by Beth Keating
July 1, 2021
A recent afternoon found us at Disney Springs when a sudden Florida thunderstorm cropped up. Crazy, right? We didn’t have lunch reservations anywhere, and having just parked in the Orange garage, we were on our way across the bridge when the skies threatened to open up. We made a last minute decision to scoot into Pizza Ponte, and we were glad we did.
Pizza Ponte is the quick-serve restaurant under the Maria & Enzo’s sign in The Landing section of Disney Springs, and is part of the Patina Restaurant Group that also brings you Via Napoli in EPCOT, and Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway, and The Edison in Disney Springs. The unassuming counter service room has a few indoor seats, but as those were already full, we opted for an umbrella-topped table outside. Between being tucked next to the side of the building, and the oversized umbrella, we were easily protected from the rain.
I’ll put it out there, right up front. We are New Yorkers by birth, which means we are, for all intents and purposes, pizza snobs. Our recent arrival in Central Florida has meant that we haven’t yet found a pizza place that rivals our much loved New York-style pizzas. And while we initially went into Pizza Ponte with skepticism – Disney rarely gets rave reviews for pizza – we left pleasantly surprised.
We ordered a slice of the four cheese pizza ($7.95), an oversized square white slice that rocked. A thick, soft crust was abundantly topped with a mix of mozzarella, provolone, fontina, and parmesan cheese, as well as a drizzle of olive oil. It was closer to a Sicilian or pan slice, and perfectly baked, with its edges nice and crisp without being burned. We also opted for a rather large slice of the pepperoni pizza ($7.25) with lovely little “pepperoni cups” on top. (If you are from the northeast, you know what I’m talking about. It’s those little pepperoni slices that curl and crisp around the edges when cooked, curving upwards into a “cup” shape with all the delicious oils pooling in the middle of the cup. Stop going “ewww.” It’s a pizza thing.)
Both the slices were delicious, and we have plans to order them again. For those of you who would like your pizza a little more Neapolitan-style and traditional, “The Big Roman”($6.95) is a plain, yet gigantic, slice of regular, triangle-shaped, red-sauced pizza.
Also on our dining menu that day were two of Pizza Ponte’s handmade sandwiches. The sandwiches weren’t pre-packaged, and we watched the cast member assembling the sandwiches and popping them into the pizza oven to bake, so it took a few minutes to gather our lunch. That was okay by us, as it meant the sandwiches were hot and fresh.
The chicken parmigiana sandwich ($9.95) was somewhat forgettable, however, and while it was okay by quick-serve standards, we wouldn’t go out of our way to try it again. The chicken was a tad on the dry side, with a light amount of sauce on a short “hero” roll. (That’s another northeast term – for those of you elsewhere in the country, substitute the word “sub” or “hoagie” roll.) In its favor was the fact that the sauce tasted “real,” and not like a canned sauce.
On the other hand, the prosciutto sandwich ($9.75) was a flavorful, oblong sandwich, which would make a nice light lunch or dinner if you were looking for something not quite as overwhelming in the Florida heat, or after a day spent stuffing yourself in the theme parks. The bread itself was toasted, with a slight char, and the heat from the sandwich had melted the fontina cheese just a little. Each bite was a touch sweet, and just the tiniest bit salty, with a hint of bitterness from the arugula to balance it out. The cheese was strong, but in a good way. The sandwich passed the “I’d get this again” test. For those of you from the northeast, though, this is a smaller-sized sandwich. Don’t expect the foot-long hero rolls you’d get in a sandwich shop in Jersey.
While waiting out the rain, we decided we’d throw caution to the wind and test out the desserts while we were there. We tried the tiramisù cup and the cannoli (each $8.00). There were also cheesecake, chocolate cake, and chocolate chip cookie selections available.
The tiramisù cup was an unexpectedly light dessert with a soft cake base and a dusting of cocoa that was obvious in the taste blend. Coffee was the dominant flavor without being overwhelming. It was a nice afternoon boost, and we’d be tempted to grab one of those little bowls on our way back to the garage on future trips.
The cannoli was a bit heavier in the dessert category, but yummy, nonetheless. The shell remained crisp, and the inside filling was a softer texture than we were anticipating, and not as firm as the more frosting-like consistency you sometimes find in cannoli cream. It was, however, a welcome treat as we waited out the storm.
If you are looking to “grab a slice” while you are at Disney, let the name “Pizza Ponte” catch your attention. It was worth our stop.
Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.
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