Restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Spizza

Sheila Christensen Jeanneau

Pizzas cooked in wood-fired ovens are always good, but there’s something special about this San Isidro spot that follows the strict Neapolitan pizza-making guidelines.

Restaurant review: Spizza

(Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

One of the best pizzas I’ve eaten since coming to Lima over nine years ago was most recently at Spizza in San Isidro. Opened since November of 2011, I was a bit surprised I had not heard about it until a few months ago. I enjoyed the food so much the first time, I returned on my own with my husband a week later. Below are my impressions of the food during both of my visits.

The decor inside Spizza is charming, slightly eclectic, and comfortable. The black and white floors, marble tables, colorful walls and muted lighting add to the rustic, romantic vibe.

We sat down with one of the Spizza’s owners, Augusto Tenorio, for a brief background of the restaurant. Most of his life, Augusto has enjoyed creating and cooking (it came naturally), but it was not what he studied in school. Over the years he continued preparing pizza in his home. Self-employed and curious, he thought it would be a good business opportunity since he saw the lack of good pizza in the Lima market. Augusto’s business partners, Alvaro and Gonzalo, also strongly believed in his idea and helped along the way.

A wood-fired oven lends to a crunchy, flavorful pizza (Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

The Spiedini (S/ 23) was the first starter we sampled. A satisfying sizzling plate of six bocconcini balls (fresh mozzarella) wrapped with prosciutto and topped off with a basil leaf before a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of maras salt to finish off, then quickly broiled in a very hot oven. I also ordered this dish during my second visit since I enjoyed it so much the first time.

The nido di funghi (S/ 27) was our second appetizer. I enjoy mushrooms quite a bit and this was delicious. A small round loaf of airy, artisanal bread filled with sautéed mushrooms in a sauce of cream, cheese, basil and peperoncino (Italian hot chili peppers) was “comfort food” at its best. This is an excellent starter to share.

Spiedini, front, and nido di funghi, back, both tasty appetizers (Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

My curiosity was mainly focused on the pizza. I rarely go out for pizza since practically every time I am a bit disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Neapolitan-style pizza served at Spizza. Spizza serves Neapolitan-style pizza which originates from Naples, Italy. It is the only restaurant in Lima that I am aware of that prepares their pizza using the criteria and regulations of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Augusto showed us the over 10 pages of requirements). All of the pizzas are prepared by hand on a marble surface. No two pizzas are exactly the same. The pizzas are prepared in a large wood-burning oven (which reach temperatures at approximately over 400 Celsius) for approximately 90 seconds. This allows the ingredients to fuse together and also imparts the crunchy, slightly charred crust. All of the pizzas served at Spizza are one size and are cut into 6 slices.

Sopraffina, a creamy pizza topped with plenty of green onions (Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

We sampled a brand new pizza, called sopraffina, which had a very generous amount of sliced green onions with a cream sauce and all topped off with Grana Padano cheese. We thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are a mild onion enthusiast, this pizza is for you.

On my second visit, we ordered the mascetti (S/ 40) pizza. This pizza was prepared with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sliced portobello mushrooms, Italian prosciutto and the final touch, a generous amount of fresh arugula. Once again, the crust was perfectly crispy and none of the ingredients overpowered the other.

A successful pizza for me is one that you can enjoy every bit of, from the sauce and ingredients to the crust. Many times I see people who do not eat the pizza crust. This crust is incredible as were all of the other components of their pizzas that we sampled. Currently there are 22 pizzas listed on the menu. Occasionally this changes with a new addition or availability of seasonal ingredients.

Calzone, large enough to share (Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

Two of the most popular pizzas at Spizza are their margherita (the classic basil, mozzarella and tomato combination), and the prosciutto funghi (prosciutto and mushroom). Spizza offers classic pizzas and classics with a twist. You will also find quite a few unique options.

I was eager to sample the plump, generously stuffed calzone, il calzone (S/ 42), since I rarely have seen calzones served here in Lima. This oven-baked folded “pizza” or turnover originated in Naples, Italy. The salted dough filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Italian salami, ham, and red bell pepper was satisfying and definitely large enough for two to share.

There are currently 14 pasta dishes on the current Spizza menu. We sampled the ravioli alla diavola (S/ 38). The homemade meat raviolis were generously smothered in a reduction sauce of tomatoes, bacon, garlic, peperoncino and all tossed with Parmesan. This is not your typical red sauce. You can taste every ingredient in this rich and flavorful sauce.

Raviolo alla diavola (Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

On my first visit, we shared the decadent tiramisu (S/ 26). It was a generous portion and creamy, rich and satisfying. Spizza makes their own mascarpone cheese on the premises for their tiramisu. I highly recommend it, but please note, it sells out quickly. It is not always available as I found out when I returned.

On my return visit, we ordered two desserts: the brownie doppio cioccolato (S/ 18), basically a brownie and ice cream combination, and the delicia de limon (S/ 18). The lime dessert was the hit at our table. This refreshing and creamy lime ice cream with a bottom crust of crushed cookies and almonds was delicious.

Make room for dessert, coffee, and cookies (Photo: Agnes Rivera/Living in Peru)

I did order a salad during my second visit and it was large enough for two to share or ample for one salad lover. The insalata toscana (S/ 27) combines mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pecans, sliced pears, slices of prosciutto and Parmesan with a very light goat cheese dressing. We thought our salad could have been better if it had a bit more of the ingredients to compensate for the large quantity of lettuce. Many times the ingredients are found on the top of the salad, but none of them mixed into the salad below. This was the case in the salad we ordered.

Spizza has domestic and artisanal beer, wine and cocktail lists, as well as a selection of 12 different sangrias (red and white varieties) to choose from. If you are not in the mood for liquor, there are some refreshing juices to choose from. I thoroughly enjoyed my piña y menta fresca (S/ 12) so much that I prepared this at home another day. The combination of pineapple juice and fresh mint was perfect together and I was pleased when our waitress asked how much sugar, if any, that I preferred. Many times these relatively healthy beverage options arrive overly sweetened. Spizza also offers a star fruit and mandarin juice, maracuya juice with sparkling water and several other options if you prefer something other than water.

If you are in the mood for coffee after your meal, Spizza offers Italian coffee by Lavazza. The coffee is a accompanied by these delicious, addictive little chocolate chip cookies. Crunchy, rectangular-shaped, a cross between a cookie and biscotti. Really incredible!

Spizza enjoys a fairly decent lunch crowd, but most definitely they enjoy more business in the evening hours. Luckily, there is usually more street parking available in the evening than what you find during the day.

Spizza intends to open up another location in the Aurora area of Miraflores within the next month or so and perhaps in the future a few more locations.

Av. Dos de Mayo 455
San Isidro
Phone: 222-2228
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 12:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Friday-Saturday: 12:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Sunday: 12:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Reservations accepted
Capacity: approximately 80 people
Limited street parking

Starters/Appetizers: S/ 10-36
Salads: S/ 22-27
Pizzas: S/ 28-52 (extra ingredients S/ 3-9)
Calzone: S/ 42
Pasta/Risotto: S/ 31-52
Desserts: S/ 18-26
Juices/Water/Non-Alcoholic beverages: S/ 6-12
Coffees/Teas: S/ 6-8
Domestic & Artisanal Beer: S/ 10-18
Pisco Sours/Chilcanos: S/ 18-20
Mojitos: S/ 20-22
Wine: S/ 70-130
Red & White Sangria: S/ 20-24
Digestives: S/ 16-18

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