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Café Italia

6705 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 832-0587

Cafe Italia on N. Mesa

Café Italia opened in 2007 in a small space on North Mesa that had previously been a frozen custard franchise. I hated to see the custard place go, since I thought it was better than the ones that are now open. However, I think Café Italia will offer a benefit to the community that will far outweigh the loss of a snack and dessert place. While El Paso has its share of Italian restaurants, Café Italia is unique in the food that is served, offering cuisine that seems to be some of the closest to traditional Italian cooking that can be found in the region.

Café Italia's brick oven was built to prepare wood fired pizza and other specialties at the restaurant. Actually the menu is quite small with several types of pizza, a small selection of pasta dishes, salads, and desserts. The rest of the menu seems to change periodically and has offered special items such as seasonal vegetables and prosciutto. There is supposed to be a special pasta dish but it has never been available when I have gone.

Spaghetti and meat balls
Spaghetti and meat balls

Spaghetti and Meatballs seems to be one of the few non-pizza entrees that is available on a regular basis. This had a good sauce and I thought it was one of the better ones in El Paso. Judging from the other pasta I think the spaghetti is mainly a way to offer dinner to patrons who do not want to eat pizza, but it is good to know that the spaghetti is high quality.

Margherita pizza
Wood fired Margherita pizza at Cafe Italia

With the restaurant's wood fired oven, though, it is logical that pizza would be Café Italia's featured dish. This is not a new concept, and other restaurants in town prepare wood fired pizza. I thought the Margherita Pizza I tried, though, was quite different from others I have had. Although it came with tomato sauce, this was more of a chunky sauce in which both the red color and the flavor of the tomato was quite noticeable. The primary topping was the handmade mozzarella cheese that was somewhat chewy in texture and had a flavor that made it seem like a completely different cheese than is normally found. Topped with basil, the simplicity of the pizza made the freshness and flavor of the ingredients the attraction of the pizza. The crust tasted equally fresh, and this was just a better pizza than others that are wood fired.

The New York style pizza at Hello Pizza and the wood fired pizza at Café Italia seem like the best in El Paso to me because both use fresh and good quality ingredients, and I envision both as being good representatives of the respective styles of pizza. I do have some experience with pizza on the east coast, and Café Italia was a refreshing change to the ordinary pizza I find in the Southwest, reminding me of the pizza that I associate as being more "authentic."

The other types of pizza served offer a choice of toppings, and I would presume that all are as fresh as the ones that were on the pizza I ordered. The two vegetarian pizzas served (the Marinara has no cheese) do not offer a lot of choices, but I would probably enjoy the ones with meat just as much now that I know the restaurant uses nothing but the highest quality ingredients.

Café Italia has other Italian dishes, but I think after most people try the pizza they will see this as the main reason to return. I have not found anything quite like it anywhere in the area.

I was told customers were allowed to bring their own wine, and this seemed to be quite popular at the restaurant. With pizza this good, bringing something as lowly as a beer to drink with it doesn't seem quite right. I'm sure it is allowed, however.

I will have to say that most customers seem quite happy with their meals. After ordering the pizza, I can understand why.



Cuisine: Italian
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. & Mon.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Bring Your Own

Most Recent Visit
May 7, 2009

Number of Visits: 4

Best Item

Special Ratings
Wood Fired Pizza:
Spaghetti with Meatballs:

Restaurant Web Site
Café Italia