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Pizzeria Regina Margherita: Appetite for Lincoln Avenue

Friday, May 17, 2002

By Sarah Billingsley, Post-Gazette staff writer

It's named after a queen, and the pizza is fit to be fed to one.

Roberto Caporuscio, left, owner of Pizzeria Regina Margherita, checks out a pizza pulled from the wood-burning oven by Masella Gennero. (Robin Rombach, Post-Gazette)

Rumor is, this is where Pittsburgh chefs eat lunch.

Many of the smartly-dressed Italian foodies who haunt La Prima in the Strip come in. Raising short glasses of wine, they consume pizza in its original incarnation, the mast' nicola, drizzled sparingly with olive oil, pecorino romano and basil.

You can find the mast' nicola only at Pizzeria Regina Margherita, where chef and owner Roberto Caporuscio specializes in elemental pizza making.

Caporuscio attended the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, a pizza-making school in Naples. Learning the craft there is like going to art school, for food.

His crust is classically Neapolitan -- airy, thin and flavorful -- and his pizzas simple. On his Margherita are tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella; on the Marinara, tomatoes, oregano and garlic. Anything more would collapse the fragile balance of flavors and dent the lightness of the bread.

On a recent night, the pizza special tasted like a Tuscan forest in early spring, topped with spicy arugula and woodsy wood-fired porcini mushrooms.

Also on the menu is a salad of spring greens and buttery buffalo mozzarella. For dessert, there is eggy Baba, porous and drenched with sweet rummy syrup. There is straightforward tiramisu and pizza oozing with warm Nutella, both perfect with a coffee, from La Prima.

Caporuscio's pizza parlor is Italy, transported; the tiles, the flour, the tables, the cheese, the stackable plastic pizza trays. There's also the Italian joy of those who sing along with the music, and the love of pizza made the way it's meant to be.

Pizzeria Regina Margherita
516 Lincoln Ave.

Hours: Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.

The basics: All major credit cards; BYOB; pizzas $4.50 to $12, six-inch or 12-inch.

The last word:

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