On a Sunday I had off, we decided to go downtown to the city’s Christkindlmarkt for some holiday decoration shopping. I decided to try out a new spot neither of us had been to before, Il Pizzaiolo. Located right in Market Square (the same location as the holiday market), its feature mark is its 1000-degree wood-fired oven where it makes Neapolitan-style pizza along with other authentic Italian favorites (i.e. not Italian-American).
Our lunch at Il Pizzaiolo can best be translated to an experience where I wanted to try a little of everything. Although typically I will order one appetizer (or sometimes D and I will each get our own soups), that day we got two. Why? Well, for starters they had arancini on the menu! If you remember, I made these Sicilian rice balls back in the fall and just loved them so when I saw them on the menu here, I just had to order them as I don’t think I’ve ever seen them on the menus at other Italian places here in Pittsburgh. The arancini ($10) actually were filled with cheese and came with a dipping sauce. Savory delicious doesn’t even begin to describe how good they were.
As I wanted to slightly offset my glutinous eating of fried rice balls filled with oozing cheese, we also ordered the Antipasto Napoli ($16). This consisted of assorted Neapolitan vegetables and I felt slightly redeemed eating cold vegetables devoid of any oil, frying, or fat ridden topping. It’s a bit pricey for an appetizer but it is a large portion and we had a bit to take home with us.
Since we were at a pizza place with a gorgeous wood-fired oven (we were seated near to it), we both naturally went the pizza route. I decided to go with a tried and true favorite, one perhaps on the very simple side, but amazing all the same, the Margherita DOC Pizza ($18). This basically was San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, olive oil, and tomatoes. While I’m hardly a pizza enthusiast (I can’t eat the average pizzeria pizza all the time, just tastes the same to me), wood-fired pizza makes all the difference.
D went the more colorful route as he selected the Diavola ($18) pizza. This was topped with San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, chili pepper, pecorino, basil, and olive oil. He also really enjoyed his and sung the pizza’s praises.
Between the fact that we had ordered two appetizers and could have easily split one of the pizzas, dessert was not even a remote possibility. But what was listed on the menu sounded decadent (true Italian offerings), so I look forward to returning sometime soon, if only for dessert and nothing else.
8 Market Square | Pittsburgh, PA | 15222