Ghibellina

It’s taken me an embarrassing amount of time to actually get here, due in no small part to the inflated price tag and the main offerings of pasta and pizza, which I am generally not particularly enamored of. But! It was my mother-in-law’s birthday, and cheese and pizza (and cheese pizza) are kind of her things, so here we go!

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We ordered drinks–some standard IPA’s and the bicicletta rossa cocktail for me (dry and herbal)–and their cheese board. Since the untimely demise of Sona creamery (RIP, never forget), I don’t know where one could find a better cheese board than this. They clearly chose these carefully as they were all very different, but all well-complemented by the fig jam and all tasty in their own right. I was particularly fond of the truffle cheese and the soft goat, which was extremely mild and melty.

For my main meal, I ordered the kale salad. It had a nice tang of citrus and the polenta croutons were unique and delicious, although I think Ghibellina of all places could step it up with the cheese on this. It tasted like Kraft parmesan from a can and it coated everything. Why?

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My husband ordered the squid ink spaghetti with soft shell crab. This was my one wish for him. I grew up in California where soft shell crab (and tiny East Coast crabs in general) are unheard of, and now eating an entire crab with the shell on feels both exotic and totally barbaric, and I secretly love it. The spaghetti itself had a nice chew to it and the crab was very flavorful and crispy. The whole dish was made 150% better with the addition of house-dried red pepper. Definitely demand that they bring you this.

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Ghibellina was offering a daily fish special of pan-seared branzino with quinoa and cherry tomatoes, and this was my father-in-law’s pick. The whole thing was delicious but definitely had the air of being too healthy for this place (and I ordered a damn salad!)

I was shocked to see that my mother-in-law ordered…drumroll please…a cheese pizza! Their crust is really soft and chewy, but also airy in a nice way. The cheese is definitely quality. Since she ordered it without the spicy pickled peppers on top, they brought them out on the side, and these made a boring cheese pizza vastly more interesting, although it still never would have been my pick with so many others (and optional toppings) on the menu. On the other hand, the giant scissors that Ghibellina gives you to cut your own slices and/or potentially murder someone are pretty great.

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All in all, we got a good meal and I’m glad we made the trip. The place is gorgeous, the service was impeccable, and the pasta and cheese were stand-outs.

Price: $50 per person.

Bottom line: Ghibellina is fun and has a wide variety of pizzas to please your favorite pizza eater.

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