Sicily may be part of Italy, but Sicilians have their own identity and culinary culture — and you can see that at Bay Vista Pizzeria.
The white-on-white space with al fresco dining out back and views of the Intracoastal in North Bay Village is a bit hard to find. But its worth the trouble for unpretentious fare made with ingredients imported from Italy.
There’s a small bar offering mojitos, Moscow mules and other cocktails. Windows let light flood in during the day, and candles light up tables at night. The husband and wife team of Giancarlo Labruna and Daniela Mancini, both from Catania, the second largest city in Sicily, man the restaurant. Their hometown is on the east coast of the island in the shadow of Mount Etna, facing the Ionian Sea. Naples-born chef Carmine Pellegrino runs the kitchen.
Start With These Dishes
If with a group, order the antipasto platter. It comes with provolone, smoked provolone, fresh mozzarella balls and asiago cheeses, San Daniele prosciutto, mortadella, salami, ham, olives and pickles. Be sure to accompany it with house-baked wedges of focaccia bread.
There’s also salmon carpaccio with olive oil, capers and lemon dressing and burrata with arugula and prosciutto. You can also start with a Caprese or Caesar salad. The vegan salad combines mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, corn, heart of palm and avocado.
Share These Dishes
Pizza is made for sharing, so order several at dinner. Made with semolina and ultra-fine “00” bread flour, the dough is proofed overnight. The pizza here is Sicilian-style with thick, puffy-edged crusts and a toothsome chewy texture.
Pies to try include the Treviso with mozzarella and pumpkin cream with salty juniper and rosemary-infused speck. The Napoli comes with smoked buffalo mozzarella, broccoli rabe, sausage and chile flakes. The Norma is named after the bittersweet opera written by the native Catania composer Vincenzo Bellini and comes with San Marzano tomato sauce, fried bits of eggplant and shreds of salata ricotta.
There’s also the four cheese with mozzarella, blue cheese, parmesan and fontina cheeses. The Campagnola has pancetta, fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and greens. Daily specials range from Sicilian arancini rice balls stuffed with spinach, ragu, cheese and peas to an Italian burger on focaccia.
Save Room For Dessert
Get cannoli with a history lesson. The symbol of Sicily is an elephant carved from lava as the eight-century Arab conquerors brought the pachyderms from Africa on barges (for use in attacks). They also brought sugar cane for sweetening. Cannoli were created at this time by nuns in convents, who were influenced by what women in the harems were concocting. At Bay Vista, the pastry tubes and sweet creamy ricotta are imported from Palermo Sicily and assembled in house daily.
If You Go
Bay Vista Pizzeria
Address: 7601 East Treasure Drive, North Bay Village (Turn off the drive at the gazebo fountain.)
Contact: 786-216-7019, bayvistapizzeria.com
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and 5 p.m.-midnight
Prices: Starters $5-$25, salads $7-$9, pizza $10-$16, calzone $14-$16
F.Y.I. Free parking in a garage next door with reserved spaces. Boats have two free docks. Daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m.