What started out as a small neighborhood pizzeria in Lebanon, named after none other than Queen Margherita of Savoy – notably the first queen of a united Italy and the namesake of the now ubiquitous Margherita pizza – quickly became a regionally acclaimed dining sensation. Rather than becoming ‘just another franchise’, Margherita pizzeria del quartiere successfully emulates a compelling story of family, dedication and most of all mouth-watering pizza. Whether or not you already know and love Margherita from Beirut’s Gemmeyzeh district, this Italian pizzeria will soon become your dining destination of choice whenever that pizza craving kicks in.
One always feels invited at Margherita, as the atmosphere resembles that of a hearty Italian cucina. You can’t help but be consumed with ravenous expectations of grandma’s original Italian recipes that come with the aromas rising from the authentic brick wood fire oven. As you stroll by the window display of gorgeous tomatoes and enter through the door, your eyes are transfixed on this commanding construction, with pizzaiolos whizzing across the open prep station getting those Neapolitan pizzas just right. Throughout the restaurant you’ll find a cozy array of gleaming wooden tables and chairs, once again inviting you to sit down, relax and indulge in the finest recipes from Italy’s southern villages.
Designed and executed to present the local dining scene with an authentic Italian experience, the menu is delivered under the supervision of the bubbly Chef Marcello. He not only expertly calibrated the perfect balance between utilizing freshly imported and locally sourced ingredients, his dedication toward Margherita’s authentic techniques when it comes to the food’s particular preparation is never compromised. You’ll find a menu as rich and varied as the food’s delectable flavors. Antipasti, salads, bruschetta and warm appetizers, fresh hand crafted pastas and of course their signature pizzas along with scintillating main dishes and desserts.
For our Margherita experience, we surrendered our palates to Chef Marcello’s recommendations. He started us off with a Focaccia Margherita, baked and topped with crunchy and peppery arugula, creamy stracciatella cheese offset with cherry tomatoes that burst with flavor. We had to also sample a classic Bruschetta, if only to taste the amazing freshly prepared pesto sauce that topped the toasted bread. The Spinaci Baby e Brie makes for a must-have salad, for the texture of the accompanying balsamic glaze marries the crusted chunks of Brie cheese to elevate a simple salad into a tantalizing dish. If, like us, you find yourself searching for the best preparation of Burrata in town, Margherita puts an end to your strife for this buttery soft Mozzarella-like round of cheese that’s stuffed with soft, stringy cheese and fresh cream. With the choice of two differently sized portions, it’s all about buttery, creamy, cheesy goodness, where you can’t help but dip the fresh bread into this gorgeous round of cheese topped with cherry tomatoes. We were already in awe of the amazing flavors we’ve tasted before the main pizza event. The secret, Chef Marcello points out, is all in the selection of ingredients used. Simple flavors, when using the right ingredients, deliver bountiful culinary delights. In Margherita’s case, it’s all about the right selection of cheeses, tomatoes, and even the ingredients used to prepare the dough of the Neapolitan pizzas and most of the pastas on offer.
Deciding to tease us for just a little while longer before we tried their famous pizza, Chef Marcello brought out two pasta dishes, the Rigatoni Alla Siciliana and the Tortelli Con Fonduta Di Formaggio. As a Sicilian recipe, the Rigatoni stood out with its profound tomato sauce, slightly sweet mozzarella and eggplants. With the aromas of fresh herbs – especially tarragon and basil – shining through, we wished we could bottle up that sauce and take it home. We could easily apply the same notion for the seductively creamy Provolone cheese sauce that came with the handmade Tortelli stuffed with porcini mushrooms. Then followed the main event—the highly anticipated Margherita pizza. An ode to the queen, the Italian flag and of course Naples, the three simple components of red tomatoes, green basil and white mozzarella pack a flavorful punch. This classic always wins, with the crust artfully browned and the cheese bubbling slightly. You can tell that no commercial tools were employed in preparing this authentic delicacy, as all it requires are the hands of the expertly trained staff and the blazing brick oven.
Following our pizza experience, Chef Marcello couldn’t let us venture into the sweet sensations of their Dolce offerings before we try the Secondi dishes, or mains. A meaty affair, veal was the choice of the day. Before we could object, the veal mignon encrusted with crushed pistachios, caramelized balsamic and pesto enhanced potatoes arrived promptly. Naturally, we couldn’t refuse the chef’s wishes. Followed by a veal chop, Melanese style, we savored the breaded yet succulent piece of meat.
Where desserts are concerned, we highly recommend that you go for the perfect trio of Tiramisu, Fondente al Gianduia (a melted chocolate hazelnut cake with vanilla ice cream), and the caramelized lemon crème bruleé. Consider this the holy trinity that will effectively induce a welcomed overdose of sweetness. Whether you mix in the Fondente with the Tiramisu, or add a chocolate touch to the citrus bruleé, you won’t be disappointed. Before you’ve finished your dessert, one of the friendly staff members will come to your table so that you may try your luck at the famous Margherita numbers game. Choose any number from 1 to 100 from a colored box. If your number is chosen, your meal is on the house!
Margherita is located in Arabella in Al Bida’a. For more information, please call 1888 848 and follow them on Facebook: Margherita Pizzeria Kuwait or on Instagram @margheritapizzeriakw and Twitter @Margheritakw.