When I visit New York City, I often feel overwhelmed by endless food options. I’ll often revert to chain restaurants and celebrity Chefs out of sheer laziness and hunger. But this time, I strayed from the NYC guidebooks and typical tourist trails. I went to the West Village to try Olio Pizza e Piú – a trattoria open 24/7 that serves authentic Neapolitan pizzas, breads, and other Italian delicacies.
Olio Pizza e Più was first opened by Chef Giulio Adriani, a renowned Pizza Master from Rome. He learned the art of pizza-making from his Neapolitan grandmother, and eventually studied with Master Pizzaiolos in Naples. Since then, Chef Giulio has been winning awards for his Italian cuisine, and is considered one of the world’s leading pizza experts.
Olio’s dining room is modestly adorned with chandeliers, dark woods, and antiques, giving its interior a distinctly Tuscan atmosphere. It feels a bit like dining at a rural estate in Italy rather than the West Village. There’s also a lively patio garden for patrons who want a side of city life with their meal.
I lean against the bar, watching the pizzaolios knead dough and pull steaming pies from the 1000-degree wood-fired oven. The kitchen uses family recipes passed down from several generations, and prepare many ingredients on site. In fact, Chef Giulio insists that the mozzarella be handmade at all his restaurants.As the scent of baking dough wafts from the oven, my belly starts growling. It’s time to eat.
We kick off the meal with the Insalata Caprese ($15), a plate of fresh roma tomatoes and barrata cheese, sprinkled with basil oil (above). The cheese looks like a scoop of ice cream, but it’s actually an outer shell of solid mozzarella with a warm, soft cream inside. This is one sharing item to be coveted.While waiting for the second course, our table snacks on the homemade brick oven bread, and a plate of prosciutto and figs glazed with tangerine oil and balsamic glaze.
The Cavatelli ai Funghi ($18) transforms me into a pasta snob. I dig my fork into homemade pasta shells topped with mushrooms, burgundy truffles, red onion, and light shavings of ricotta salata. Everything tastes fresh and vibrant, and the portion size is large enough to split among my tablemates.
With ten specialty pizzas on the menu plus the “make your own” pie option, commitment doesn’t come easy at Olio. But for me, it’s love at first sight when the Campagnola ($21) arrives at my table – a thin smoky crust topped with prosciutto, parmesan, mozzarella, spicy arugala, and homemade tomato sauce. One bite of a slice, and I’m immediately smitten with the pillowy texture of the dough, which resembles warm Naan bread.
Somehow, I find a second stomach for the Tortino al cioccolato ($8) – a warm molten chocolate cake topped with vanilla gelato. Our table devours the dessert within minutes.
There’s no need for Gordon Ramsay or a $600 bill to get a satisfying meal in NYC. All you need is an appetite and Olio Pizza e Piú. As a bonus, patrons can feast on gourmet pizza at all hours since the restaurant is open 24/7.
Olio Pizza e Più
3 Greenwich Avenue
New York City
The writer was a guest of Olio Pizza e Più. The restaurant did not review or approve this article.