Photo by James Vernette
Nuvola Porchetta and Burrata pie
There are few things that can cause an argument quite like pizza.
People will argue over whether thin or thick crust is best, or whether pineapple should even be allowed to be an ingredient. There’s also the age-old battle between New York and Chicago styles.
Still, pizza is one of those foods that inspires people to try new things and adapt. San Diego is certainly a city open to adaptations in food (we were, after all, the people that put French fries in a burrito).
That may be why TripAdvisor readers picked our humble town as America’s finest city for pizza back in 2013. There are enough places serving decent enough pizza in different styles to please picky pie eaters, be they from New York, Chicago or even Milan.
Most Americans decide from a young age that they prefer thin-style New York-style pizza or the thick-crust Chicago kind. Ambrogio15 (926 Turquoise St., Pacific Beach) makes a compelling case for the Milano-style of pizza. It also has the best wine list of any pizzeria I’ve seen in any city.
Ambrogio15 is run by three Milanese natives who have strong opinions about what good pizza should be. But they also offer other variations on the pie to satisfy customers.
The house style of pizza is thin and crisp—each bite crackles—and the emphasis is on promoting the high-quality ingredients, not hiding them under sauce.
Case in point: the burrata and proscuitto focaccia, which uses top-of-the-line cheese and charcuterie. There is a light amount of sauce to add moisture, but the focus is on the saltiness of the proscuitto and the creaminess of the cheese. Each bite pops—especially with a glass of the Tuscan Sangiovese.
On the other hand, people who want a thicker crust style pie should get the nuvola porchetta and burrata pie. The crust is more like chunks of bread, each served with some very tender pork and that creamy Burrata cheese. There’s no sauce, and it doesn’t need it. The mild garlic flavor of the pork and the creamy cheese do all the work. But it sure goes well with a glass of a Cab-Sangiovese blend.
A third variation that should appeal to vegetarians is the scrocchiarella vegetariana. It’s basically a salad of greens, veggies, burrata cheese and shaved reggiano served between two crispy focaccia loaves that have been cut up into pizza-shaped slices. It’s almost like a combination of a stuffed crust pizza and a salad, which made for a refreshing and light meal.
There’s more than pizza and wine at Ambrogio15. Both the house green salad and the ahi poke tartare were tasty and fresh, but there’s a reason that the pizza is front and center.
The vibe is casual but classy, the sort of place where you don’t feel rushed if you’re having a good conversation. There is one nagging problem: I can’t decide which pizza I liked best. The proscuitto was an all-around classic pizza while the pork on the nuvola porchetta and burrata was just outstanding. I also like how every bit of the scrocchiarella vegetariana seemed so fresh.
Darn, looks like I need to do more research and have some more wine. The debate rages on.