Off the Menu: Sapori Serves Superb Pizza

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sapori - nutella pizza
Nutella pizza

By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy

Sapori Restaurant on Bayside Drive has been serving exceptional and authentic Italian dishes for more than 25 years. Locals pack the place every night, but they’re also now packing Pizzeria Sapori, which recently opened adjacent to Sapori. In fact, a wall was knocked down next to the bar, which now wraps around into the new pizzeria.

Pizzeria Sapori looks just like what Sapori owner and chef Sal Maniaci described to us earlier this year while the pizzeria was being built: the interior has stone walls, glazed brick, a pizza counter, a banquette, and archways in stone. It has a rustic look yet still feels modern—like past meets present.

Maniaci has created a separate Pizzeria Sapori menu featuring Neapolitan-style pizzas made in a wood-burning oven

Sapori owner and chef Sal Maniaci
Sapori owner and chef Sal Maniaci

direct from Naples, Italy.

“The oven is handmade by artisan pizza masons,” Maniaci told us. “It’s all the family has done for the last four generations. They use special material that’s very soft but stands high temperatures, so it absorbs the humidity, the wetness, of the pizza, without burning it. Most ovens will burn the bottom, but if you look under the pizza, it’s a beautiful char.”

In addition to the special oven, we learned the dough is special too.

“We have a special process—it’s 72 hour fermentation,” explained Maniaci. “We pre-ferment the night before and combine flour with mother yeast. We ferment for 24 hours at 63 degrees. Then we add the remaining flour and water and sea salt, then mature for another two days at 39 degrees. That gives us this light dough crust, it’s easily digestible so you don’t get that bloated feeling. The process is different than any other pizzeria—maybe three others in the U.S. do this, it requires a lot of time.”

sapori pizzaThe result is truly memorable, truly authentic pizza. We sampled several, including one that Sapori may become known for: a Nutella pizza ($10 to $15).

“The pizza in Sapori restaurant was good, but this new pizza really adds an authentic feel, with a thin inner circle, a bubbled edge and minimal toppings,” said Catherine.

“I think the Nutella pizza will become their signature dish,” noted Christopher. “I’ve never had anything like it.”

“It’s cooked different than the regular pizza because they bake just the crust and then smother it with the Nutella, followed by sliced fruit and powdered sugar,” said Catherine. “I haven’t had anything like it since I was in Florence.”

Most pizzas are $14 to $18. A variety of starters are available, as is a nice wine and beer list.

Visit for more information.

Cinnamon brioche French toast with peanut butter and banana
Cinnamon brioche French toast with peanut butter and banana

Breakfast at Sapphire

We’re always looking for a good breakfast spot, and recently found one in Laguna Beach, but hurry because it only runs through Labor Day weekend.

Sapphire Laguna Chef Azmin Ghahreman, who is responsible for the healthy cuisine at Sage Hill school in Newport Beach as well as a handful of other schools around the county, has created a delightful breakfast menu that offers hungry diners a variety of options, from light (summer melon or Greek yogurt parfait) to decadent (cinnamon brioche French toast and lemon ricotta pancakes). You can also order traditional breakfast items such as omelets or a spinach scramble.

“I loved the quinoa oatmeal, which has apple and toasted almonds, and the eggs Benedict,” said Christopher. “But my favorite had to be the cinnamon brioche French toast with peanut butter and banana. I’ve never had peanut butter on French toast before, but now I doubt I can eat French toast without it.”

Most breakfast items are $6 to $14. You can add a mimosa for $7 or a bloody Mary for $8.

Visit for more information.




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