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Italia Express

12203 Warwick Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 728-7744

Italia Express on NW 122 west of MacArthur

Italia Express was a favorite at Penn Square Mall before it opened a second location near N.W. 122nd and MacArthur in 2008. After that time a third location was open on May Avenue where the original Zorba's was located (and which became Sheesh Mahal in 2014). The owner of the former May Ave. location (and brother of Italia Express' proprietor) has since opened New York Pizza and Pasta in Edmond. Earlier the two brothers had a number of years' experience preparing pizza and other Italian food in the Dallas area, and they obviously have developed a winning formula for what they do.

Although I have enjoyed a number of items from the menu, I am ultimately settling on the pizza as the main reason to go to Italia Express. The pizza is fresh and delicious, and with the crust and the red sauce being particularly noteworthy.

The restaurant is casual with about a dozen tables, and orders are taken at the counter or at the table if you are dining in. Pizzas are prepared in full view of customers, and they only take a few minutes to cook. I have always observed more take out orders than ones for people dining in the restaurant. I do like dining in, though, because with pizza this good I want to eat it when it is fresh out of the oven.

Cheese bread in the counter
Cheese bread and garlic bread in the counter

There is an extensive menu besides the pizza, and these dinners come with free Cheese Bread or Garlic Bread (the bread is also available in to-go orders).

Garlic bread
Garlic bread served with meals

Garlic Bread is served free with meals, and I found it to be quite fresh with a good flavor. Like everything here, it seemed to be made in house.

Greek salad
Greek salad

I thought the Greek Salad had good greens and feta cheese, and I particularly liked the olives. The dressing was a little bland, though. The Antipasto Salad was equally good, and had a better dressing, but the large amount of ham made it pretty much of a meat dish.

The House Salad was smaller, and mainly relied on the cheese sprinkled over the top for flavor (but the vinaigrette dressing was pretty good).

None of the salads seemed like standouts to me, but except for the house salad, I thought they were better than at most competing restaurants.

Spinach pizza
Spinach pizza

A Spinach Pizza was a build-your-own ingredient pizza that I tried on my first visit, and it was enough to make me a huge fan of the food here. The crust was thin, crispy, and fresh. The sauce was excellent, and the tomatoes and spinach added on top were garden fresh. It was a pretty standard pizza done to near perfection. I don't know their secret, but whatever it is does not make this a more expesive pizza than is served other places, and in fact it is quite reasonably priced.

Margharita pizza
Margharita pizza

Margharita Pizza was not on the menu, but I found that when I requested it they were happy to prepare it. Like the spinach pizza, I found this to be and example of the true reason to come to Italia Express, and it was one of the best pizzas I have had in a long time. Just as the spinach was a notable feature of the first pizza I tried, the basil on this one was outstanding. It is more expensive than the pizzas ordered directly from the menu, though.

A large variety of pizzas are available, and I think one thing that makes them so popular is that you can get just about any toppings you want. One thing I have found, though, is that the quality of the basic ingredients (crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings) will always be good when you come here.

Calzone
Spinach and tomato calzone

I tried a Calzone to sample some of the other food available, but it was not only less satisfying than the pizza as a meal, I also did not think it matched it in flavor. The calzone can be heated in a short period of time, though, and is really ideal for a quick meal. Both a vegetarian and meat version (with pepperoni & sausage) are available. I have not yet tried the meat version, so my asessment of it may be different than the one I tried with spinach, tomato, and ricotta cheese.

Chicken fettuccini
Chicken fettuccini alfredo

Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo is one of the more substantial dinners available (or you can get it without chicken), and in fact is one of several typical Italian dishes served. I thought the dish was heavy on the sauce, and was not a very complex or well flavored meal. The individual ingredients were good quality, though.

Eggplant parmesan
Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan was one of the better dinners I have had, but I prefer the cooking style used at Papa Dio's and some other restaurants. For the money, though, the one at Italia Express is hard to beat, and it would have been very good if it had not tasted so much like eggplant (one of my least favorite vegetables).

Ziti basilic
Ziti basilic

Ziti Basilic was one of the "Light and Healthy" items from a special menu (ziti with marinara sauce is available on the regular menu). At first this was my favorite dinner item from the restaurant until later when I had an apparent MSG reaction, so this is no longer something that I order. It did have an excellent flavor, though, and reminded me of the pasta dishes I used to get at Souper Salad (which also gave me MSG reactions). So far the marinara sauce has not given me the same MSG reaction as the basilic sauce, and I have been safe in ordering pizza with red sauce.

Italia Express is not a fancy Italian restaurant, but mainly a pizza place (most people order take-out). If you can do without the ambiance of an upscale restaurant, though, the pizza here is quite good (and those to whom I have recommended the restaurant have agreed). One interesting note is that the owners told me pizza is the most popular item on weekends, while the other menu items sell better Monday through Thursday. This just shows that a number of menu items are popular here.

My Comments in a Nutshell
What I like most:
  • Good pizza at a better price than most restaurants.
Disappointments:
  • Some of the menu items give me a MSG reaction (but pizza has always been safe for me).
  • While most items give you a very good value, the salads seem overpriced in comparison.
Things to know:
  • Very casual, mostly has take-out orders. However, the dining room has adequate seating for dine-in orders.
  • Brother of the owner operates New York Pizza and Pasta in Edmond.
  • The sign has been removed from the handicapped parking space, so there is currently no designated handicapped spot.

RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 21

Cuisine: Pizza & Italian
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Additional Locations: 1169 E. 2nd St. (Edmond) New York Pizza & Pasta
Smoking: No Smoking

Most Recent Visit
Oct. 15, 2014

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Item
Pizza

Special Ratings
Margharita Pizza:
Spinach Pizza:
Calzone:
Eggplant Parmesan:
Chicken Fettuccini:
Ziti Basilic:
Greek Salad:
Antipasto Salad:
House Salad:

Restaurant Web Site
Italia Express



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