The past two weeks have been incredibly busy for me at work. I've had a hard time finding time to blog, and meals have tended to be quick, on-the-go affairs. Still, when it was my turn to cook last Friday I decided to take a break with some friends and enjoy a nicer form of takeout: authentic, sit-down Italian pizza.
I'm not sure where or how we got the recommendation for L.A. Signorina, but we frequently pass it on our walks through Marienplatz. The restaurant sits just on the northeast corner of the square, giving it a great location for people-watching. In the summertime, the restaurant has a good many patio tables for outdoor dining. However, the weather has still been a bit chilly at night, and so we decided to opt for an inside table for this particular meal.
To my knowledge, L.A. Signorina has only been open for about a year or two. The restaurant occupies a large, single room and has a hip atmosphere. The décor is very trendy with a wavy concrete ceiling combined with simple wood tables and folding chairs stocked with olive oil and vinegar. The floor-to-ceiling front windows let in plenty of light during the day, but at night the focus is on the stained glass windows on the left above a bank of large tables that seat 6-8 people. The highlight of the room, however, is the large oven in the back corner with a rotating base for the pizzas. It was mesmerizing to watch the pizzas cook!
Despite it being a Friday night, I was able to make a reservation that afternoon for seven people without any problem. The restaurant was busy, but not packed, and we were quick to be seated. The menu offers several aperitifs and a limited selection of wine. That said, the Colli Senesi Chianti that we ordered by the bottle was rich and smooth, making an excellent pairing for our pizza. At 19€ it's not exactly cheap, but worth it if you're out for a nice meal or drinking with a group. Otherwise they offer it by the glass, too.
Since we were waiting for a couple others in our group to arrive, we decided to get a snack to start. L.A. Signorina's menu is limited to four salads, olives, bruschetta, and an antipasti platter for starters. We chose the antipasti platter, which came with roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes, olives, sliced bresaola and mortadella meats, and manchego and mozzarella cheeses, plus some pizza crust bites. All of the ingredients were extremely fresh, and though the platter was a bit small for five people, it made a savory nibble before our meal.
Once our other guests arrived, we decided to order our mains. Apart from the appetizer platter and salads, L.A. Signorina has ten pizzas on their list -- two classic, four red, and four white -- and that's it. This really is a pizza place, so don't expect to find other Italian dishes or pasta. Despite the limited number of choices, I was indecisive per usual, and so a friend and I each ordered a pizza and decided to split it.
My first half pizza was the "Zampaglione" with tomato sauce, coppa ham, fava beans, and manchego. I've never had fava beans on my pizza before, making it an odd but delicious combination. The ingredients were again fresh and nicely balanced between the salty ham, crisp beans, and soft manchego on top of a light helping of tomato sauce (which is just how I like my pizza). The crust was particularly good -- thin and slightly crispy in the middle and big and puffy on the edges. I understood why the bottle of olive oil was at the table when I was left with all of my yummy pizza crusts. They made excellent dipping bread at the end.
My second half pizza was the classic "Margherita" with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil. It was simple, but again, nicely balanced and fresh. I also got to try Matt's "Cassiodoro", which would have been my other choice. It had tomato sauce, mozzarella, green onions, capers, oregano, and a fried egg on top. The egg had been cooked soft, so once the yolk was cut into, it made a kind of sauce on the pizza. I've never had a pizza with a runny egg on top, but I liked the combination. L.A. Signorina also had some other interesting combinations on their menu, including avocado and grapefruit oil, potatoes and Bärlauch pesto (I think it's wild garlic -- a leafy green that I've only ever seen in Germany), and roquefort, walnut, and honey.
We were too stuffed to go for dessert, but our waitress did offer us coffee, an after-dinner drink, and one of their daily dessert specials. They had panna cotta, tiramisu, and something with almonds written up on the board. One of my friends did order the tiramisu, which looked good. I already know that next time I'll forego the antipasti and save room for dessert.
Overall, we had a tasty, fresh meal that hit the spot for my pizza craving. The menu was uncomplicated but "different", and the service was excellent. Really, what more can you ask for?
L.A. Signorina is located at Marienplatz 12 just opposite the Marienplatz U-bahn stop in Stuttgart Süd. They are open from 12-3 pm and 5 pm to midnight Monday through Friday, and from 1 pm through midnight or 10 pm on Saturdays and Sundays respectively. Be sure to call ahead for weekend reservations, and don't forget to bring cash as they do not accept cards.