It doesn't get more traditional than Piazza Talarico in Lawrenceville. This family-owned Italian spot serves up Southern Italian food including homemade pizzas, pasta, and more in a cozy little space.
The best part? They also make their own wine and offer it on tap or by the bottle to go!
Piazza Talarico Is Family Italian Done Right
You've likely driven by Piazza Talarico before and not even noticed it. Luckily for us, we've noticed it while walking in the neighborhood between Ineffable Cafe and Arsenal Ciderhouse. We were recently invited as guests of the restaurant to check out their food and wine, and were so glad we made it in!
Upon entering Piazza Talarico, our eyes were immediately drawn to the beautiful wine tap system made out of wooden barrels. It's a great showpiece to highlight their house wines made from grapes or juice imported from California, Chile, Italy, and other wine growing regions around the world (the winery portion is affectionately known as Papa Joe's Wine Cellar- making it even better).
Styles range from classics like Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio to wines made from more obscure grapes like Frascati and Tannat. There's even an ice wine made using juice from the Lake Erie region which was quite delicious!
On our visit we tried the Vino da Tavola which was a red blend made from 80% cabernet sauvignon and 20% sangiovese. The wine was simple and medium bodied, and also very easy drinking. If you've ever been to Italy, this one is reminiscent of house wine that you can get by the carafe in nearly every restaurant (fitting, considering the name literally translates to table wine).
We also tried the Teroldego, a much fuller bodied and intense red, as well as the Ghiacciato ice wine made using Vidal Blanc grapes.
The food menu is traditional southern Italian and includes personal sized pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and, after 4PM, meat and seafood entrees. We opted for a classic margherita pizza and the famous baked maccheroni.
The pizza was a good size and had an extremely thin crust that had a good char and was quite crispy although could've used a bit of additional seasoning in the dough.
The tomato sauce was super simple, as it is in most traditional Italian pizzas, allowing the tomato flavor to dominate. Fresh mozzarella and basil on top rounded out this classic dish.
When we heard about the baked maccheroni, we knew this was the pasta dish we had to order- the recipe has been passed down in the owner's family for five generations!
This dish starts with rigatoni mixed with a family tomato sauce recipe. Pepperoni from Sunseri in the Strip, hard cooked egg bits, and a generous amount of cheese complete the dish. We'd never heard of using hard-cooked eggs in pasta dishes, but it really added a depth of flavor and creaminess that was surprisingly delicious!
Oh, and let's not forget- you can also add a house-made meatball, which we of course did. The restaurant is also well-known for its meatballs- not surprising since they are huge, moist, and perfectly seasoned.
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The space is casual and cozy, but there's also an outdoor patio tucked away behind the building that we can't wait to return to this summer for a few happy hours on Tuesday and Wednesdays for $5 wine. The restaurant also does takeout and, if you really want to be a hero, family sized portions of their pasta dishes.
Piazza Talarico is a hidden gem serving up traditional, home-cooked Italian food and homemade wine in an intimate little space.
Piazza Talarico is located at 3832 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville. We were guests of the restaurant for this review, but as always all opinions are our own.