Historic, healthy pizza and fare on St. Mark’s

Chef Giovanni Vittorio Tagliafierro with a photo of the nunnery atop the hills in Tramonti, where the pizza restaurant gets its special liqueur for its chocolate eggplant dessert. Photo by Lincoln Anderson

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | If you’re looking for truly authentic and healthy Italian pizza and food with traditional flavor from the old country, look no further than the East Village’s Tramonti Pizza.

Headed by chef Giovanni Vittorio Tagliafierro, the small restaurant at 130 St. Mark’s Place, between First Ave. and Avenue A, opened nearly two years ago and is still going strong.

The co-owner and co-chef is Diego Matute. Manager Luca Dombre will make you feel right at home.

The pizza here is definitely a slice above — or maybe, put more accurately, a slice of history. Tramonti, Tagliaferro’s native village on Italy’s scenic, hilly Amalfi coast, boasts more than 1,000 years of history in pizza-making. Tagliaferro himself is the fourth generation of a pizzaiolo, or pizza-making, family. He refuses to use ingredients such as oil, sugar, brewer’s yeast or pig’s fat in his pizza dough. The dough is left to rise for no less than 36 hours to allow for a highly digestible and light crust.

Tramonti’s marinara pizza, one of the restaurant’s series of “Untouchables,” ancient pizza recipes that cannot be altered. Photo courtesy Tramonti Pizza

The dough for the place’s signature marinara pizza is not your average pizza crust; it includes a mix of millet, barley, rye and whole-wheat flour. This is one of the restaurant’s so-called “Untouchables,” several signature pizzas that cannot be altered because of their ancient recipes connecting them to Tramonti.

Moreover, the imported Re Fiascone San Marzano tomato sauce does not contain oil, pepper, garlic or sugars — just some fresh basil; it also has 40 percent less salt than other common tomato sauces, making Tramonti-style pizza the lowest in calories in the world.

Also featured on chef Vittorio’s menu are typical Tramonti recipes dating back to the 15th century. One of these is past’ e patane, a handmade dry spaghetti broken in half, boiled with potatoes and then sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and parmigiano reggiano. Another, a dessert, is melanzane alla cioccolata — layers of eggplant covered with dark chocolate and drizzled with a special limited-batch liqueur only made by the nuns in the mountains of Amalfi. As Tagliaferro explained, the only way to get this precious liqueur is to make the trek to the nunnery — and they always make you wait for it awhile.

Tramonti’s chocolate eggplant dessert — the eggplant gives it a crunch, and it’s doused in dark chocolate and it also features the Tramonti nuns’ “secret sauce.” Photo by Lincoln Anderson

A typical meal at Tramonti Pizza — an appetizer, pizza and glass of wine — will set you back about $25 or $30.

The East Village eatery seats 29 and features a casual décor. It’s open daily, Monday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 12 a.m.; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Call 212-260-1441 or visit tramontipizzanyc.com.

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