We я the Oven

2010.Mar.27 Saturday · 13 comments

in Restaurants

“A world devoid of tomato soup, tomato sauce, tomato ketchup and tomato paste is hard to visualize. Could the tin and processed food industries have got where they have without the benefit of the tomato compounds which colour, flavour, thicken and conceal so many deficiencies? How did the Italians eat spaghetti before the advent of the tomato? Was there such a thing as tomato-less Neapolitan pizza?”

– Elizabeth David, Author

Full disclosure – Nestor Gattorna is a charming young man with whom I’ve been acquainted pretty much since arriving in Buenos Aires to live five years ago. We’ve been out dining together, we’ve had wine tastings together, and, until relatively recently, he was business partners with a friend of mine from the U.S. in a wine accessories business. And, last year, he decided to go spend quite a few months in Naples learning how to make “true Neapolitan pizza”, at the source. And, he just recently (a couple of weeks) opened up a local pizzeria offering that very product. I can’t be fully objective about it, so there you have it.

Siamo nel Forno

The place, Siamo nel Forno, Costa Rica 5886, Palermo – the name translating as the title of this post. The oven, a true, wood-fired, beehive style oven that heats up to 450°C/840°F cooks pizzas in a matter of 2-3 minutes tops.

Siamo nel Forno

Nestor works the oven himself, along with an assistant. I like the room overall – well lit, lots of gleaming white and chrome surfaces, it feels… clean. And comfortable. We were the first ones in the door, but over the course of the evening a few more folk trickled in – the place hasn’t caught on yet, but then, it’s brand new, right?

Siamo nel Forno - focaccia

While we perused the menu (not a long one, but we were waiting for friends to join us) I ordered a focaccia – simple pizza dough drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and basil. The crust, nicely charred below, tasty – good – I tend to like a little more salt and herbs, but that’s just personal.

Siamo nel Forno - marinara

We had to go with one of the two classics of the Neapolitan canon – the marinara (the other one being the margherita). No cheese, in fact, the same as the focaccia with just the addition of the tomato sauce. I have to say, it was quite nice to have a really flavorful tomato sauce on a pizza for a change here.

Siamo nel Forno - patate

We also wanted to try something unusual – the patate – topped with thin slices of potato. I think this was our favorite of the evening – it was just different, and delicious.

Siamo nel Forno - calzone rosso e bianco

And hey, we were in the groove, so why not try one of the trio of calzones, this one the rosso e bianco – salami, tomato, mozarella and ricotta. And the mozzarella wasn’t the usual oily, goopy stuff, it was real, fresh mozzarella. Yum!

Siamo nel Forno - nutella

And, despite the fact that we were already about as full as we though we could be, Nestor sent us a complimentary dessert calzone – packed with nutella and topped with powdered sugar. We managed.

So, what do I think about the place overall? Not perfect but really good. Flavor-wise, all delicious, though we all felt that a little more salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil added something to the focaccia and both pizzas – all are available on request. The dough – charred properly, flavorful, and, perhaps a touch… “doughy”. I’m not sure whether they could just use another 20-30 seconds in the oven, or if this is the common problem of using soft wheat flour that we have here, where the dough stays softer than that of hard wheat flour – but it was among the best doughs I’ve had here in town. Toppings, just right. Prices, reasonable – and in line with other pizzas here in town (running in the 40-45 peso range), though the size of the pizza is a little smaller than the standard here (four of us managed 3 pizzas and 2 calzones, after all) – on the other hand, the quality makes up for that.

We’ll definitely be back… and, at the same time, I’m glad it’s not in our neighborhood!

Candice March 27, 2010 at 13:16

We are definitely going to be visiting Nestor sooner rather than later !
It all looks very good.. charred dough.. this appeals to one of us, puffy and oven fired appeals to both of us and that dessert pizza won me over … I mean, really, how could it not ?
Thanks Dan !

Mary March 28, 2010 at 07:21

but unfortunately it IS in my neighborhood, I may come to dislike you intensely if it is as good as you say!!!

dan March 28, 2010 at 09:12

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!

Wayne Bernhardson April 1, 2010 at 23:53

I had to try it, too, with a porteño friend who loved it as much I did. The patate is perfect and, as you said, the prices are more than reasonable.

dan May 1, 2010 at 11:52


I love that he stops to take a phone call in mid-filming. It’s so porteño…

Katie January 19, 2011 at 23:34

Perhaps I went on an off night, but I was very disappointed in the margherita pizza I ordered here this past weekend. The flavors were there, but it seems that the cheese or sauce had released a lot of liquid, causing the crust to become extremely soggy. Had the crust been crispy, the pizza would have been very tasty.

dan January 19, 2011 at 23:42

Had to be an off-night or just an off-pizza – we’ve been back a couple of times and sent people regularly and nothing but better each time. Stuff happens….

Sharyn Evron January 28, 2011 at 01:35

Thanks for the review Dan. We went tonight with a group of friends. The absolute best pizza we have tried here in BsAs. The spinach pizza and the prosciutto pizza . . each were amazing!! Cannot wait to go again.

dan January 28, 2011 at 08:16

Glad you enjoyed! We don’t get there as often as I’d like simply because it’s not convenient to us, but that’s probably a good thing – keeps it more special and keeps my waistline down….

dan April 24, 2012 at 22:38

Dropped in tonight for Nestor’s 50th birthday, and coming up on the 2nd anniversary of the place being open. Have been a few times since the first visit, and noted the prices creeping up, like they are everywhere here. Just glancing at the menu, the pizza prices are now running around 80 pesos.

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