We Tried the Alfa Nano Pizza Oven and It Seriously Upgraded Our Outdoor Kitchen
We tested the Nano portable pizza oven from Alfa. Stylish and sturdy, it bridges the gap between portable and built-in.
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I’ve lived in Italy for 13 years, and in that time I’ve become something of an expert on pizza — at least on pizza eating!
My Italian husband and mother-in-law are the pizza-making experts. She used to own a pizzeria, and he worked there as a young man. He’s a stonemason and built custom-made pizza ovens for several clients. So between the three of us, we know a thing or two about pizza and pizza ovens.
I was offered a chance to try the Nano pizza oven from Alfa, an Italian manufacturer of professional and home pizza ovens. The Nano is the company’s entry-level oven, available in Europe and North America.
What Is the Alfa Nano Pizza Oven?
The Nano (which means dwarf in Italian) is a small pizza oven that’s marketed as portable. We tried the gas version of the Alfa Nano, which connects to a propane tank (purchased separately). It can also be connected to a natural gas line.
Our model was shipped with a separate wheeled cart that holds the propane tank. The Nano also is available as a wood-burning oven, in which case the cart serves as a place to store firewood. Both models can function without the cart, although they do need a sturdy flat surface to rest on.
According to the manufacturer, the Nano is capable of quickly reaching high temperatures and turning out real Italian-style pizza, as well as bread, roasted meats and vegetables.
Our first impressions of the Nano as we unboxed and assembled it:
- It’s a solidly built oven: “Wow, this is a serious pizza oven,” my husband said when he saw the shipping pallet on our front patio. The oven is weighty (more on that below) and shows details of good craftsmanship, with smoothly welded joints and seams and quality parts.
- It’s easy to assemble: Assembly was as simple as unwrapping it and sliding the chimney into place. The cart was also easy to assemble, with simple-to-follow instructions. The hardware for attaching the propane tank was included.
- It’s attractive: The bronze-effect coating and streamlined design of the Nano make it an attractive addition to a patio or backyard.
- The cart makes it portable: At 110 pounds, the Nano on its own stretches the limits of portability. It took two of us to lift it out of the box and set it on the cart, which has heavy-duty casters. Without the cart, moving the oven from place to place would be a chore, and always a two-person job.
How We Tested It
Elizabeth Heath for Family Handyman
On our first test run, we fired up the Nano, closed the oven door, and watched its thermometer climb to around 400 C (about 750 F) in roughly 15 minutes. And I’ll confess: The first thing we cooked in the Nano wasn’t a pizza, but a whole chicken with potatoes in a baking pan. It cooked up nice and crisp in about 45 minutes.
On the second try, we made pizza. The manufacturer’s instructions say to let the oven heat up for 45 minutes with the door closed. This allows the firebrick cooking surface to heat thoroughly and retain heat as the door is opened and closed to insert and remove pizzas, which cook one at a time.
Another confession: The first time we made pizza in the Nano, we only gave it 20 minutes to heat up. As a result, our pizzas were cooked more on top than the bottom. Moral of the story? Pay attention to the instructions!
Our next attempt at pizza was much more successful because we gave it the full 45 minutes to heat. Just as we’d done the first time, we rolled out thin-crust pizza dough, added the toppings and slid each one into the oven on the pizza peel Alfa provided. With the oven properly heated, the pizzas cooked more consistently, leaving us with crispy-crust pizza fully cooked through.
Because of its high temperatures, the Nano is self-cleaning. Any drippings left on the brick surface burn off the next time you fire up the oven.
With a suggested retail price of $2,399, plus an additional $679 for the base, this pizza oven is an investment. If you’re just dipping your toes into the idea of a home pizza oven, you might want to start with a less costly model.
But, as my husband observed, the Nano is a serious pizza oven — hefty and high quality, delivering an uncompromising pizza-making and baking experience. On its wheeled cart or as a fixed addition to a backyard or patio, it’s a feature and focal point, as much as any built-in grill or outdoor kitchen.
I would recommend it to anyone who’s ready to invest in a real outdoor pizza oven, yet wants portability and a smaller footprint.
Where To Buy the Alfa Nano Pizza Oven
Alfa Nano and other Alfa products are sold through authorized dealers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including many Ace Hardware locations.
There are several online retailers that sell Alfa products, including BBQ Guys. Be aware the Nano is a new model and may not show up on some dealer web sites, so be sure to ask about it.