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Mar 1, 2010 10:33 AM

Molto Bene: Authentic DOP Pizza in Tampa...and more: Pizzaiolo Bavaro!

I was delighted to find and to eat at downtown Tampa's Pizzaiolo Bavaro TWICE last week. The little place packs a HUGE punch. Why? Because owner (and pizzaiolo) Dan Bavaro is singlemindedly dedicated to authenticity.

I have been priviledged to travel much and see the great new, authentic, DOP pizza places throughout the United States. This include Spacca Napoli in Chicago and Pizza Antico in Atlanta and many others too numerous to name. Among these, Bavaro is among the best, if not the very best. The flour and dough are perfect, the tomatoes and buffala mozzarella are correct.

In addition to knock out pizzas, Pizzaiolo Bavaro also has excellent pasta, antipasti, salads, and a very good and reasonably priced wine list. Without doubt, Tampa is extremely fortunate to have this establishment!

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  1. The couple of times I ate there it was good but a far cry from Spacca Napoli. Maybe they have figured things out with their oven. I will have to go back and check it out. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm about the place.

    10 Replies
    1. re: CFishman

      yeah pizzaiolo really failed to impress when I went. I'd take Paci's or Pane Rustica any day.

      1. re: askdrtodd

        I have to agree on Paci's and Pane Rustica. Maybe Pizzaiolo Bavaro worked the kinks out. I will certainly go back and check. I very much appreciate that someone is trying to do a proper Italian pizza here. I also like Wood Fired pizza or whatever it is called on Bears.

        1. re: CFishman

          x2 on wood fired. Can you still bring wine? the owner there was a great guy and made a great pie, just a bit of a hike for me.

          fishman you want to grab a slice one day for lunch at Bavaro? I'm willing to give it a second chance. (Bill if you're reading, of course it wouldn't be as fun without you man, you available?)

          1. re: askdrtodd

            Sounds like a good time. Friday would be good for me.

            1. re: CFishman

              I've never had ANY wood fire or brick oven pizza in Tampa so I'm looking forward to checking out a few of these places...
              We'll see what day you settle on and that'll tell me if I can play...
              Thanks for thinkin' of me....

              1. re: CFishman

                Friday is tough, I can do Satuday or Tuesday or Thursday next week... Bill what say you?

                1. re: askdrtodd

                  I haven't scheduled next week yet, but I'm more flexible than most people because I'm a one man show and I'm very irresponsible------ a free spirit....
                  Whatever works for you, CFishman, and whoever else, 'should' be fine for me...

                  1. re: Mild Bill

                    did you guys end up checking this place out? well, how was it????

                    1. re: Manderley

                      Bavaro I thought was still blah and over-priced. Wood fired has (IMHO) the most artisan pizza in town with the most love poured into it, followed closely by Pane as far as super thin crust pizza is concerned. For true to style NY pizza, I like Pacis, followed by Eddie & Sams (which is more gimmicky than it is authentic but still tasty), and for slightly thicker crust I love the Doormet Pizzas. One of the owners was previously the pizza guru @ Pane, and has refined his recipe and yeast strain over and over again to make a great and unique pie. Lastly, my all time fave chicago style (and I've tried more than a couple of them) in Tampa- much love to Cappy's. Been to all three locations and although none shine brighter to me than Bay to Bay in South Tampa, consistently, none are any worse than "pretty damn good".

                      1155 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33629

                      1. re: askdrtodd

                        Wood Fired is pretty good. It's the only place in town that I can get a Pistachio Pizza w/a pint of Oatmeal stout or a Hefe...

      2. okay, what is "DOP Pizza"?? i'm only from New York, what do i know from pizza ???

        5 Replies
        1. re: Manderley

          Denominazione d'Origine Protetta or Controllata which means certain products in Italy by law must be made according to set rules and in a set location or region like parmiggianno reggiano.

          DOP pizza is 'regarded' as Neopolitan pizza made according to the same strict rules they use in Naples.

          The Italians got fed up with people bastardizing their pizzas and claiming them authentic so the they developed a true certification (VPN) with strict rules as to what a true Neopolitan pizza is. There are only 40 or so pizzerias in the US that have been certified VPN pizza.

          1. re: ElGimpo

            gotcha, like the DOCG for wines. Nice to know there is now a pizza regulatory agency. I mean, it really was necessary and all haha.

            When is my Pelligrino going to have to conform to the DOA (Denominazione d'Origine della Acqua)?

            1. re: ElGimpo

              Precisely, ElGimpo. Specifically the pizza must have Caputo 00 flour; San Marzano tomatoes; and buffala mozzarella. Often many places substitute homemade mozzarella and often it tastes very good, but it is not the 'real deal,' or DOP.

              I do not live in Tampa and was, as said, delighted to discover Bavaro. I am jealous of the residents of Tampa/St. Pete to have such authenticity at their finger tips.

              I am an honest 'Injun' when it comes to food criticism and folks can check out my links to see that I am not a shill nor a bull on anything except good quality.

              1. re: herculesmulligan

                hehe yes, the pizza police. Thanx for the rec, didn't know about it. Can't wait to try it out.

              2. re: ElGimpo

                thanks for clearing that up. now i can't wait to try this place...

            2. As I understand it, Bavaro has an awesome oven. Sourced from the same people in Naples that Anthoni Mangieri uses at UPN in San Francisco.