Olio e Piú Is the Upscale Pizzeria That New York Has Been Searching For
Most New York pizzerias can fall comfortably into one of three categories: the local joint with sparse seating and greasy slices served on white paper plates; the touristy spot, like Lombardi’s, that’s always packed; and the modern pizzaiolo’s restaurant that’s trying to say something new with cauliflower and truffle oil. Olio e Piú is one of the few Italian pizza restaurants that falls into none of these categories.
That’s not to say that this Greenwich Village trattoria is doing anything too groundbreaking, but over the years, Olio e Piú has refurbished and polished its menu and aesthetic to become a true modern Italian trattoria: serving quality Italian pizzas and pastas in a dimly-lit and romantic — rather than casual or cheesy — atmosphere. With a quiet and carefully decorated dining room that was attractive without being stuffy, I could well imagine bringing a second date here.
The meal began with a simple bruschetta topped with whipped ricotta. The cheese was fresh and the bread had the right amount of crunch, but the creation was not all that innovative. The true star of the appetizer course was the grilled octopus. It’s tough to do octopus correctly, but Olio e Piú’s octopus was practically perfectly charred on the outside and tender on the inside, with none of the overcooked chewiness that can sometimes plague octopus dishes.
For entrées, my guest and I ordered mushroom ravioli and — from the seemingly never-ending pizza menu — the capricciosa pizza rossa, topped with fior di latte, mushrooms, artichokes, prosciutto, and Kalamata olives. The ingredients by themselves were top-notch quality, but the pizza could have stayed in the oven for a few more minutes so that the cheese could melt a bit more. The crust tasted familiar and Neapolitan, which, when done right, is like coming home: crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with flecks of char and a saltier aftertaste than your typical pie.
We ended the meal with a Nutella calzone. Although “Nutella everything” has certainly overstayed its welcome, there’s nothing quite like the taste of the warm chocolate spread gently enveloped in the folds of a pizza crust.