A night out at Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria

Italian dining experience offers more than just tasty pizza

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A die-hard Mellow Mushroom fan once said to me, “of all the pizza places in Charlottesville, Lampo is the absolute best.” 

Courtesy Cville Niche

Restaurant: Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria

Location: 205 Monticello Road, Charlottesville, Va. 22902 (right near the Grave Street/Monticello Road intersection)

Type of food: Italian (specialty in pizza)

Who doesn’t love an impromptu European getaway? While driving 10 minutes off Grounds to Lampo isn’t exactly the same as flying across the world to Rome, I do highly recommend dining at Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria if you’re looking for a slightly more authentic Italian dining experience.

A die-hard Mellow Mushroom fan once said to me, “of all the pizza places in Charlottesville, Lampo is the absolute best.” This comment intrigued me, and I had to check out Lampo for myself.

After dining at Lampo, here are my takeaways:

1. The bread and olive oil … simple, but yum. To kick off our meal, my friends and I ordered bread and olive oil for the table. As uncomplicated of an appetizer as it was, it was an amazing way to kick off the meal. The bread crust’s perfect crispiness definitely differed from my store-bought bread at home. And sopping up the olive oil with the bread (and sprinkling some salt on top) just gave it all a nice little Mediterranean twist (because let’s be real, at home I would have just been lazy, eaten the bread plain and called it a day).

2. Italian words on the menu. Any frustration this could have caused was quickly offset by the playfulness my friends and I found in attempting — and failing miserably — to pronounce the words. After several minutes of trying to use memories of long-forgotten high school foreign language classes to analyze these words, we finally succumbed and asked our waitress for help. Luckily, she was more than willing to translate the entire menu for us.

3. The adorable outdoor patio. The five of us sat at a table on Lampo’s small outdoor patio. It was so tranquil, with the night breeze rolling in and the dim lighting dark enough to set the mood but definitely light enough to see one another and, most importantly, see the food.

4. THE SCISSORS. So, the pizza pies are served whole; they are not pre-sliced like the pizzas at Mellow Mushroom and Crozet Pizza. This is the way in which an authentic pizza in Italy is served; whole, uncut and with the most intense and awesome pair of pizza-cutting scissors you could ever imagine. I’m an easily excitable person, that’s a fact. But I do think there’s something to say about these pizza-cutting scissors and the thrill they add to the Lampo dining experience.

5. The cheese-to-bread ratio. I love cheese, I love things smothered in cheese, and I normally don’t ever believe that an upper limit of cheese should exist for any dish. However, I actually did enjoy how Lampo’s pizzas were not absolutely covered in cheese. My funghi pizza pie’s crust was delectable and the mushrooms and aioli sprinkled on top were so rich, it would have been a shame if their flavors had been masked by cheese.

6. The fact that after the meal, I felt satisfied but not stuffed. I won’t lie; I could have gone for dessert after the meal (but nobody else at the table wanted dessert, so I didn’t want to make them sit there and watch me eat it). The meal was filling, and I definitely got a proper bang for my buck, but I didn’t feel stuffed to the rim at all.

I suggest putting Lampo on your radar if you’re looking for a tranquil yet pleasant dining experience. Be it a large birthday dinner, a casual group outing or a post-finals celebratory meal, Lampo is an ideal destination.

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