Ooh la La Piedra

There is pizza that you order for the kids when you’re too tired to cook, and then there is La Piedra.

Ooh la La Piedra (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ooh la La Piedra
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There is pizza that you order for the kids when you’re too tired to cook, and then there is La Piedra. Some may disagree, but I am convinced that this is the best kosher pizza in Jerusalem.
The restaurant is next to the Shufersal on Agron Street, where there is also a paid parking lot. Although it’s not really located in a neighborhood, La Piedre has a neighborhood feel and homey decorations such as hanging light bulbs.
The place is small, with just 22 seats inside, although there is more seating outside in the warmer months. It’s the kind of place where a young haredi man, eating with his wife, came over to us and said, “Did I hear correctly that you review restaurants? I’m always looking for new restaurants.”
At one table a family with three young children raised the decibel level inside significantly, although no one seemed bothered, and thankfully they left soon after we arrived.
My husband and I were there with our friends Linda Adams and Gil Troy (full disclosure: Troy is a columnist for The Jerusalem Post), so we got to try a significant amount of the menu.
“The concept is pizza,” 25-year-old chef/owner, Avi Sinclair, told us. “We want to make pizza like in Naples but adapt it to Israeli tastes.”
We put ourselves in his hands, telling him that we eat everything except raw onions. First to arrive were mozzarella sticks (NIS 28 for 3 sticks), large sticks of pizza dough filled with mozzarella and served with two excellent dips, one a tomato sauce and one a chipotle mayonnaise. There were also two salads – the Caprese (NIS 38), a tasty blend of red and yellow cherry tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the fruit and Gorgonzola (NIS 42), a mix of leaves with fruit, Gorgonzola and walnuts. Both salads were large enough to share.
The pizzas are made with special flour imported from Italy that is slow-rising, and stretched in-house before they are baked in a wood-burning oven. While the restaurant does do take-way orders, Sinclair strongly recommends that the pizza be eaten as soon as it is made.
The pizzas are meant for one person, but are quite large. Two moderately hungry diners could easily split a pizza and a salad or two pizzas and be full, which makes La Piedra excellent value for money.
We tasted four pizzas and all four were excellent. The menu is divided into red, white (no tomato sauce) and green pizza. We tried three red pizzas and one white.
The first was the Napolitano pizza (NIS 45) with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, pecorino cheese, fresh basil, olive oil and anchovies. As I write this review, I’m going to have to use a thesaurus for alternatives to delicious, but it really was.
The one pizza I asked for was the Blue (NIS 56), as I’ve had it before and couldn’t stop thinking about it. It had tomato sauce, mozzarella, Gorgonzola, lots of fresh mushrooms and truffle oil. If you like truffle oil, this one’s for you.
We tried one of the white pizzas (NIS 52) with crème fraîche, mozzarella, egg yolks and chopped chives, along with the recommended addition of smoked salmon (NIS 14). I personally think it would have been better without the salmon.
“This is a violent intrusion of a Jewish taste into an Italian eating experience,” Troy said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not good.”
My favorite, and the most unique of the pizzas, was the Queen Bee (NIS 56) with tomato sauce, goat cheese, walnuts and chili honey. The chili gave it a slight kick and it was a unique flavor combination.
If for some strange reason you don’t like pizza, there are four pasta dishes on the menu. The pasta is not made at the restaurant but bought fresh from a small factory in Givat Shaul. The pasta choices include spaghetti, beet ravioli, cheese ravioli, and something the menu calls radiator, which comes with sautéed mushrooms, garlic and anchovies.
By this time, we were stuffed, but couldn’t resist trying both of the desserts that Sinclair brought us. The crispy chocolate (NIS 26) was a small chocolate and banana pizza, which was amazing, and the tiramisu (NIS 22), which Adams said was the “best tiramisu I’ve ever eaten.”
We left La Piedra stuffed to the gills and very happy.
La Piedra
1 Gershon Agron Street
Tel: 1-700-505-678
Open Sunday-Thursday, 12 noon-11:30 p.m., and Saturday night after Shabbat until 12:30 a.m.
Kashrut: Rabbanut Mehadrin
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.