fresh pepper and house made pancetta pizza @ pizzaiolo

What more can you expect from a place that features freshly made pizza and pasta from local produce. One of the trifecta restaurants in the new Gourmet Ghetto in Oakland in the Temescal district is Pizzaiolo (the other two being Doña Thomás, and Bake Sale Betty IMHO). There is always a bit of a wait, but it is well worth it. You can sit at a table, the bar, or outside in the back. The bar, by the way, has an excellent selection of liquors and interesting, fresh cocktails that change frequently.

We started out with the salt cod that was baked in the pizza oven. It came out as a gooey casserole like dish (in a good way). The salt wasn’t as overbearing as I had thought it would be and had a nice subtleness to it. It came with fresh toast so you could spread the cod over like butter.

what's left of a parpadelle with oxtail ragout @ pizzaiolo

Our secondi was fresh parpadelle pasta with a lamb ragout. I’m a huge fan of parpadelle ever since I had the magical pasta in New York at Babbo. So whenever I see it on a menu I must try it out. I am really glad I went with my gut (pun intended), and got this dish. Initially I was going to have it all to myself, but it turned out the pizza oven was backed up and our pizza would come out a little later, we decided to split the pasta and pizza between us. I was sad that I couldn’t have this delicious pasta all to myself, but my friend was sure happy that he got to share. The gaminess of the lamb just peaked over the ragout base and blended perfectly with the wide amounts of pasta.

Our pizza finally arrived right after we were finishing up the pasta. It was a new pizza on the menu that day, fresh peppers and house made pancetta pizza. The pancetta paired nicely with the acidity of the pepper on a light white sauce. The pizza dough itself stayed together with a nice crust underneath and on the outer pie. I’m not a huge fan of non tomato sauced pizzas, so this one was definitely good, but not my favorite. My friend agreed and was even happier that we shared the meals since his highlight was also the pasta.

My wife and I are trying to find that regular restaurant where when you walk in you know the staff and they know you. It’s been a toss up between B in Old Oakland, and this one. With the parpadelle, Pizzaiolo just went into the lead.