***IN SAD NEWS, THIS PLACE HAS CLOSED. TOO BAD, SHE MADE REALLY GOOD FOOD IN A CASUAL ATMOSPHERE. SHE'LL BE MISSED***
What is it they say, "the best laid plans of mice and men...something..something...something." That's the way it was one Saturday night when the SO and I went to North Beach in search of pizza. Originally I had my eye on Tony's Neapolitan, but ugh, the hostess said the wait was 90 minutes! Are you kidding me! Just as well, the place was packed with tourists...and kids. We turned around in search of another place. About a block or so down, just across Columbus Avenue was a tiny narrow place called Cinecitta.
Walking in, it did kind of remind me of the neighborhood joints I dined at when in Italy. There was only one other couple there so we seated ourselves and were greeted by the lady who actually owned the place. She was very lovely and while chatting she said she still had family in Italy and they had a large farm and that is where she got all her flour and yeast from. She gets a shipment every month along with some olive oil. Hey, if you can, why not? Keeping that in mind we decided to go with the fresh oven baked stuff and ordered a calzone and a pizza.
The calzone was filled with ham, ricotta cheese and fresh tomato sauce. It was piping hot out of the oven and this is more Old World Italian traditional. The crust was thin and crispy with perfect little crinkles along the edges. It reminded me of the fried pies my grandmother used to make. We both really liked this. It was drizzled with olive oil and covered in freshly grated parmesan. It comes with a mixed greens and carrot salad that is lightly dressed with olive oil and salt. In essence a simple dish and in reality a very tasty one. The same can mostly be said for the pizza.
The pizza bella--pancetta, spinach, mascarpone cheese, goat cheese and mozzarella. Again with a nice thin crispy crust that reminds me of a saltine cracker, which is a good thing in my book. I liked the mix of cheeses on here, a nice blend of creamy and slightly aged. Two dings though, the spinach didn't taste exactly fresh and so we picked that off and the pizza finished cooking before the calzone but she didn't immediately bring it out, she waited till both were done. Because it sat for a bit, when you got toward the middle the crust wasn't crispy like the outside edge. Both minor things in my book since the overall taste and quality of the pizza were great. I'll even go so far as to say some of the best I've had in this city, North Beach included.
As with any city, there are always a number of restaurants that seem to get all the press and attract the big crowds which can irritate locals to no end. Then there are the small spots which don't seem to get all the hype but are totally worth making the trip to and this is one of those places. I almost wonder why more people aren't going here and why it wasn't packed on a Saturday night. Then again, as a local, I'm slightly happy about that because now it will be on my list of places to safely go without having to wait and I can take friends there when they come to visit. If you want some really good traditional Italian thin crust pizza made with flour and yeast directly from Italy then check Cinecitta out. But let's just keep it between us, okay?