Most people have a very strong opinion on what makes a perfect pizza. Thin crust, thick crust, no cheese, extra cheese, meat lover's, veggie lover's...the iterations are endless. For fans of Neapolitan pizza, Cafe Porta Alba has a lot to offer.
After moving from its former home on Butler St., Hilldale Mall's Cafe Porta Alba features an imported Italian wood-fired pizza oven built from Mount Vesuvius lava stone that cooks pizza in only 90 seconds at 900 degrees F. Neapolitan pizza has a thin crust and fewer toppings than the pizzas that many Americans are used to after a diet of Pizza Hut behemoths and may not appeal to those who prefer thick, doughy crust and mounds of toppings. I generally prefer thin crust, so Neapolitan-style pizza was made for me. I opted for the Salsiccia-Italian sausage, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, and fresh mozzarella.
I also tried a slice of my husband's choice: Capricciosa-mushrooms, olives, fresh mozzarella, tomato,
Parmacotto, and artichokes.
To drink, I drank Peroni beer with my pizza. I wasn't trying to pair my beer and pizza flavors perfectly together, but just wanted to sample an Italian beer I hadn't had before. It's a pretty average lager, but was a nice accompaniment to pizza, as beer usually is. On my next visit I'll probably opt for a glass of wine or one of the New Glarus brews available.
Although both of us were had leftovers to bring home, I couldn't resist trying the tiramisu, one of my favorite desserts in the world. It was exquisite. The light sponge biscuits soaked in espresso, topped with a creamy marscapone mixture and dusted with cocoa are a perfect finish to evening and well worth saving room for.
Cafe Porta Alba is located at 558 N. Midvale Blvd., across the street from Sundance Cinema in Hilldale Mall. The restaurant is open Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Visit their website for more information.