We decided to check out Pizzeria Rustica on a tip from @ME_here on Twitter. You can find Pizzeria Rustica at 2527 West Colorado Ave. in Old Colorado City. Often touted as some of the best pizza in the Springs, does that hold true? Let’s find out.
My first impression of Pizzeria Rustica was a small, warm brown storefront with an adjacent outdoor patio, strung with soft white Christmas lights. The sign that hung out front featured a wood burning oven (complete with flames) and the name of the restaurant.
Upon entering, we were promptly greeted by the hostess in the small, homey lobby and ushered into the main seating area. We were shown to a table covered in a tablecloth and brown paper. While the table was mere inches away from the table adjacent to it, the evening crowd had not yet arrived and the next table was unoccupied, so there was enough room to sit comfortably. The room we sat in was small, but had high ceilings and was open, which helped the room feel more spacious. The walls were painted a golden yellow, with wine glasses on a nearby set of shelves and warm lighting from the ceiling lamps overhead. Pictures and other items reminiscent of Italy hung on the walls and were tucked, neatly into every corner. I immediately felt as if I had stepped into a bustling Italian home filled with people. Romantic Italian music and animated chatter created a constant buzz of noise, though at times, it was hard to hear over the noise level. The small kitchen could be seen through a brick-lined window in the back wall. Pots and pans hung overhead as the cooks busied themselves making the Neapolitan pizzas they are so famous for.
Our server, Tony, was very friendly and attentive. He described some of his favorite items and took our orders. I ordered the Quattro Stagioni Pizza ($13.95) and a glass of their Santi Apostoli Pinot Grigio. When the pizza arrived, I noticed its slightly asymmetrical shape, with browned spots along it’s crust and bottom – not enough to affect the flavor, but enough to add rustic character to its appearance. The bottom also revealed darker markings from the wood oven. It was topped with a blend of sweet San Marzano tomatoes, torn pieces of thin-sliced ham, whole mushrooms, whole baby black olives, pieces of artichoke and home made mozzarella cheese. The flavorings worked exceptionally well together, with a perfect blend of savory seasonings with a hint of spice, and the mellow flavor of the mozzarella tying it all together. The center of the pizza was slightly less cooked than the outer edges of the pizza (typical of Neapolitan style pizza), which added moisture and a slightly different texture to the center.
While the pizza was served at a good temperature, by the time I had finished half of it, it had lost a lot of its heat and was luke warm. Also about that time, the table next to us was seated. Being so close to the next table, I found myself sitting a little less than 1 1/2 feet from the person next to me. It was impossible to not feel a little cramped for space and each table couldn’t help but overhear the other table’s conversations.
At the end of the meal, our server dropped off the check and placed a small container with six chocolate-coated espresso beans on our table. The dark, smooth chocolate and the bitter crunch of the espresso beans was a nice way to end the meal with a hint of sweetness.
All in all, Pizzeria Rustica is a quaint, home-like restaurant that serves delicious pizza, but keeps it classy. Because of the lack of privacy, and the extremely small space, I wouldn’t suggest bringing children here, nor would I suggest this restaurant for a romantic evening out (unless you were to sit outside on the patio, perhaps.) if you want some good, authentic Neapolitan pizza, and you don’t mind knowing intimate details of the table next to you and spending a little extra cash, then Pizzeria Rustica is a nice place to go to dinner with a few of your good friends.