Pizza Pizza La Terrazza Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos IslandsReviewed March / April 2015
Pizza Pizza La Terrazza atop Grace Bay Plaza across from the Regent Village
There is a saying that goes like this, “There are two kinds of people in this world, Italians, and those who wish they were.” When it comes to Italian food, I think there is probably a little inner Italian in all of us. And when it comes to pizza, I struggle to think of any other food that is as popular, replicated and embraced the world over.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another pizza joint. The menu does feature the pre-eminent and paramount item, which put Pizza Pizza on the map, and continues to make their Leeward Highway location famous. At Pizza Pizza La Terrazza, they also serve appetisers and salads, imported pasta, brick oven baked specialties, grilled paninis, coffees and desserts. Recently, fresh clams, mussels and homemade gnocchi have been added. This is a menu of ‘grande’ proportions.
La Terrazza is the born-again metamorphosis of owner, Robin Foglia’s Pizza Pizza, where your taste of Italy is enjoyed on the breezy terrace overlooking the hustle and bustle of Grace Bay Road. It’s relaxed and casual, with strings of lights, potted palms and hanging greenery amidst the wrought iron tables. The kitchen is warm and cozy with rich colours and hand-painted designs, reminiscent of an old-world Italian kitchen, complete with an authentic brick oven.
Mussels Appetiser steamed with garlic and herbs
Over classic cocktails of margaritas and daiquiris, we decided our modus operandi would be to share several dishes as our appetisers, and, in keeping with the ‘fuggedaboutit’ philosophy, just go for the gusto with the Kitchen Sink pizza. Consider the substantial toppings: pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, extra cheese and broccoli, yes broccoli – and it worked. This fabulous pie tasted surprisingly light, with a crispy crust. More on pizza later.
Of the many new menu items we were thrilled to discover, I was particularly eager to try the homemade gnocchi. These delectable dumplings were absolutely tender and almost melted in my mouth, deliciously augmented by the simple yet savoury sauce – an aromatic fusion of nutty and rich browned butter and delicate sage.
Indulge in a heaping bowl of steamed clams or mussels in an intoxicating and fragrant sauce of garlic and herbs, creamy mushroom sauce or a lively tomato and parsley. Or, enjoy these marvelous molluscs with pasta and your choice of sauce: lively tomato, rich cream, or simply EVOO. We all agreed that this evening’s union of mussels and tomato sauce was a match made in heaven. This bowl was overflowing with an abundance of mussels together with an essential accompaniment, a few slices of garlic toast … crucial for soaking up all that fabulous sauce.
The large Kitchen Sink Pizza at Pizza Pizza
Satisfied and contented with our appetisers, we contemplated a few more dishes, but soon learned that Robin had his own modus operandi in mind. With the arrival of each course our server, Doudeline, simply smiled when faced with the mounting task of making space on the table for all of these Italian specialties.
The Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (meaning Sorrento style) was a version of those doughy, dumpling delights, this time smothered in a fresh and lively tomato sauce and plenty of Mozzarella cheese.
Our resident ‘clam guy’s’ eyes lit up at the sight and smell of the bowl of linguini loaded with plenty of tender and succulent clams, all tossed in a mouth-watering garlic and herb sauce. I think part of the joy of eating pasta has to be the ‘twirling’ of the noodle in the curve of your spoon as you spin the perfect mouthful. All of this evening's pastas were perfectly prepared, ‘al dente.’
Pasta Al Forno was a ziti pasta dish of epic proportions and taste! A brick oven specialty of the house, this fabulous dish was loaded with roasted garlic, meatballs, tomato sauce and plenty of Provolone and Mozzarella cheese. Plunging your fork into this dish and breaching the cheese seal brought about wafts of fragrant steam. What’s more, it was almost impossible to retrieve each forkful without extracting a never-ending string of cheese. The fresh basil added a light and refreshing note. Also piping hot out of the brick oven, the Classic Beef Lasagna, revered island-wide, is Pizza Pizza’s original northern Italian recipe, with beef, red wine, cheese, tomato and spices.
Steamed Clams with Linguine and your choice of sauces at Grace Bay Plaza across from the Regent Village
First, choose your noodle: spaghetti, penne, fusili, farfalle, linguine, ziti or rigatoni … then the sauce. An old Sicilian expression, “He is always different, like a sauce” is a testament to the fact that no two sauces are identical. Red-based sauces include meatballs, basil tomato, Bolognese with beef and red wine. Choices for white sauces include carbonara with bacon, alla vodka featuring Ketel One vodka, Alfredo with ham and mushrooms, and finally a pesto sauce with basil and papalina, a combination of tomato sauce, pesto and dried hot chili peppers made to your own personal ‘heat’ specifications.
We must applaud pizzaiolo (pizza chef) Raffaele Esposito of Naples, who created the ‘modern’ pizza as we know and enjoy it today. On Provo, our own pizzaiolos, Olga Ortiz and Dania Guerrero prepare enticing and imaginative specialty pizzas that Esposito would be proud of. Seafood pizza is a delectable concoction of squid, conch, mussels, clams, shrimp, crab, baby octopus and herbed garlic. Rich and creamy goat cheese and roasted red peppers top the Red Goat.
One of the most popular pizzas, the Margherita, is an historical favourite. This world-famous pizza was invented by pizzaiolo Esposito himself for Queen Margherita and King Umberto of Italy in 1889. A tribute to the Italian flag, Esposito topped his Margherita pizza with tomatoes, Mozzarella and basil (red, white and green). It was adored by the Queen, and subsequently by the rest of the world, including my dinner companions.
The light and creamy Italian classic Tiramisu
Robin regaled me with an interesting and funny fact … “Because we don’t switch the ovens off completely at night, due to thick stones that would take forever to heat up in the morning, we leave the pilots on; our ovens have actually been on since 1995 – apart from when hurricanes hit!” And for you historical buffs, the original Pizza Pizza opened in 1995 with Robin taking over in 2005.
Italians are resolute in their belief in the importance of enjoying wine and food together, and La Terrazza offers a very reasonable and adequate wine and champagne list. The wine selection was made without question – Chianti. Ideal with so many traditional Italian dishes, this medium-bodied, fruity and lightly spicy wine was easy to drink. “Salut!” It is further believed that Italian beer is also a perfect match for the spicy, zesty flavours of Italian food, and Robin offers two - Moretti, a premium pilsner and Peroni, a full-bodied lager.
Notwithstanding, our whole-hearted gusto when it came to our appetites this evening, an admirable stack of take-home containers were memorable souvenirs to indulge in the following day. Yet when faced with dessert, we agreed that it would be an insult to our Italian host if we did not partake. You cannot walk out of an Italian restaurant without having indulged in the Tiramisu. Layer cake style, this Italian classic was light and creamy. The Mango Cheesecake, with the operative word being mango, was delicious. And lastly, Sambuca, the sweet, anise-flavoured liqueur is the ultimate digestive.
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