It doesn’t seem that long ago that I first learned about La Tavola Trattoria when a picture of a wood fire oven pizza on twitter caught our attention. After reading articles from Buffalo.com and Buffalo Rising, we started to gather more information about the new Hertel Ave. restaurant. Over the last two years, Alli and I have become big wood fire pizza fans and go out of our way to find great pizzerias whenever we visit other cities. So when we saw that La Tavola had a legit wood fire oven (by our count, only the third in Western New York) and were saying all the right things, we got excited.
As of right now, the restaurant hasn’t received their liquor license and they have limited hours (
only open til 8pm, see updated hours below from Chef Chris). So when we arrived to the restaurant at 6:30pm on a Saturday night, the restaurant was a little quiet. We decided to take advantage of the nice weather and grab a couple seats on their patio, check out Ben Tsujimoto’s article for photos of the interior and quite the description of the dining atmosphere.
- Restaurant Type: Casual
- Cuisine: Italian
- Location: North Buffalo
- Prices: Appetizers Under $10, Pizzas $12-16
We obviously knew that we were going to order a pizza, but we wanted to find a couple dishes to get an example of their menu. After a couple minutes of looking over their menu, their Meatballs ($6) and Lemon Rosemary Wood Fired Wings ($7) really caught our attention. The order of meatballs had two medium sized balls sitting in a sweet sauce and were covered with mozzarella and ricotta. They were still tender and juicy inside with a subtle but nice flavor. The roasted chicken wings (~6) were actually quite fantastic. They still had crispy skin but they were incredibly juicy and the fat underneath the skin melted in your mouth. They were tangy from the lemon but not overly so; it’s something I’d definitely order again. Both dishes were really affordable and the serving size was enough to give each of us a few satisfying bites.
The pizza came out soon after we finished our appetizers. We always go for a simple pizza for our initial tasting, typically classic Margherita. It really allows us to get a good idea of the crust and sauce (which are obviously very important components) without being overwhelmed with other unessential toppings (less is more when it comes to good pizza…also, it’s Alli’s favorite). Considering the sub par results that we’ve had with wood fire pizza in Western New York, we were cautiously optimistic. OK, I’ll actually admit that I wasn’t optimistic at all. But I got excited when the pizza came out to the table; it had a good looking crust, melted fresh mozzarella and a good sauce to cheese ratio. Alli and I were both pleasantly surprised with our first bite. I really liked their sweet-but-not-overly-sweet sauce and thought the crust had a nice crunch. It wasn’t the perfect wood-fire crust, but it was better than many others we’ve had in the area. I’ll definitely be going back soon to continue my research…
We had a really nice visit to La Tavola and we’re happy to see another North Buffalo Italian restaurant actually doing something a little different than the standard “red-sauce-parm”. Hopefully, they’ll get their liquor license soon and
will extend their hours (see current hours below) and pull in those late night crowds. I’m also hoping for their online presence to improve a little, they don’t have a lot of information out there besides their facebook page and a picture of their menu on Buffalo.com. There might be a lot of Italian restaurants in the area but La Tavola is worth trying out.