MAMMA MIA!! We are here to tell you about the little slice of Italian paradise that can be found right within the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Piazza Talarico is your one-stop shop for wine, pasta, patio ambiance, and classes hosted by their very own Chef Beth! This family-owned business has become a fixture, beloved by many, in Lawrenceville on Penn Avenue. With a killer team of owners, Katie, Beth, Deb, and “Papa Joe,” your experience at this local gem will be top tier!
We had the opportunity to visit Piazza Talarico and their adjoined wine cellar, Papa Joe’s Wine Cellar for a private dining experience. The experience featured some of their most popular dishes and best wines. The menu began with an array of antipasto, or appetizers. We sampled the Affettati E Formaggi, Fried Zucchini, Focaccia Bread, and Prosciutto Wrapped Artichoke. The zucchini was unbelievably fresh and the artichokes were juicy and the perfect flavor combo. If we didn’t have a full 5-course meal headed our way, we would’ve filled up on the Prosciutto Wrapped Artichokes alone! Not to mention the flakey sea salt that topped the homemade focaccia.
Next up was the Primo course. This consisted of Spaghetti Pomodoro E Basilico and their famous Baked Maccheroni. When we say the Baked Maccheroni was the best pasta dish we have ever eaten, we aren’t joking. The recipe for this traditional Talarico family dish dates back over 100 years to the family’s origin in Sersale, Calabria, Italy. A unique take on rigatoni al Forno, the Baked Maccheroni contains hard-boiled eggs, swiss cheese, and the best pepperoni the Talarico family can find. They get the pepperoni shipped in from a shop in Philadelphia because it is the best they have found for their recipe.
For the entrees, we enjoyed the Chicken Piccata and Meatballs with sides of Sauteed Green Beans and Oven Roasted Potatoes with Parmigiana. The Meatballs were done simply perfectly. Those paired with the Baked Maccheroni were our personal favorite. If you aren’t one for red meat, the Chicken Piccata was second to none. The chicken was juicy and the capers added the perfect flavor to top it off! Paired with the Sauteed Green Beans, this was a phenomenal Italian meal that didn’t center around the classic red sauce and pasta combo. We also sampled two of Piazza Talarico’s pizzas! The Margherita and Leonetta were the two that we tried and they were perfectly crispy on the bottom and flavorful with every bite. These make the perfect lunchtime meal or great for sharing amongst your table on their back patio!
We finished off our experience with a bowl of their House Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and of course, DESSERT! The dessert was by far the most unique treat we have ever experienced. Zeppole, Italian fried dough, was served up with a Nutella sauce and a bowl of Gelato topped with Olive Oil and Black Sea Salt. We know what you’re thinking because we thought the same thing, olive oil, and sea salt on gelato??? YES. This flavor combination sent us over the moon! The Talarico family truly knows what they are doing when it comes to traditional and uncommon flavor combinations.
Now that we have given you the rundown on our culinary experience, let’s discuss Papa Joe’s Wine Cellar! Papa Joe, the father of the family, is the shop’s vintner. The name Papa Joe is a tribute to Papa Joe himself, and Katie and Beth’s great-grandfather. Sourcing grapes from Italy, California, and South America, Papa Joe creates lovely wines right in Pittsburgh. It is no secret that Pennsylvania isn’t the ideal climate for a large number of grape varietals, so by visiting farmers’ markets and expos, Papa Joe selects the best grapes for winemaking. A fun fact is that the winemaking operates out of the structure at the back of their property and they bottle each wine right in their cellar! Our favorites were the Sauvignon Blanc, Frascati, and Limoncello. The Limoncello is phenomenal for sipping straight as an after-dinner treat, or within a fun at-home cocktail!
Loving the idea of a date night or a family dinner at Piazza Talarico?! You can take it a step further with Piazza Talarico’s Classes and Events! The latest events were Pizza Class with head kitchen staff and owner, Beth, and a Wine Tasting Brunch with Papa Joe. These types of events can be found on their website for sign-up. If you’re interested in private events, contact them directly!
We hope you enjoy Piazza Talarico and Papa Joe’s Wine Cellar as much as we do! One more thing, don’t forget to check out their peach tree on their back patio. They will allow you to take home a little souvenir from your visit!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.