In the heart of San Diego’s trendy South Park neighborhood sits a hidden gem. And, at the heart of this hidden treasure there lives an Italian spirit of cooking which is born into each one of its dishes. Buona Forchetta is a place where simple flavors are elevated to another level and done perfectly.
As we pass through Alchemy’s portal, we leave its bewitching grasp and make our way across the street toward Buona Forchetta. Located on the corner of Beech and 30th street, the restaurant itself looks relatively small. However, what they lack in inside dinning space they more than make up for with a large outside patio. Taking up much of the corner, the patio is protected by a huge canopy tree which is strewn with lines of soft candescent lights.
We can see that the patio is completely full, although it does not seem to be uncomfortably crowded. The night is warm, and its clear that the prime real-estate this evening is at one of the gently lit patio tables. We ask the friendly hostess if a table outside is possible. She explains that there are still quite a few people waiting, but we can be seated inside right away. We happily take the inside table.
Inside, the restaurant is small yet cozy. Its only a single with 15 or so small two-tops to the right of the entrance, and an open kitchen to the left. The tables are close together, but not close enough to clearly overhear the couple sitting next to you.
We are seated at a small two person table in the middle of the restaurant. The hostess hands us each a simple one-page menu. Wine, beer and sangria are on the front. Antipasti, insalate and pizze are on the back. Perfectly simple. “Your server will be with you in a moment,” she says with a smile.
Glancing over the menu, we quickly notice that all of the pizzas have proper names: Sofia, Alexa, Levi, India, Amanda, etc. Our curiosity is peaked and we begin creating backstorys for each name. Only a minute into why we think a pizza would be named Sofia but our server appears beside to us. Warmly greeting us in a very thick and friendly italian accent, he asks us if we have an questions about the menu. Completely forgetting our previous discussion about the names, we ask if he can recommend a wine and pizza since its our first time. He quickly recommends a hearty red wine the Barbera. And for the pizza, he suggests the Sergio which is made with mozzarella di bufala, prosciutto di Parma, baby arugola and EVOO. We decide to also add the Sardine Insalate to the order.
With a broad smile, he leaves as quickly as he appeared.
A few short minutes later, we each have a glass of wine in hand and are in an excited conversation about what a great place this is. The vibe in the air is relaxed yet lively. It’s the kind of place where you could talk and laugh with a friend for hours, or just sit and stare into the eyes of someone you love. Its a place where you forget about social media and text messaging. A place where your smart phone seems to not matter.
A short while later, out comes our Sardine Insalate. It is a salad of baby arugola, white anchovies, lemon, shaved parmesan with EVOO. For having only a few simple ingredients, the flavor profile of this dish is surprisingly complex and thoroughly satisfying. If this is how the salad taste, I can only imagine the flavor of the pizza.
Next comes out; the pizza. It looks beautiful and smells incredible!
One bite of the pizza and Buona Forchetta wins my complete allegiance. Delicous! Everything about the pizza is right. All the ingredients of this pizza have married together perfectly, creating a truly delicate and flavorful pizza. Not one aspect overshadows the other, instead they all work in perfect balance and harmony, elevating the flavors to another level. The sweet aroma of warm prosciutto mixed with saltiness of the parmesan works so well with the subtle pepper notes of arugola. And, the mild mozzarella di bufala is the final touch drawing the flavors together making this a truly tasty pizza.
As much as we wanted to, we resisted our natural urge to devour the whole pizza too quickly. This is not a place where you come to eat quickly. If the restaurant had a voice, it would say something like, “Don’t rush; eat, talk, and relax.” And, that is what we’re doing, eating great pizza, talking, and just relaxing. We are in no rush, the night, the food, everything has been perfect: Buona Forchetta is perfect.
Thanks to our twitter follower: @jenboydsd for the recommendation!