Tomato with its spicy salami, ricotta, red pepper, mozzarella and a honey habanero drizzle. For this – we were craving more!

Woodfired wings were next to land on our table. And if you know me … you know I love my wings! Theale brought out a total of 4 different style wings for us to sample. When eating sample items, I usually like to save the best for last, but looking at these wings, they all looked like they would be the last ones eaten.

I first took a bite into the Bacon and Bleu wing, that had a bacon marmalade and melted gorgonzola cheese on top of the wings. This is how all wings should be done if you want them with blue cheese. Each and every bite I took had delicious melted gorgonzola! Next was the traditional buffalo wing with house-made buffalo sauce. This one amazed me. Typically I steer clear of the plain wings like this, but this sauce had a nice kick.

Rounding up the wings we sampled the honey habanero, with scratch-made honey habanero sauce and the garlic Sriracha. The wings alone will make me head downtown for lunch in the months to come!

Another part of La Stella is their pasta skillets, which come to your table with the melted cheese still bubbling. We were interested in the Sweet Cheesus Mac, and that’s exactly what was brought out next to our table. A creamy blend of mozzarella, cheddar, swiss, provolone and parmesan – this is where cheese lovers would be quoted saying, “This is to die for.”

And be sure to save room for dessert. Pizza La Stella has some traditional desserts on its menu, such as créme brulée, cannoli and tiramisu – but if you want a fun dish to share, try the S’mores pizza. This is a dessert pizza made with Nutella, marshmallows, almonds and powdered sugar! Not to be missed.

Pizza La Stella is creating great menu items with only the freshest local and sourced ingredients. And if you can’t make it to downtown Raleigh, there is a Cary location as well.