Zuppa Fresca, nestled on Northeast K Street, welcomes lunchtime crowds into a breezy, recently remodeled restaurant landscape swathed in natural light. Chefs decorate platters with traditional garlic and pesto flavors, before serving them amid the waves of light emanating from alternately yellow and red walls. The diligent staff accommodates guests using the OpenTable online reservation system, ensuring prompt seating during peak times and preventing needless scuffles over favorite tables and who gets to ride shotgun on the dessert cart.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn; $20.95 for a large) or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in the Berkeley vegan, a faux-cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $10.50 for a small), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut; $8.95).
For chef Daniele Catalani, there’s nothing political about food. The Tuscany-born chef delights political bigwigs and locals alike with a menu composed of highly seasonal, homestyle Italian food. Catalani earned his culinary bona fides working in restaurants throughout Europe, and he made his way up to the exclusive chef position at Galileo by the age of 23. He also appeared on Iron Chef America in 2003 during the battle of Donna vs. Morimoto, where he assisted in spatula-to-spatula combat. Today, he fills Toscana Cafe's menu with classic entrees such as gnocchi with basil pesto or ravioli with roasted eggplant and goat cheese.
Pronounced “AH-beets,” Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza sets itself apart from more familiar pie prototypes with a crunchy yet chewy, stone oven-cooked crust, irregular shape, and massive size. Combining their roots in fine dining with a dedication to fresh and simple Italian cuisine, Pete’s chefs make the gluten-free pizza crust in-house each day and top pies with savory sauce and locally-sourced toppings that are farm-fresh, organic, or made in house. Their artisan approach means that each apizza emerges with its own imperfectly round shape, primarily served in 18-inch whole pies, single slices, or doughy maps of ancient Greek city-states.
Pete’s menu also encompasses wheat- and egg-based pastas including goat cheese and basil ravioli, homemade lasagna, and spaghetti Bolognese. The fortress of feasting also channels the vibes of a neighborhood bar with a variety of draft and bottled beers, eclectic décor, and oven doors that bark out patrons’ names when they walk through the door.
Pepperoni, Italian sausage, and prosciutto snuggle atop the Meat Lovers' pie, resting right alongside caramelized onions—an unexpected touch that's typical of Jumbo Pizza's flavorful specialties. Roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, and pesto sauce contribute to the appetizing aroma of the roasted eggplant pizza. The white pizza—topped with garlic sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, feta, cheddar, and gorgonzola—proves a mighty temptation to cheese lovers and a fine target for wandering cheese archers. Outside the realm of pizzas, Jumbo fills plates with other hearty Italian-style fare, including meatballs, lasagna, gyros, and sandwiches.