Pizzeria Bianco Rosso
365 Arneill Road
The simplicity of the name (which means “white red” in Italian) is appropriate for this small, sparse restaurant, but Pizzeria Bianco Rosso knows what it’s doing. If you like your pizza hot out of the oven with a thin, crispy crust and flavor for days, this is the place for you.
Pizzeria Bianco Rosso exterior
The aforementioned interior is modest: a few tables, a refrigerator with a selection of upscale beverages (including craft beers) and a small counter for the cash register. But it’s clean and bright and kind of hip, not a bad place to hang if you manage to beat the lunch or dinner crowd. One wall is dominated by an enormous chalkboard sporting the menu, with red (tomato sauce) and white (no sauce) pizzas in several drool-worthy combinations. Meats like fennel sausage, prosciutto, spicy soppressata and even meatballs are paired with veggies such as spinach, kale, chilis, mushrooms and arugula — quality ingredients for a quality pie. The fennel sausage and the fresh mozzarella (elegantly called fior di latte), by the way, are both made in-house — and they are delicious.
Pizzeria Bianco Rosso exterior
Our foray into Pizzeria Bianco Rosso was on a late afternoon, far enough away from lunch that we had our pick of tables and plenty of time to peruse the seemingly endless offerings. The kids were easy: a plain-Jane four-cheeser called (aptly) the New York Cheese. Asiago, Parmigiano-Regiano, Parmesan and fior di latte came together to produce the most delicate texture and flavor. And when it arrived at our table all hot and melty … yum. It was so good, we considered getting a second one for ourselves.
The New York Cheese
A four-cheeser (Asiago, Parmigiano-Regiano, Parmesan and fior di latte)
But the “fancier” options were just too good to pass up. I was tempted by the Hadrian (a white pizza; Juliet is the red version) with prosciutto and arugula, which complement each other so beautifully. The Dante’s hint of spice called to me, and I was curious about the Lasagna pizza — did the mix of meatballs and ricotta really taste like the baked Italian pasta? The newest offering, the Nero, boasts three kinds of mushrooms, roasted onions and black truffle oil. Decisions, decisions.
We ultimately went with a Dante’s Inferno (Dante’s spicier cousin) and an Alexander, one of the pizzeria’s most popular items. Neapolitan pizzas tend to be topped with a light hand, so as not to overwhelm the thin crust, but if you crave something a little heavier, give the Alexander a try: sausage, caramelized onions, mushrooms, lots of garlic and a meatier bite. I liked it very much, but my heart truly belongs to the Inferno; soppressata and Calabrian chilis are music to my pizza-loving soul. The crust is perfectly crisp and the toppings really shine through on these handcrafted pies; going back to explore the rest of the menu will truly be a labor of love.
Meatballs — ordered as an appetizer
Having your food served fresh and hot is a priority at this pizzeria, which would explain why the meatballs — ordered as an appetizer — came to the table in the middle of the meal. I certainly didn’t enjoy them any less for the timing. Upon sampling them, my first thought was, “Now this is a meatball.” Dense but tender, beefy with notes of herb and onion. Try them in a sub, or with spaghetti for a satisfying meal.
Pizzas come in one size, 13 inches; that’s perfect for two people — although if you’re hungry or feeling greedy, you might be reluctant to share. My advice: at $15 or so, it’s not a huge indulgence, and leftovers never hurt anyone. Live it up! Or you could supplement with a salad, some garlic bread or one of Pizzeria Bianco Rosso’s paninis, which look delicious.
If you’ve got the room, do consider dessert. Our pistachio gelato (there’s chocolate and espresso, too) was as natural as could be, with nothing but pure nut flavor and sweet dairy coming through. The generous scoop was great for sharing, too. Fresh cannoli is made to order, and for the real sweet tooth, the Nutella pizza is the ultimate indulgence.
Neapolitan pizza is readily available in Ventura County, and gourmet toppings aren’t exactly an eye-opener. But in the masterful hands of the chefs at Pizzeria Bianco Rosso these pies are several cuts above the usual. Color me satisfied … and ready for my next order.