LISBON — On a lonely stretch of Route 196 just beyond the Lewiston line is an oasis of pizza and pasta. There, across from the mysterious Riverside Flea Market (to men, all flea markets are mysterious, but especially the outdoor ones) is a place called Angelo's Pizzeria.
It is miles past the stretch of fast-food joints of Lewiston, but still a distance from the bigger restaurants in downtown Lisbon - the perfect solution if you've just set out for Popham Beach and discovered that you are hungry. You can eat at Angelo's without a big commitment of either time or money, but you won't sacrifice quality or the number of choices to be had.
In that matter of full-disclosure, I should point out that I could eat at Angelo's twice a week for the rest of my life and never order anything but pizza. I first tasted their pie a year ago when a friend, too decrepit to cook for his own party, bought a half-dozen of Angelo's pies for his guests.
They make the kind of pizza that will cause grown men and women to tear into the slices knowing full well that they will burn the skin of their upper palates. They will then fan their mouths for relief and groan, in tones of great ecstasy blurred by their maimed mouths: "Thith may be the besth pittha I've ever had."
Angelo's pizza is superb. But on my most recent visit, I was forced to look away from that portion of the menu in order to sample something else. It broke my heart a little. But if there is something to be said about Angelo's menu, it's that there are almost too many choices there. You could go for something Greek like moussaka (my wife tells me it's like shepherd's pie with a college education,) stick to traditional spaghetti and meatballs, try a chicken finger basket or build your own calzone.
It's the kind of place where two people can eat for under $20, but later be all snooty about it by claiming they went out for Greek and Eye-Talian.
Me, I went for the chicken alfredo, hold the broccoli.
I dig alfredo because I have heard it called "heart attack on a plate" and that's just intriguing. And contrary to my typical Ramen noodles mentality, I'm rather demanding in whether I find a particular plate of alfredo exceptional or mediocre.
To me, it's all about the chicken. If the chicken is not cooked right or there is not enough, I will frown at my plate and then grouse about the quality of it for the remainder of the day.
No frowning or grousing at Angelo's. The alfredo was - and I don't say such things lightly - the best I ever had. The chicken was cooked and seasoned superbly and there was so much of it, I didn't have to ration it the way I do at other places. Misery comes, you know, when the quantity of meat does not keep up with the quantity of noodles.
For $6.99, I got the alfredo with two honking pieces of garlic bread. For the price of a McDonald's Big Mac meal, the entree at Angelo's constituted two meals because chicken alfredo reheats very nicely. After finishing a third of it in the spacious sit-down section at Angelo's, I was spent.
"Best alfredo I've ever had," I declared and the syllables were just fine. Because with alfredo, no matter how good, you almost never do damage to the roof of your mouth.
Seating at Angelo's is in booths at a section off the ordering area. In a third room, is a large arcade with video games, pool tables and air hockey. For kid parties, I suppose, or super clean bachelor parties.
Amazing food, amazing choices, prices that can't be beat. If you need me, I'll be across the street at the giant flea market, looking for some Tums.
What: Angelo's Pizzeria: pizzas, subs, sandwiches, Greek and Italian
Where: Route 196, Lisbon, just beyond the Riverside Flea Market on the opposite side
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week
Prices: Cheap to moderate. Two people can bust their belts for under $20.
Examples: Spaghetti with 5 meatballs $5.99; 10-inch all meat pizza $8.75; chicken alfredo (with garlic bread) $6.99; make your own cheese calzone, any pizza toppings $5.
What else: Arcade, pool tables, air hockey all tucked conveniently in a back room so you won't be disturbed by the ruckus.
More info: 375-7500 or angelospizzalisbon.com