Restaurant Review: Piad’Amore

Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER
Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER

Piad’Amore has been easily one of the most anticipated restaurants that has opened in the University Village, mostly due to the “coming soon” sign that seemed to drone on for months and the possible competition it could bring to Oven 450, another flatbread pizza spot. Regardless, Piad’Amore is much more than just an alternative to satisfy flatbread pizza cravings; in addition to the obvious pizzas, it also contains piadas (flatbread sandwiches), crescionis (flatbread calzones) and other specialty plates with Italian cold cuts and cheeses — and most importantly, gelato.

Walking in, I noticed that every table was shaped like the iconic Piad’Amore bitten heart, and French landmark wall decals were plastered on the walls. The interior was a little cluttered with tables, although it still gave off a cozy home-like vibe and the opposing wall was lined with snacks and unpronounceable ingredients all carefully labeled with “Imported from Italy.” The pricey authentic pastas, olive oils, cookies and fruit cake only paved the way for their admirable collection of cheeses, which shared the cooler space with San Pellegrinos and hazelnut-encrusted dark chocolate Baci desserts.

“Uhh … give me just a few more minutes please,” I responded to the cashier as I glanced from section to section on the busy menu mounted on the wall while panicking a little from the overwhelming amount of possibilities. “The piadas are good; I recommend the Antonio’s Favorite! Pizza is pretty popular, but we don’t have anymore today, sorry,” she began, noticing my indecisiveness. “Pretty much all of the things here are homemade and authentic; like half the kitchen staff is from Italy.” With so many options, including make-your-own, breakfast, and light and active choices, it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to one!

After much contemplation, I decided to take her recommendation and order the Antonio’s Favorite piada, which consisted of prosciutto di Parma, buffalo mozzarella, cheese, tomato, olive oil and basil ($10.99). As I browsed the extensive menu, I noticed they offer a wide selection of Italian deli-style cold cuts, and as a fan of meats, I silently praised them for allowing me to have access to meats like prosciutto and smoked salmon which normally wouldn’t be found too close to school.

“Antonio’s Favorite!” exclaimed the eager Italian-accented waiter as he brought us the plate of his classic piada. Although it didn’t look visually appealing, the aromatic smell of the prosciutto di Parma was enough to convince me that this was going to be a good meal. I cut into the piada which broke with ease and tore away at the tomatoes, cheese and meat until I had a bite that consisted of everything.

One bite in and I kid you not, the prosciutto di Parma took me by surprise by how flavorful it was. I thought it was a little too salty for my taste, but my boyfriend disagreed heavily and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself as he gobbled up all the ingredients. I must compliment the piada, however, since it was the perfect texture of a flatbread: not too hard and still maintaining the chewy characteristic of dough on the inside. As for the flavor of the entire piada, it was savory, but definitely not too overwhelming as the plain piada and tomato balanced out the cold cut.

Now came my favorite part: dessert! We received two sample options each and decided to divide and conquer by trying the pistacchio, tiramisu, frutti di bosco (mixed berries) and the Piad’Amore Special. One scoop was $2.49 and every other scoop was a dollar more, leading up to the pint size which was $11.99, so we narrowed it down and ordered two scoops: tiramisu and the Piad’Amore Special.

Although I’m not 100 percent sure what was in the Special, I’m assuming it contained a milky and creamy base, black cherry drizzles, peanuts and chocolate chips; all the flavors were working together nicely and it was so delicious that I’m already going to admit that I’ll be back for it. The tiramisu, on the other hand, resembled coffee to me, and I really enjoyed the fact that they included actual tiramisu cake in the gelato since it added a nice touch for texture.

“I just figured this out, but you can also put a scoop of gelato into a croissant. It’s so good,” said the cashier as she reflected on the popular milky bun (ice cream in a donut) trend. There’s also a combo you can get: an entree with espresso or soda and three gelato scoops for an additional $3.99. Sadly I realized this a little too late, but it’s okay — I still enjoyed every single part of my meal.

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