Ever since Antica Pizza left the Marina, I’ve been in Napoletana pizza withdrawal. The nearest VPN (certified Napoletana pizza made with ingredients and methods approved by the association from Naples) was Settebello in Pasadena. I just couldn’t convince myself that the drive through down town traffic and then into Pasadena for pizza was worth it. I was thrilled when I saw that Settebello was going to come to the Marina in the same (newly rebuilt and redesigned) center that used to be Antica’s home.
Settebello opened a few weeks ago and the space both inside and outside is comfortable and casual. Servers are young and helpful, even though the fine details of orders and specials haven’t yet been refined. One one occasion I was asked if I wanted peppers and Parmesan, on another not, whereas I was asked how many slices I wanted my pizza cut into, but on another occasion not. I also heard the chef explaining to the bartender what chard was and how it was spelled as he described one of the specials.
The pizza that is the litmus test for a truly great Napoletana Pizza is the DOC Margherita, made with Crushed Tomatoes, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, Extra Virgin Olive Oil for $14, this 12 inch pizza is the classically simple staple for purists. This was a very good version, but it wasn’t as good as Antica’s. The flavor of the tomatoes needed a bit more zing (adding red peppers helped) and the crust, although perfectly thin and chewy, needed a touch more salt. Since I was not asked how many slices I wanted on this order, it was cut into four huge slices. The pizzas here are meant to be eaten with a knife and fork, so keep that in mind if you are used to thicker crusts that you can hold in your hands.
I came back for another visit and since the signature pizza the Settebello, I ordered it and got Crushed Tomatoes, Pancetta, Wood Oven Sausage, Roasted Mushrooms, Toasted Pine Nuts, Mozzarella, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil for $14. In this case the lack of salt in the crust worked well since the pancetta and sausage both had enough to create a great balance of flavor. This signature offering was great, a hearty yet refined combination of meat, cheese, mushrooms and the interesting crunch of roasted pine nuts. Whereas I easily ate the Margherita in one sitting, two slices of the Settebello (this was cut into six) was plenty for my lunch.
I don’t often eat pizza (you will see this makes only my 7th pizza post on this blog) but having VPN Settebello close by means that when I do get a craving, I won’t have to make a trek to Pasadena