piccolo forno pizzeria in north beach
Me and the SO were in North Beach testing out one of those new app scavenger hunt games because, why not. It was a silly fun thing to do on a sunny weekend. It took a couple hours and by the end of we was really hungry. This neighborhood is one I've been to off and on over the years and have eaten at a fair number of the places along Columbus. It is kind a touristy stretch of road that visitors to our city make a point to see. Particularly since it kind melds from Chinatown right in North Beach, some folks end up there just because they kept walking.
Since we were here already we figured we may as well pop into one of the local spots and get a bite. Unfortunately, one of my fave places closed up shop, thus we had to search out a new spot. I didn't want to be right in the heart of hood so we walked down Columbus a bit toward the pier and came across Piccolo Forno Pizzeria (NO WEBSITE!). It was sort of mid to late afternoon and the place wasn't crowded and had a nice bright clean feel to it.
They have a counter spread with square cut pizza slices which we were drawn to. While it was a little confusing, seems you can order at the counter or sit at a table and menu order. We ended up doing a little of both. All the choices ran $4.50 a slice. We perused the options in the case, picked a few, then decided to just take a table and eat there. They heat slices up in a little oven then bring them out to the table. Before I get into what we had, when they first brought them out, they were somewhere between warm and cold. They were more than happy to heat them again to get them hot and crispy and it did make a world of difference in them. So bonus points for not making a fuss about it.
The crust on all of them is the same, kind of like a thin crust crossed with focaccia bread. Properly heated, the crust was just a little crisp around the edges and slightly bready in the middle. As a basic base for making pizzas we rather liked it. And as I said above, so much better fully heated. Slices were also a pretty decent size. Since they were square we cut them up into 4 smaller squares to share. Needless to say, we got our fill and definitely were not hungry when we left.
Definitely didn't skimp on the veggies here. Broccolini, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, artichokes and I'm sure some other things nestled in there. While it was good and I felt like I was getting my daily supply of veggies, it didn't have cheese on it for whatever reason. It's not like this was vegan with the bread and all. Came across as sauteed vegetables on bread. Not bad, but some cheese could have perked it up for me.
Slices of tomato with chunks of fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. You definitely get tomato fix here and while I get the concept of a caprese salad, I still which there was more of the mozzarella. Some versions I've had have large circles of cheese to match the tomato instead of cubes. Still, decent enough.
Salsiccia and Broccolini
House made sausage and sauteed broccolini with mozzarella and garlic. This was my fave. Plenty of cheese here and the sausage had a little spice to it. Through in some suitably crunchy greens to match the richness of the cheese and it's a recipe for yumminess. This is a white pizza so no red sauce, more of a garlic and truffle oil thing. I'm a fan of the just crust and cheese thing so it was a winner.
Salsiccia and Mushroom
We went regular old school here with the sausage and mushroom. Classic red sauce and mozzarella cheese. Normally you can't go wrong with the classics and this was right on point with plenty of both toppings to go around.
While we were there, the place slowly began to fill up. Having only opened last November, they've worked out most of the kinks and settled in nicely with the nearby neighbors. A number of the folks coming in seemed to know the owner and they conversed in Italian, which actually kind of added some local flavor to the ambiance. While it is not totally cozy, the atmosphere did make it feel like a small neighborhood place instead of a catering to tourists joint. Between that and the tasty and reasonably priced slices, Piccolo Forno Pizzeria is worth trying out, even for the locals.