A16 Rockridge
Behold, the fried pizza. Image courtesy of Virginia Miller.

It’s no secret that we Americans love to fry things--chicken, oysters, heck, even bubble gum. But it’s the Italians who have mastered fried pizza.

Meet the montanara, the crispy, doughy miracle that is Neapolitan fried pizza. It had its moment in New York City, and now it has arrived in all its glory at A16 Rockridge.

The new restaurant is not merely a replica of the original A16 in the Marina. In addition to impeccable pastas and world-class wine list, the Oakland outpost boasts a hard-liquor license, and serves up refreshing aperitifs and cocktails (try the Seventh Circle, made with rye whiskey Campari, Calabrese chili, lemon and honey). It also has one of the Bay Area’s most extensive collections of amaro, a bittersweet Italian herbal liqueur.

But back to that fried pizza ($17). Executive chef Rocky Maselli combines marinara, olive oil and basil into a puffy, chewy pie: He uses the creamiest, most expensive mozzarella (a.k.a. burrata), and smokes the sauce instead of the cheese, creating a sharp contrast to the tomato’s tang. If, for some reason, pizza isn’t your jam, we recommend the silky Monterey anchovy crudo ($11) and the buttery cavatelli pasta ($12/$20) mixed with cannellini beans in a geoduck sugo.

Buon appetito.

5356 College Ave., Oakland; 510-768-8003 or a16rockridge.com

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