Meet Pizza Beach: the Upper East Side’s newest hotspot. After opening only a month (ish?) ago, the casual-new-American spot on 81st and 3rd is always packed with patrons. Friday night, Kate and I signed the lease for our new apartment (YAY!) and wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate. Pizza Beach has been on our list since it opened, so we figured it was time to check it off.
It was a little crazy during the Friday night dinner rush that included a birthday party full of rowdy 8-year-olds, so the place was hopping. But the fun ambiance of the restaurant made up for the crowd – Edison bulb lights are strung from exposed wood rafters and paired with Gray Malin photos up on the walls. It all combines to create a laid-back Montauk feel that’s still in the heart of Manhattan.
On to the menu – it’s, pretty obviously, a pizza heavy menu. There’s a good sized appetizer menu, all sized for sharing, pasta and entree dishes, and an extensive wine and cocktail list. Because it was a celebration, we each started with a glass of the sangria. It was listed on the menu as a rose sangria, which I was excited for, but the night we were in it was being made with white wine. Still delicious and fruity without overpowering the actual wine flavor. I’m sad it wasn’t the rose, but still a good choice.
After our cocktails, we – of course – opted to share the burrata appetizer. Instead of the traditional toasted bread it comes it, this alternative was served with warm, grilled flatbread pieces. Really yummy. It was paired with cherry tomatoes in a balsamic sauce with basil. All really delicious. My only complaint is that I wanted more and more and more of it.
For dinner, since we were at Pizza Beach after all, we decided to order two pizzas and split them for some variety. Kate went with the traditional margarita, and I opted for the spicy sopporessata, which I later learned was basically just pepperoni. A word to the wise – if you’re ordering multiple pizzas, just be cautious because the tables are small, and the pizzas are big. We didn’t have much wiggle room once both pie pans were on the table, but that didn’t really stop us from chowing down. The pizza was delicious, with a chewing and puffy crust, fresh herbs and buffalo mozzarella.
We waaaay over-ordered, and had plenty of leftovers to take home with us. Even the carry-out boxes were branded with a “Pizza Beach. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.” which is a nice touch and adds to the overall charm of the restaurant. If you’re ever on the Upper East Side and have a hankering for pizza, check this place out. Even if there’s a line, it’s worth the wait.