4 at Fordham Rd.; B, D at Fordham Rd.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
East Tremont Ave. to East Fordham Rd., Southern Blvd. to Webster Ave.
Viewed from outside on bustling Arthur Avenue, Giovanni's appears to be an undistinguished pizzeria in a neighborhood filled with high-profile, Southern Italian-American landmarks. While Giovanni's does serve some exemplary cornmeal-dusted, brick oven-baked pizzas—the robust pizza affumicato, with locally smoked mozzarella and red peppery sopressata, for instance, and the festive pizza fredo, topped with fontina, rosemary, prosciutto and arugula spiked with balsamic vinegar and parmigiano—this is more than a storefront serving slices and hot chicken parm heroes. In an unassuming, drop-ceilinged dining room in the rear, Fordham University staff and local business folk can be found lunching on hearty pasta fagioli, lightly breaded and delicately herbed clams oreganata and mini-pizzas. Vegetable dishes, like sautéed spinach, escarole and broccoli rabe, are bathed in broth and flecked with simmered sliced garlic. Main courses lean toward old standards, like veal francese, chicken marsala and shrimp scampi, but none are heavy, over-cooked or disrespected. A steady hand in the kitchen with familiar recipes like these makes Giovanni's the kind of local classic any neighborhood would willingly support.Recommended Dishes
Clams oreganata, $14; sautéed escarole, $6; pizza affumicato, $12-$24