Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pizzeria La Gita ピッツェリア ラ・ジータ 022-364-1774

Address:  塩竈市港町 1-6-10.   Located across from the Shiogama Marine Gate, or a seven-minute walk from Hon-Shiogama JR Station.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Lunch:  11:30 am to 2:30 pm.  Dinner:  5:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
First off, let me just say that I think it’s commendable that the owners of Pizzeria La Gita set up shop in a neighborhood that was ravaged by the tsunami.  This restaurant opened in May of this year and these small business owners are helping to rejuvenate the area that was destroyed by the March 11th  disaster, and for this alone I feel that it’s worthwhile to patronize their restaurant.  And for those who do, you’ll also be quite happy with the food!
My friend, Keiko, who knows that I am always on the lookout for great restaurants, recommended La Gita to me sometime back, but I hadn't been able to see what she was raving about.  But the other day I was lucky enough to persuade my friends (Takayo, Rumi, Tony, Michael, Fong, and Yashima-san) to join me for a midweek lunch.  
Upon entering, a couple of my friends were impressed with the décor of the pizzeria:  photos taken from the owner’s personal travels from around the world, which makes sense as “gita” apparently means “trip” in Italian.  I felt that the place carried a warm, inviting atmosphere and I immediately noticed the stone hearth, wood-burning pizza oven, indicating to me that La Gita was an authentic pizzeria.  No second-rate electric or gas ovens here.  But on to the food ….
The lunch set comes with a salad, a beverage, and offers a choice between six varieties of pizzas for 1200 yen.  Despite my pickiness, I had some difficulty choosing a pie as four out of five of them sounded really delicious to me.  At the last minute, I copied Fong and chose the pizza of the day:  ham with arugula sans tomato sauce.  This pizza, with tomato sauce, is one of my favorites at one of my Favorites, Amo La Pizza, so I was a little skeptical on how this would turn out.

本日のピッツァ: Ham w/Arugula (Rucola)

My pizza did not disappoint. The ham was salty and delectable, with the arugula complimenting the ham well, and a light crust (Fong was of the same mind) with a hint of individual flavor.  Although I was very satisfied with my pizza, I think it would’ve been even tastier with a tomato sauce base.

I thought the salad was good, with a tangy vinaigrette that I managed to save, quite noticeably, on my shirt.  But one of our group thought that the flavoring could have used some pepper.  I didn’t realize it at the time but afterwards I could see how this would have enhanced the flavor.

Salad with Tangy Dressing

Our group ended up ordering five of the six pizzas on the menu, and we traded slices with each other in order to get a good assessment of all the assorted flavors.   
My first sampling was Takayo’s カラブレーゼ, with spicy Italian salami, mozzarella cheese, and red onions on a tomato sauce base, which was quite nice, but the salami was sparse and there should’ve been more substantial servings.   But Takayo thought that my ham pizza was better than her salami pizza.  I agreed.

Spicy Italian Salami w/ Red Onions

Next was Michael’s メランツァーネ, with bacon and mozzarella cheese on a tomato sauce base.  This actually comes with eggplant but Michael requested that it be left off, and since I’m not a big fan of ナス either, I was quite pleased.  I liked this pizza and it appeared that there was bacon on every slice.  Afterwards, Michael stated that flavor-wise, this was one of the better pizzas he’s had.

Bacon and Mozzarella

I didn’t try Rumi’s anchovy pizza because I don’t like anchovies.  And I forgot to try the Margherita pizza that was also ordered.

Anchovy Pizza

Margherita Pizza

My friends all seemed to be in agreement that this was a very nice place with good food, good service, and decent prices.  We also decided that we would definitely be back.
But one common consensus was that it was a bit disappointing that there was no dessert option offered, as a nice scoop of gelato or a light tart would have went well with the pizza.  A related criticism was that the pizza was actually too big, and it would have been better to serve a smaller sized pizza and then a nice dessert.
I took a peek at their dinner menu and it looked very promising, with a wide variety of appetizers, pizzas, and even desserts available.

Stone heath pizza oven

Pizzeria La Gita is a non-smoking establishment and they have five parking spaces available.  It’s unfortunate that there is not a lot of foot traffic (nor car traffic, for that matter) outside of summer in this area.  But if you happen to be near the Shiogama Marine Gate or on the way to Matsushima, stop in and have a great meal (and help the recovery effort) at Pizzeria La Gita.

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