Friday, September 21, 2018

Pizza For Lunch: Osteria Posto & Spiga Ristorante

Pizza is pure comfort food. 

I probably eat more pizza than any other type of food, and I never grow tired of it. I can easily have pizza for lunch and then have pizza again for dinner.  And then do it again the next day. Greek, Neapolitan, White Pizza, Thin Crust, Thick Crust, or even a cheap frozen pizza. Give me a slice or a whole pie. Bring on Prince Pizzeria and their all-you-can-eat pizza lunch, which only costs about $8. Just give me pizza.

I certainly have my favorite spots for pizza, including the two restaurants I'm highlighting below. Both are excellent spots for lunch or dinner, with delicious menus of Italian specialties, though their pizza is usually only available during lunch. Both receive my highest recommendation.

Osteria Posto, an Italian steakhouse in Waltham, has been a favorite of mine since it opened in later 2015. Their homemade pasta dishes are killer. During the week, Monday to Friday, they are open for lunch from 11:30am-2pm. Their Lunch menu has plenty of choices, including Appetizers (from Arancini to Calamari), Salads (Caesar to Beets), Pasta (Mezze Rigatoni to Tagliatelle), and Pizza (Red--Margherita to Sausage & White--Mushroom to Soppresata).

On my last visit, I began my lunch with the Burrata ($18), Maple Brook Farms Burrata, oven roasted peaches, and Prosciutto di Parma. This was an ample dish, large enough for two people to share, and the blend of the creamy mozzarella, the sweet, juicy & slightly smoky peaches, and the silky & salty prosciutto was pure bliss. There is beauty in the simplicity of this dish, the quality ingredients standing well on their own, but playing so well with others too.

Your Pizza choices, all Neapolitan wood-fired, include 6 Red and 6 White options, prices ranging from $13-$21. I opted for the Meatball Pizza ($18), which has chunks of meatballs that were made from beef, pork, and veal, and is accompanied by mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, oregano, and garlic. The crisp, light crust has just the right amount of chewiness and char, and the savory meatballs possess so much flavor. The cheese and garlic enhance the totality of the pizza as well. Each slice satisfies and you have to reach for another.

The next time you have a pizza yearning, stop by Osteria Posto.

Spiga Ristorante, an Italian restaurant in Needham, has undergone some recent changes with the return of Chef Marisa Iocco. You can get more information about the changes and the restaurant in my prior review. They are open for lunch, Monday to Friday, from 11:30am to 3pm, and pizza features on their lunch menu. You'll find plenty of other choices on their Lunch menu too, from Guazzetti (Italian stews) to home-made pasta dishes like the superb Timballo. There are usually lunch specials as well that aren't on the menu.

On a recent visit, I began with one of their cicchetti, the Caprese Sbagliata ($15), which included a basil bread pudding, local tomatoes, mozzarella and greens. Chef Iocco is famous for her dessert Bread Pudding and this savory version was superb, light, moist and flavorful. I bet she could open a restaurant that just served variations of bread pudding and it would be a success. This dish was an excellent variation on a caprese salad, and the freshness of the ingredients was clear.

There are five Pizza options on their menu, all priced at $14, and ranging from Margherita to Italian Tuna. Chef Iocco states that her pizza is a cross between Roman and Neopolitan, with Abruzzo accents. I chose the Bianca Pizza, with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and arugula. The delightful crust, not too thick and slightly chewy, had plenty of tender, salty prosciutto and it is large enough to feed two people. You can also see it is more oval-shaped, not like a traditional round pizza.

Spiga Ristorante is located close to the Needham location of Bin Ends, so there is double reason to journey there. Have lunch or dinner at Spiga and then shop for some wine at Bin Ends. And make sure to try some pizza as well as Chef Iocco's bread pudding.

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