This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
12 San Diego Uptown News | Sept. 30–Oct.13, 2011


DINING FRANK SABATINI JR. / RESTAURANT REVIEW


Quality and variety come together on Calabria’s salumi board. (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


CALABRIA


3933 30th St., San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park) 619-291-1759


Dinner prices: Antipasti, $5 to $12; pizzas and calzones, $10 to $15; desserts, $5 to $12


ria.” Prominent signage above the front doors, however, designates the space simply as “Caffe Calabria,” which beckons to the past several years when the address operated primarily as a coffeehouse and roaster. It still does, but as of five months ago, the concept has expanded without the hype it deserves.


T


Now, the redolence of yeasty pizza dough wafting from a 1,000-degree wood-fired oven plays up to the invigorating


aromas of lattes and cappuccinos.


he subtitle for Calabria on its menu reads: “Barcaffe-Vineria-Pizze-


The essence is further enhanced by bright-red sauce hailing from fleshy San Marzano tomatoes, as well as other fine toppings that show us the meaning of true Neapolitan-style pizzas. After making dozens of trips


to Italy, owner Arnie Holt said the time was ripe for capturing the Italian café culture in its most complete form. Meaning that where there is coffee there is wine, and more often than not good food constructed with simple, wholesome ingredients. Holt’s pizzeria offshoot ar- rives 20 years after he introduced Calabria beans from coffee carts in local hospitals. Being from Seattle, he recalls that “nobody down here


HAPPY HOUR Name Your


40%OFF Beer & Wine


(All Day with purchase of meal) Valid Until: 09/30/11


IN SAN DIEGO FOR 2010 & 2011 2 2 Entrées


Spinach Entrée, Kafta Entrée, Chicken Shawarma, Gyro Entrée, Iskender Entrée, Falafel Entrée, Fish N’ Chip Entrée


$20 15% OFF


Organic Lunch Specials Starting at


$5.99


Mediterranean Gourmet Pizza Now Served!


ENTIRE CHECK


(EXCLUDING LUNCH SPECIALS & ANY DISCOUNTS) EXPIRES: 10/31/11


ORGANIC MENU GLUTEN FREE


NO PRESERVATIVES NO TRANS FATS


619.294.4444


3614 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92193 www.themediterraneancuisine.com


dessert . drink . dine


$4.99 LUNCH SPECIALS Live Music


Tuesday Nights


(619) 291-4090 • PaesanoOfNorthPark.com 3647 30th St., SD, CA 92104


HOURS: Mon–Fri: 11 am - 2 pm / 4:30 pm - 9 pm Sat: 4:30 pm - 9 pm • Sun: 5 pm - 9 pm


knew back then what a latte was.” Eventually, he purchased the North Park building with his sister and successfully established the café and adjoining roasting facility. For patrons accustomed to early-day caf- feine jolts at Calabria, they can duly return at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays, when the curvy, tiled pizza oven kicks into action. The café’s long, narrow space


resembles an alleyway off some main square in any Italian city, a fitting come-on to the salumi boards and calzones also annexed onto the evening menu. Most of the trappings are imported from the mother country, such as the entire wine and coffee bar, a weighty prosciutto slicer and copper olive oil dispensers placed on the tables. Most remarkable is the row of tall, leafy trees stretch- ing from end to end and kept alive through rotating visits to the front windows. I’m not sure how or when they’re moved, but the aesthetic payoff is rewarding. Visiting with a friend who was


as equally unsuspecting of the top-quality meal we’d experience, a caprese salad proved the first flavor rush with fat slices of col- ored heirloom tomatoes encircling a generous plop of ultra-creamy burrata cheese. Olive oil and fresh basil clenched the deal, putting all other caprese constructs to shame. Salumi misti came next, an expansive board loaded with eight little heaps of various dry-cured meats, including Parma prosiutto, halved figs, subtlety sharp Grana cheese and excellent green olives. The board currently sells for $12, but odds are high that it will climb a few bucks given its vast assortment. Pizza choices extend to about


14 different types; three of them “white pizzas” that include the must-try carbonara. Memories of my grandfather’s asparagus frittata came to mind as I chomped down on the vegetable along with pancetta, more Grana and a me- dium-cooked egg that you spread around the top before digging in. Our other pick was a pepperoni pie pockmarked with buffalo moz- zarella. This was no Plain Jane, thanks to spicy secretions of the meat oozing into the unadulterat- ed puree of canned tomatoes from San Marzano outside of Naples. The prized tomato sauce and


buffalo mozzarella are among the requirements for making authen- tic Neapolitan pizza. In addition, the dough must be hand-formed and constructed from finely


see Calabria, page 15


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28