Visiting the Cali-transplanted side of the family for Thanksgiving, we took a drive north from the Bay Area to the city of Napa. The Pizza Snob’s first and perhaps only-ever visit to the wine country would of course have to include pizza. Fortunately, this turned out to be an easy outing to convince the group on since my target of Azzurro Pizzeria e Enoteca looked to be a top-notch restaurant. Their website designer also deserves a compliment for creating one of the most enticing pizza photos I have ever seen. The picture made my mouth water and my senses feel the crispness of the crust.
Azzurro is on a street corner in downtown Napa just a few blocks from the center of town. We made our way inside reservation-less on the late side of lunch on Black Friday and were seated at a round wooden table near the front window. Inside the large modernly-designed room, we were in full view of the kitchen works which were highlighted by a name-emblazoned wood-burning brick oven.
Looking over the menus, it struck me how never before had I had a pizza at a place where I could chase it down with a $100 bottle of wine. (I would later learn that the “e Enoteca” tagged on at the end of their name was Italian for “and wine shop.”) Passing on the vino, we each ordered some kind of fancy salad, but our dining would of course commence with the sharing of a pizza of the cheese-only kind.
At a place like this, there was neither surprise nor disappointment that the pizza would be a Margherita from the Neapolitan family. It’s delivery to our table on a large white dish brought a delightful smile to my face. The brightness of the vodka-like sauce set against the whiteness of the mozzarella cheese blobs and end crust stimulated to my senses. Our pizza came up a little short in the basil leaf department with the scattered specimens looking more like an accident than an actual ingredient. Same for the black char on the end crust which just seemed to hit only one side of the pie.
It didn’t take me too many bites to learn that this was a truly tasty pizza. My kind family gave way to my desires with each having only a single slice leaving me to have half of the six small slices. Fresh and light were the words that kept coming to mind as I ate. Though the cheese and sauce were scant, each was a solid delightful part of this great pie. I soon took a strong liking to the delightfully-charred crust. It’s a nice treat when you get such a great crunch from a pizza with a killer crust like this one had. There was even a nice buttery taste to the crust.
All in all, this was a fine pizza from which to start a great meal at a very nice place at which to dine if you are ever in Napa. I suspect that the wine might be good as well, but that’s not my thing to judge.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****Near Perfection
Azzurro Pizzeria e Enoteca
1260 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559