There’s a lot to like about Pizzazo, a cute neighborhood Italian restaurant and pizzeria. For starters, it’s a rare house and garden formula that doesn’t make us roll our eyes. Here it’s done very well: uncluttered, cozy and avoiding the retro trend. There’s even an impressive pizza-making station on your way in, where you can see a team of robust guys at work. They have a small but broad and affordable wine list, covering both New and Old World stuff. Prices range from B860-2,500 per bottle, and they do four wines by the glass (B190-280) as well as classic Italian digestifs like Averna Limon di Sicilia (B160) and Nonino Grappa Friulano (B160). Finally, we genuinely admire Pizzazo for not serving any Thai-inspired dishes. The menu here is resolutely Italian (with an occasional touch of French), with lots of favorites and a few unusual items like the crunchy risotto balls (B160). In a nutshell, the ingredients are fresh and probably worth the slightly above average prices, but the execution occasionally undermines all the goodness. The fresh goat cheese pistou with grilled eggplants and tomato confit (B270) is delightful: a generous puck of fresh, pesto-flavored goat cheese and tart tomatoes. But the accompanying toast can be dry and overall the dish is a few degrees too cold. The rocket salad with red onion, Parmesan, cherry tomatoes and garlic chips (B260) is packed with deliciously fresh rocket leaves and cherry tomatoes that pop in your mouth, which is worth the money alone. Yet it’s ever so slightly overdressed and the garlic chips are under seasoned. Unfortunately it’s not always just the little things. The wonderful spicy salami, mushrooms and gorgonzola in the barese calzone come wrapped in a soggy and enormous crust. The same goes for the grouper with dill, black olives and grilled onions (B490): a beautiful piece of fish cooked just right and then set atop a too-soft, under-seasoned bed of broad beans. Still, despite these missteps there’s plenty to love and we would come back. It’s a solid little neighborhood restaurant, once you’ve learned what to avoid.
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