Da Vinci | Original Napoli flavours at Smart City

The cool, futuristic environs of Smart City do not immediately bring to mind rustic Italian dishes, reminiscent of endless Mediterranean meals in warm company.  But looks can be deceiving, as Rachel Agius finds out on a recent trip to Da Vinci.

rachel_agius
Rachel Agius
23 December 2014, 10:05am
Pizzerias are a dime a dozen these days. It seems like the Maltese cannot and will not give up that convenient, delicious meal any time soon and that means that more and more businesses are mushrooming all over the place to meet that demand. 

Da Vinci, set in the cosmopolitan hub that Smart City is growing up to be, aims to offer something other places do not. Started by two Italians from Bari, they knew just how much competition they would have to face in our pizza-loving nation. So they set out to give customers something new. 

On the busy Friday night we chose to visit, Da Vinci’s dining room was packed to the gills – an advance booking is a good idea, it turns out. We got a chance to scrutinize other diners’ meal choices, taking mental notes on what looked the best. 

This didn’t help at all. Everything looked and smelled rather appealing. But with the wood-burning fire crackling in the corner, it would have been a shame not to try out their pizzas.

The opening number was the pizza roll, prepared with the chef’s choice of ingredients. One came stuffed with cheese and ham while the other was packed with black olives. Moreish bite-size snacks that introduce Da Vinci’s magic powers, namely the combination of good dough and a high-heat, traditional oven. 

The piece de resistance arrived just as we started to miss those pizza rolls. I chose the Norcina, which combined mozzarella di bufala, cherry tomatoes and wild boar sausage. My companion decided on the Picantina, with fior di latte, peperoni and Gorgonzola. 

For those who like their pizzas heavily laden with ingredients, perhaps Da Vinci is not the place for you. Their offerings are as close to Italian as you’d get outside of Naples, with a focus on embracing and amplifying the flavours and textures of good quality ingredients. Local pizzas tend to be on the overloaded side – a perfectly reasonable regional quirk but not very true to the original recipe, if that is what you are after. 

Original is what we wanted and original is what we got. Thin and crispy dough beneath a rich tomato base made the perfect foundation for the combination of meats and cheeses. The crust, usually relegated to the end of the meal, the ‘if I have room’ zone, was quickly devoured. Reasonable prices make the meal even sweeter and it is truly a welcome development to be able to count this little bistro among the growing list of excellent eateries in the south of the island. 

Da Vinci is trying hard to make its food accessible to everyone. The menu contains a selection of gluten-free options, including fresh pasta and pizza, made fresh on-site with wheat-free dough. Thanks to places like Da Vinci, those with a gluten allergy or intolerance no longer need to compromise on their evenings out – plenty of options mean that everyone can enjoy whatever on the menu takes their fancy.

Smart City has offered Da Vinci both a challenge and the opportunity for a good investment – the area is pretty up-and-coming for businesses and for visitors keen to experience a slice of the cosmopolitan on our Mediterranean island. Da Vinci lets customers do that in the company of the comforting familiarity of a golden crust, fresh ingredients and a committed respect for the food. 

Da Vinci 

Smart City,

Kalkara

Tel: 99935665

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rachel_agius
Rachel Agius graduated from the University of Malta with a degree in English and Anthropol...