Arturo’s Osteria

Arturo’s Osteria

Arturo’s consistently makes the list of top pizza places in New Jersey to experience.  My first time here was for my birthday back in April.  It was not warm, but even a bit chilly.  I was suffering from both allergies and a cold so my mood, much less my taste buds were not in order.  While their pizza is incredible I came back for one specific dish my wife loved.

The Cavatelli Siciliana is described on their menu as cavatelli pasta with chiles, garlic, capers, anchovies and pine nuts. When I first tasted it, I could barely taste the chiles but the heat was there. My bother and wife agreed it was spicy.  This time around it was not spicy at all.  In fact, they killed the dish (killed, not in a good sense) with way too much anchovy and capers. I love anchovies, but this was far too much and salty.  It was not bad, but it was not the same dish I had when I first tasted it.

This time around we got the fire roasted meatballs. Before I ever taste any meatball it automatically has two strikes against it in a subconscious case, which automatically turns into a strike out the minute I taste them.  Not in this case.  They had a great taste, but the texture was way off.  It was like mushy meatloaf with far too much breadcrumbs, in fact you could see the chunks of bread in there.  Meatballs done the right way should be the perfect balance of a nice brown crust surrounding meat, herbs, some breadcrumbs and cheese. I honestly could not tell what kind of meat this was.  Traditionally it is a mix of veal, pork and beef, or even veal only. It did not taste bad, in fact it was good, however with anything, you should be able to taste the “main event” which is supposed to be meat in this case.

There is really only one reason you come here, and it is for the pizza. It is great they make a seasonal menu with dishes other than pizza for people who want salads, greens and smaller plates, but for me, it is all about the pizza.  Parking is scarce, they don’t take reservations and if you do not get there exactly at 5pm when they open you will be waiting at least a half hour because they only have 10 tables. And it is for good reason the place is so popular, they pizza is fantastic and it is very inexpensive.  We had the meatballs, cavatelli and a large pizza and the bill came to less than $50. While we were only two and had food to take home, this is something that could easily feed three people.

While I wanted to taste some of their other small plates, the green beens were $9 and the cured meat plate was $17. I understand they have rent to pay and what they are selling is really real estate rather than sides or appetizers, but that was still too much for me to consider getting one.  This place is a winner for sure as long as you stick with the pizza. The best part is you can bring your own wine or beverage of choice.  Thumbs up on this one for sure if you know just what to order.

180 Maplewood Avenue Maplewood NJ 07040
973-378-5800 info@arturosnj.com