Fratelli la Bufala
Opened: December 2022
Fratelli la Bufala (“buffalo brothers”) is a Naples-based chain of pizzerias with outlets all over the world, but this tidy, upbeat spot in McCormick Ranch (only the second in the U.S.) outclasses most owner-operated one-offs. The menu’s mainstays are wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza and mozzarella — both the familiar cow’s milk variety, and the richer, tangier version made from water buffalo’s milk. Croccantino Caprese ($14), a riff on the traditional Caprese salad, makes an excellent opener, combining tomatoes and arugula with mozzarella breaded in couscous and deep-fried to a gloriously nutty crunch. Neapolitan pizza is terrific, too, thanks to a light, tender crust offering char and chew without a trace of soupiness at the center. The margherita di Bufala DOP (a classic topped with tomato sauce, Parmesan, basil and, in this case, certified buffalo mozzarella, $18) is a perfectly rendered classic, while a messy polpetta burger (saucy meatballs tucked into a “bun” of oven-blackened pizza dough. $13) brings Pane Bianco to mind. Finally, rigatoni salsiccia e friarelli (perfectly cooked pasta, bittersweet broccolini and sage-scented house-made sausage, glossed in butter and Parmesan, $19), is — like everything else — straight-up delicious.
Wild Card: Chocolate-napped profiteroles, French cream puffs with Italian origins.
7300 N. Via Paseo del Sur, 480-687-7784, flbofarizona.com