Mon-Fri, noon-3:30pm and 5:30pm-11pm; Sat-Sun, 5pm-11pm
6 at 23rd St.; N, R, W at 23rd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Most pizza places don't have an award-winning list of Italian wines that tops out at $2,000. Similarly, most oenophilic haunts don't offer certified-authentic Neapolitan pizza. La Pizza Fresca Ristorante, no ordinary pizzeria, does both. Exposed brick, low lighting, and framed wine ephemera—labels, corks, even crate tops—fill out the decor. And while the menu is a well-considered assortment, the talented Ligurian chef cooks numerous seafood dishes from his native region. Nearly half of the pasta dishes involve some form of frutti di mare: Vibrant, intensely flavored linguine comes with pesto and roasted shrimp; moist and mildly sweet roasted snapper, its skin crackly-crisp, arrives on a lusty bed of tomatoes, zucchini, capers, and olives. The pizza outshines everything else. The restaurant is one of only two pizzerias in New York (the other is Naples 45) to be certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association, an Italian trade group that requires its members to combine Italian flour, fresh mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes with rigorous techniques. The result is a beautifully charred disk of chewy dough. The namesake pizza is judiciously topped with fruity sauce, tangy imported buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, salty black olives, and basil. The Margherita, the classic communion of dough, sauce, and cheese, elevates these humble ingredients to sublimity. Rare is the place that can satisfy both wine and pizza snobs while delighting those who are obsessed with neither, but La Pizza Fresca Ristorante pulls it off.Recommended Dishes
La Pizza Fresca with fresh buffalo mozzarella, Italian cherry tomatoes, and black olives, $18