Opened in February in a nondescript building near the entrance to Linjiang Street Night Market (臨江街觀光夜市) off Anhe Road (安和路) Section 2, Zoca Pizzeria Caffetteria has quickly earned a devoted following among lovers of thin-crust pizza. The interior is simple, warm and inviting — made more so by the fragrant smell of baking dough wafting out of the stone oven where Italian national Federico Zocatelli bakes up one of the best pizzas this reviewer has eaten in Taipei.
Zoca’s big draw is its 43 varieties of pizza. In fact, aside from one kind of lasagna (NT$220), a daily soup (NT$50) a house salad (NT$50) and dessert, there is little else on the menu. All pizzas are 10-inch, but as each is rolled to order, they often come to the table slightly larger.
We ordered the Pugliese (NT$350), a robust and savory combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy sausage, red onion, whole pitted black olives, capers and oregano, and the lighter Italia (NT$350), a vegetarian combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, fresh tomato and spinach. The bottoms of the pizzas were thin and charred to crispy perfection in the middle, and puffy and chewy at the crust. Both arrived piping hot less than 10 minutes after ordering, and were gobbled down in even less time.
Some may balk at the amount of toppings on Zoca’s pizzas because they tend towards the minimal. For those who do want a thicker crust or more veggies, just add NT$50. Double cheese boosts the bill by NT$80, while extra ham or salami is NT$100. In this reviewer’s opinion, though, patrons will do well to leave their pizza in Zocatelli’s capable hands.
For more adventurous diners, my chatty and attentive server recommended the dolce vita (NT$400), a sweet and savory combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, mascarpone, ham, nuts and honey. The menu also features competitively priced standards such as the marinara (NT$180) and Margherita (NT$250), as well as rich concoctions such as the mari e monti (NT$600), which is topped with mozzarella, ricotta, porcini mushrooms, bacon, parsley and seafood.
Address: 149 Linjiang St, Taipei City (台北市臨江街149號)
Telephone: (02) 2707-2212
Open: Tuesdays to Fridays from 11am to 2:30pm and 5:30pm to 9:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 9:30pm
Average meal: NT$400
Details: Credit cards accepted, menu in Chinese, Italian and English, 10 percent service charge
Vegetarian options include the vegetariana (NT$350), which is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, grilled eggplant, zucchini, sweet pepper, spinach and potato and the estate (NT$300), a combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomato and pesto sauce.
Pizza is not the only thing Zoca does from scratch. Be sure to weave to the back of the tastefully done menu where there are desserts such as tiramisu (NT$140), panna cotta (NT$100) and ricotta cheese cake (NT$130). I tried the tortina di ciocolato (NT$140), a devilishly delicious molten chocolate cake served with whipped cream.
As Zoca’s popularity continues to soar, reservations are strongly advised, especially if your party exceeds two persons.