Cafe Porta Alba: Pizza done right.
I know, I know…I’ve been pretty negligent with updating this blog. I attribute it to finals, which required ungodly amounts of outlining, reading, and studying. Thankfully, though, I’m done with the semester! Most of my classmates can’t say the same, and in that sense, I am better than them. Much better. Anyways, I’ll have a number of posts in the upcoming weeks that I’ve backlogged, so I can let everyone catch up!
I digress. PIZZA. It’s one of those things that those of us who grew up in the New York City area pride ourselves on. We have a predefined idea as to what it is, what a good pizza tastes like, and that you can only get “real” pizza in the the area around the city. That pile of slop and dough that they serve in Chicago? That’s not pizza, just a dough bowl of fat.
Well, my conception of fantastic pizza is now gone, and was totally thrown out the window after our trip to Cafe Porta Alba, located right in Madison’s Hilldale Mall complex. Cafe Porta Alba is one of only a handful of pizza places in the US recognized by the prestigious Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, which certifies pizza places as producing authentic Neapolitan pizza. Pizza made in this style is baked in a brick oven at extraordinarily high temperatures, with the pizza fully cooking in about 90 seconds.
Naturally, when we heard about this place, we had to go check it out. We ordered three separate pizzas and split them all–they’re about 12″ in diameter and designed for one person each. We got a basic margarita pizza, another with fontina, spinach, and sausage, and then the one you see pictured above–olive oil, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula.
True to their word, the pizzas each came out very quickly. The ingredients were fresh, high quality, and delicious. These pizzas have a very unique crust–thin and chewy, but absolutely superb. My personal favorite was the margarita pizza, with its incredible homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella…it’s simply indescribable. It’s always nice when a restaurant really puts the time and effort into their food to ensure that the quality of their product is exceptional–in this situation, that was absolutely the case.
The total for all three of us, with tip, was $42, or $14 each. Pricey for pizza? Sure, but with this kind of quality, it’s more than worth it. I would go back in a heartbeat, and certainly plan on doing so in the future. Cafe Porta Bella gets an A in my book–anything less would be selling them short.