I recently became aware of Capizzi when I was invited for a couple of press dinners. It is situated right between my wife and my work places, so it was an easy spot to try out on a whim.
This cozy little joint is tucked away under the bridge on 9th Avenue at Port Authority.
When you walk in, you feel like you’re at someone’s house that has been temporarily transformed into a dining room. The old tube TV and the floor-standing, old timey radio have been moved aside to make room for guests. They even have and old school fridge and ice box along the cabinetry on one side of the room…
…and dried peppers hanging from the ceiling, just like at grandma’s house.
Which they crush into their own house crushed red pepper, served alongside dried oregano that is still on the stems. Just like home!
By 6pm on the Friday before Memorial Day, when people are itching to vacate the city, this place was already jumping WITH A LINE OUT THE DOOR AND DOWN THE STREET. Completely full. Wow!
The plates mirror this cozy home feeling, and it’s no wonder Capizzi was jammed up from such an early time… because everything was awesome. And it boasts an extensive Wine selection for all you wine drinking folks out there. In my two visits, I got to taste pretty much all their wines by the glass. The montepulciano, nero d’avola, lambrusco, chianti, and muscato were all great.
Our waiter Andre started us off with a couple of glasses of sangiovese on our first visit, which is one of my favorite varietals. The cool thing about the second visit was that he was there again, but this time just visiting on his off-day to say hello to friends, which I thought was pretty cool. He remembered us too! Great guy. On the second trip we had the pleasure of being served by Sami as our waitress, and Javier as bus boy. Service here is impeccable! Javier was fast, attentive, and very nice. Sami was a sweetheart, and made excellent suggestions for what to order. The people running Capizzi definitely know how to choose good quality staff.
We had a plate of soft, tasty burrata cheese that was garnished with basil, artichoke hearts, sliced grape tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and prosciutto – all lightly drizzled with olive oil. It was excellent. Simple and delicious.
Next came the antipasto misto: a plate of Italian meats, cheese, olives, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and eggplant. A nice way to double down on our starter plate. As you can see in the pic, Andre again served us from the main plate. Top notch service here!
The antipasto came with a basket of toasted, lightly cheesed flatbread. Naked pizza, if you will. Really airy and crispy. We took this home with us since we couldn’t finish it all, and wanted to save room for pizza.
On trip number two we tried two salads – HUGE portion sizes. Definitely can split these. These were both very simple dishes that showcased incredible, fresh ingredients. In the first case, cucumber, roasted red peppers, and really top quality olive oil.
The other salad was a simple, refreshing fennel and orange salad. Again massive portion size, and very tasty.
Then comes the pizza. We ordered a regular Margherita pie with some arugula and prosciutto on top. The pie was doughy yet crisped and lightly charred on the surfaces and crust. This kind of perfection can only be achieved with an authentic wood burning brick oven.
The sauce was deftly applied with just the right volume and ratio to the crust and cheese. It had a very slight sweetness to it, which was cut nicely by the peppery arugula and salty prosciutto. The cheese was fresh and melty, and on top there was some fresh grated parmesan cheese for that earthy kick. We devoured every bite of this masterpiece.
On a second visit we tried two pies. First the margherita pie – your basic cheese and sauce pizza. It was fucking PERFECT. Words escape me right now as I try to describe it. It was crisp, yet soft. It was savory, fresh, and juicy from point to crust. Honestly this is now my favorite pizza in New York, and I grew up a spoiled pizza brat.
The other pie we tried was on special for the night, and was topped with speck, prosciutto, arugula and mozzarella. This was really great. In fact, pretty much every pizza on the menu sounds enticing. My wife and I plan to move back into the city this summer, and this area is one of or top choices for location. Needless to say, Capizzi will be our go-to pizza joint, no question. Look at how amazing the pizza is…
We finished off the meal with my wife’s favorite classic dessert, tiramisu, on our first visit. It was good – nice and light, not too boozy; a great ending to a wonderful meal.
On the second visit, we took advice from our waitress Sami to try the Oreo truffle cannoli. She hit the nail on the head. It was just the right amount of sweet without being overpowering. It was flavorfully unique, but with enough tribute paid to the classic cannoli dessert not to offend any traditionalist sensibilities. And as always, the plating was beautiful to boot.
As a pizza aficionado, I definitely recommend this place to those looking for a great pie (no single slices here – for that you need to go to Saluggis). Do yourself a favor and go here ASAP. I think for sit-down, full-pie pizza, this is absolutely my new favorite place to go.
An interesting side note about this place:
“They got an old-fashion’ toilet… You know… The box, and, and, and, ah the chain-thing… We might be able to tape the gun behind it.”
547 9th Ave
New York, NY 10018