I spent my junior year of college studying art history in Florence, Italy, and along with falling in love with everything Florence has to offer (including the boys!) I became a pizza snob. It’s true, I am a pizza snob. My favorite place in Florence was a little spot across the Arno where we'd sit at long, communal tables, drink wine (which was especially exciting because we were still only 20), meet the locals (boys!) and eat amazing pizza fresh out of a 700-degree oven. Bliss. Ooozy, melting cheese, crisp hot crust, flavorful prosciutto, salame, figs, dates, basil and real buffalo mozzarella. Seriously, too amazing to describe.
Fast forward to me living on a gorgeous island in the middle of Puget Sound (it's a long story...). This place is its own kind of bliss but it’s even better now that we have authentic Italian-style pizza! Enter Bruciato. Boasting the extreme talent of local celebrity chef Brendan McGill, Bruciato is not your average pizza place. First of all, the interior is gorgeous: long, communal tables where you can meet the locals, a bar for those who prefer not to comingle with the kiddies, and private spots for when you're trying to impress a date.
While the interior is stunning, Chef Brendan keeps his focus acutely on the menu which is short but perfect: stunning cocktails, divine antipasti, decadent desserts and, of course, pizza! Topped with seasonal ingredients of the finest quality and boasting that perfect, crisp, Italian crust, you will be challenged to choose one or two. And those little black burned bubbles on your crust? Don't send it back, that’s on purpose! Bruciato actually means burnt or scorched – and it refers to the “flame-blackened blisters” that speckle the crust of authentic Neopolitan pizza. It might not be the pizza joint you remember from your childhood but, hey, if you grew up in Florence, it might be after all. Buon appetito!
If you've never been to Bainbridge Island please get thee on a ferry and come over and try this place. I stood in literally freezing weather in Portland for an hour (with my children!) to eat an amazing truffle pizza that I will never forget. All you have to do is get on a ferry - they are heated - and walk 3 blocks to check out Bruciato. Childs play. Now you have no excuse. See you on the island!
As of this writing, Bruciato is open for dinner starting at 4pm, Tuesday - Saturday. They close at 10pm during the week and stay open later on the weekend. No reservations (unless you are a party of 8+) but they can get you seated pretty quickly. Check out their sample menu but know that it changes according to seasonal ingredients. Also take a peek at their drink list - now I know we'll see you on the island soon. Mangiamo!