The Dish! Pizza del Sardo
October, 2013 - Issue #108
When Pizza del Sardo opened, I was more than a little enthused. I immediately heard rave reviews from foodies, singles and my personal demographic: parents.
Last month, I finally found a hole in my kids' schedule for an early dinner. Ranging from the jaded age of 14 to the jumpy age of 4, this youthful restaurant-review crew was ready to dive into Pizza del Sardo's authentic selection of salads, pastas, pizzas, soups, appetizers and desserts.
I felt my shoulders relax as I entered the clean, comfortable restaurant. Music was playing just loud enough - and contemporary enough - to silence the din of my youngest and the music critic in my oldest. We were immediately shown to our table, situated far enough away from other diners to allow for romantic lingering or hushed behavioral corrections. The best part, though: the tables are covered in white butcher paper - and crayons are complimentary.
While my little artists began their work, I took in the sights. A bright, open pizza prep area adjacent to a stone-fired oven contained busy chefs expertly stretching dough. A beautifully-displayed cold case showed off jewel-colored tubs of freshly-made Italian gelato.
The food at Pizza del Sardo is crafted with Italian and Sardinian methods using the finest, freshest ingredients, many imported directly from Italy. Lucky for us, it didn't take long to be exported from the kitchen to our table. Prompt, friendly service is one of the cornerstones of Pizza del Sardo, and the kids and I were appreciative of the home-like vibe.
We started with the Insalata Fantasia, a crisp collection of romaine lettuce, garbanzo beans, broccoli, plum tomatoes, red onion, croutons and happy bites of preserved red peppers that added a sweet and special element to the kid-friendly salad. The large serving was perfect for sharing family style and the house Italian dressing was savored by even the ever-finicky 6 year old.

The Pizza Toscana arrived next, much to the enthusiasm of the table. At first, they gave me a "What gives, Mom?" look; this pizza is topped with fresh arugula. But one bite was all it took for two of the three to give the thinly-sliced prosciutto crudo, shaved parmesan and mozzarella topped pie the universal sign of childhood approval: silence. The one hold out, after politely putting the greens from the pizza on her salad plate, declared it the "best pizza ever." She was right. The crust was substantial on the tongue, chewy and tender while maintaining a divine crispy diameter that even the "Does anyone want my crust?"-kid savored down to the very last bite. I smiled inwardly; nothing is "Americanized" at Pizza del Sardo and I was happy to know that my kids were blissfully enjoying truly Italian food.

Our last entree, the Ravioli al Ragu, literally prompted the 6 year old to tilt his head back, stare up to the heavens and dramatically declare, "This. Is. So. Gooooood." The table quickly seconded his observations. Creamy ricotta, marinara and ground meat were the stars of this delicious dish. I was pleased to see that there was more than enough to go around, too. Generous serving sizes go far in my book.

We finished the meal with more oooh's and ahhh's thanks to four servings of gelato. Rich, creamy and full of flavor, our bowls of Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Mint & Chip and Cappuccino disappeared in a matter of minutes. Everyone declared that they couldn't eat another bite - until we saw the cannoli. A celebration of cheerful ingredients - lemon zest, dark chocolate, ricotta, cinnamon - unite in this dessert. If heaven had a flavor, it would taste like this.
Try Pizza del Sardo yourself and tell us what you think on Facebook! Find the restaurant on Cinema Drive next to Valencia Laser Blast.
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