Last fall a new pizza, pasta, and craft beer restaurant named Birroteca opened in my neighborhood. It quickly became so popular that it was almost impossible to eat there, and with good reason. Unless you make a reservation weeks in advance or want to eat dinner at 4 pm or after 9pm then good luck getting a table. I believe it was way back in March that my friend Alison and I started planning a double date. I had been a couple of times, but she had never been (she got sick the night our book club met there). Between their availability and our busy schedules it was Memorial Day weekend before we could get a reservation. We were making our plans over Twitter and apparently not being clear with each other so both wound up with a reservation. After we realized that we joked that we should sell one of them to the highest bidder closer to the date.

Last night 6 of us finally had our long awaited dinner there and it was delicious as always. I’ve been hearing about the calamari appetizer forever in both professional and amateur reviews of Birroteca. My husband is a vegetarian so I did not have someone to share it with on previous visits. I was not going to miss out this time. People were not kidding about this calamari. Birroteca is not messing around. That stuff was amazing. It was cooked with lemon, capers, and garlic and was probably the most tender calamari I have ever eaten. It’s worth going to Birroteca just to eat that. We also shared the wild mushroom arancini, a strawberry salad, and the crispy brussel sprouts all which were delicious. Well at least as delicious as brussel sprouts can be. I am not a fan. I’ve really tried, but I just don’t like them.

For our entrees my husband tried the polenta gnocchi, which he said was good but I never got a chance to try it. Birroteca does a family style special each night designed to serve two or more people. Sunday nights it is spaghetti and meatballs. Two of our friends split that and were pleased. The other three of us ordered pizza and shared it around, which was nice because it meant I got to try several more of the pizzas. The previous times I had gone I had ordered the sausage and mushroom pizza, which was amazingly delicious. The menu changes seasonally so there were some additional pizzas this time that had not been there the last time I was there. I decided to try one of the new ones on the list called the Double D. I have no idea why. It had meatballs, basil, and cherry tomatoes on it. Alison got one that had prosciutto, arugula, fennel, and cherry tomatoes on it. Dave got the Duck, Duck, Goose which has duck confit, fig-onion jam, fontina and asiago cheeses, and a duck egg on it. I had always been curious about that one, but wasn’t willing to order it for my own dinner so I’m happy that he did so I could try it. My verdict on it was that it was really good, but too sweet for me to want to eat as my main meal. One piece was good. I don’t think I would want to eat a whole pizza of it. So far my favorite of the four pizzas I’ve tried there is the spicy fennel sausage I’ve had on previous visits, but really they are all delicious.

For dessert half the table ordered the cherry nutella tart topped with pistachio ice cream. It was amazing. Alison had the strawberry panna cotta, which was good but not a dessert I like in general. Bill had the cannoli of the day. I neither got to try them nor heard him comment on them but I’m guessing he enjoyed them as he ate all 3 that were on the plate.

I’m already looking forward to my leftover pizza for dinner. Birroteca is an excellent addition to the neighborhood. Like many of the super popular restaurants in my neighborhood, I just wish it didn’t take so much work to eat there.

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