Food For Thought: Pizzeria Lola

Pizzeria Lola – one of the Twin Cities newest pizza institutions – is absolutely amazing, to say the least. The restaurant is eclectic in both taste and style. The small and intimate pizzeria presents boldly named pizzas like the My Sha-Roni and immerses the eater in a fun and modern environment, complete with a disco ball and lights made from retired tomato cans.

I’d never been to this acclaimed pizzeria, so I decided to check it out and was more than pleased with what I discovered. When you walk into the doors of Pizzeria Lola, you are hit by a freight train of wondrous smells and visual bliss. The wood fired oven exudes smells reminiscent of freshly baked bread and gives the atmosphere the warmth and comfort of sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold Minnesota day. The homey cedar planks covering the walls contrast heavily with the cool and metallic copper that the tables and wood fired oven are made of. A wide array of vintage plates that range from floral to Texas themed tie the restaurants modern-vintage aesthetics together. To top it all off, Pizzeria Lola has a photo booth and an entire wall dedicated to those brave patrons who have used it.

Now, I wouldn’t be as obsessed with this hot spot if it wasn’t for the food. I started my dining experience off with a Caesar salad. The salad was lightly dressed and the romaine lettuce was kept in long strips, giving it a rustic quality. Topped with nutty shavings of parmigiano-reggiano and bursting with heart of palm, this salad was the perfect opener to my Lola experience. Did I forget to mention the gooey soft egg and crisp house baked crostini that came with it?

The next stop on my trip to food heaven was the Lola Antipasto platter and let me tell you, it’s to die for. The platter comes complete with sweet and salty house cured bacon, smooth mortadella, light and salty speck, dried and spicy salami, buttery and creamy bel paese cheese, whole grain mustard, spicy rosemary cashews, herbed olives, and crisp crostini. The combinations are endless with this infatuating starter. Mixing the whole grain mustard, speck, and crostini was my personal favorite.

Now we reach the climax of the meal, the pizza in Pizzeria Lola. Of the three pizzas I tasted on the menu, my favorite was the Lady ZaZa by far. It was the first Asian-Italian fusion pizza I have ever had and am likely to have. The perfectly balanced and juxtaposing flavors in the sweet and spicy chili glaze are the perfect replacement for a typical tomato based sauce. The use of both black and white sesame seeds as a garnish along with sesame oil adds a nutty flavor to this bold pizza. Scallions and Serrano peppers add a crunchy dimension to it as well as depth of flavor. What really makes this pizza magnificent is the spicy, pickled cabbage, otherwise known as kimchi. With one bite of the Lady ZaZa you can taste every component the pizza has to offer with the exception of the Korean sausage that seems to get lost with all these other bold flavors. The crust that Pizzeria Lola offers its patrons brings New York, Neapolitan, and New Haven style crusts into one extraordinary, thin, air-pocketed, light, and crisp crust.

The pure bliss I experienced from Pizzeria Lola catapulted me into a state of heavenly, mental solitude. Everything from the décor to the food demonstrates true restaurant brilliance. If you haven’t been to Pizzeria Lola, I recommend you get in your car and drive on over to 5557 Xerxes Avenue South, Minneapolis and check it out.